Worst Record Reviews Ever

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Chief, Feb 21, 2006.

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  1. Chief

    Chief Over 10,000 Served Thread Starter


    Good reviews don't offer as much creative adjectives, metaphors, and analogies. Creem and Crawdaddy used to have a lot of really creative bad reviews. They were ruthless.
     
  2. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    I think you can find many in the 2nd (blue cover) Rolling Stones Record Guide
    Billy Joel -"we had no Soft Soap" Something to the effect of "There's a war going on, and a soldier is worried about soap?"
    Osmond Family -These records should be melted

    There are some funny ones in there, but they are also very smug.
     
  3. mdphunk

    mdphunk Sharing in the groove

    Location:
    Northern VA
    You beat me to it...that's what I thought of when I read the thread title. Kind of surprised it took almost an entire page for someone to mention it, though. :laugh:
     
  4. Tetrack

    Tetrack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland, UK.
    Another from the NME or Melody Maker was a review of a new Simple Minds LP in the 90s, titled........KERR-AP.
     
  5. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Senior Member

    Location:
    OH
    That would be TTL SHT, no?

    edit - OOPS looks like Wonderwall already mentioned that one which was indeed in the Rolling Stone guide.


    Anyway... What irks me is when someone is reviewing a compiliation or reissue they can't get their background facts straight. They are wrong about song titles, or band members, or dates, or whatever. It's just sloppy writing which blows much of the reviewer's creditbility with me. I don't really take issues with the reviews themselves unless it's one of those where they spend 3/4 of the review telling you why it's NOT like the artist's previous 50 albums and then spend a small paragraph reviewing the album in question.
     
  6. I'll always remember this review by Charles Shaar Murray from the NME in its heyday in the mid-70s.

     
  7. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    I would think a better title for this thead would be "Favorite Unfavorable Record Reviews," but anyway...

    There was a contemporary review of Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964) that deconstructed the LP using the same kind of fractured verse and colloquialisms that Dylan wrote for the back of the album sleeve. Freakin' hilarious. I've still got a copy of that somewhere in all the boxes of crap I've accumulated over the years. I didn't necessarily agree with the review, but it was brilliantly done.

    Jason
     
  8. clairehuxtable

    clairehuxtable Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Another memorable one (although I like Stereolab).

    Stereolab - Cobra And Phases Group Play Voltage In The Milky Night

    source: NME

    by unknown
    1999-09-01

    Well, you have to admit they're good at what they do. But then so was Hitler. As egghead dilettantes par excellence, Stereolab have dabbled in drum'n'bass, post-rock, Krautrock, '60s girl-group harmony pop, jazz and world music over the past decade, but have still managed to seal everything in their bubble of insipid designer-beige aesthetics and make all their records sound the same. The only difference being that they dispensed with the idea of writing decent pop tunes in 1993, in case it might encourage the working classes to breed or something.

    Stereolab will doubtless be dismayed to learn, however, that this record has far more in common with bad jazz and progressive rock than any experimental art-rock tradition. Pervaded by pompous pseudo-intellectual 'ideas', borrowing credibility by indulgently showing off their stylistic dexterity, thinking that odd time signatures and weird sounds are clever in their own right, being deliberately obscure and unlistenable to make people think, 'It's just too complicated and clever for a thicko like me. If only I was intelligent enough to be into Stereolab!' - verily, sayeth the sage, 'tis a thin line between 'Puncture In The Radax Permutation' and 'Chronicles Of Nargor The Wizard Parts I-XXVII'.

    They lay their intentions bare with the first track, 'Fuses', which takes anaemic cod-Brazilian rhythms, adds unlistenable squiggles, 'Let's look through the arched window'-glockenspiel and kitsch space noodles while trying to echo some abominable modern jazz style. Not nice.

    'Blue Milk' is the 11-minute artistic centrepiece of this 'work'. We know this because it's the longest and nearly impossible to listen to. It features, innovatively enough, two chords going on and on. They may have some theory that this produces feelings of pleasure in the cerebral cortex. And yet, at the same time you suspect they labour under the laughable delusion that this is in some way pop music. For example, 'Op Hop Detonation' approximates some kind of jazz-funk groove, but it is way too effete, cerebral and kitschly tasteful to hit you anywhere it hurts. That's because ultimately Stereolab have this tosserish art-school idea that pop is nothing more than brain candy, just there to tickle you slightly. The capacity for music to hit you viscerally, spiritually or emotionally is just an interesting cultural studies theory to them, and one which they don't instinctively understand.

    And so, while they want their endless "ba da da"s to be the stuff of postmodern girl-group dreams, instead Laetitia's soulless, stultifying voice sounds like Bond villainess Rosa Klebb singing washing powder instructions into a karaoke machine after having her coffee drugged with Mogadon. If only we were better listeners, then we could find impenetrable, waffling post-graduate sub-Marxist diatribes defeating their own purpose!

    So, after scaling new heights up their own self-satisfied arses, Stereolab now make lame, impotent test-card muzak for muzos. And this album is a sexless, emotionless, witless, cripplingly self-indulgent, pompously self-satisfied, intellectually hollow, achingly pretentious, stultifyingly bland, spiritually bereft, ideologically bankrupt, aesthetically repugnant, culturally pointless, musically sterile heap of ****. Roll on the revolution.
     
  9. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    The "SHT" review (without TTL) appeared in Musician (Player and Listener) Magazine. I don't know if it was the same reviewer, or just synchonicity.
     
  10. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    So did they rip off the other critic?
     
  11. Jimbo

    Jimbo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Zero/Zero Island
    It's fun to read the slagging of Yes in The Rolling Stone Record Guide: "Relayer dips into the jazz-fusion stewpot with alarming results; Howe produces some downright ugly noises with a guitar-sythesizer."


    Another of my favorites was from an old music guide I had in college, which described the Dead's Europe 72 as an exercise in "flatulent circumlocution." :laugh:
     
  12. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    J.D. Considine was the author of it.
     
  13. mrtanner

    mrtanner Active Member

    Stereo Review (late 70s)

    From 30-year old memory now -

    Artist: Procol Harem

    Album: Something Magic

    Performance: Something Tragic
     
  14. Steve G

    Steve G Forum Resident

    Location:
    los angeles
    My absolute favoritest review ever, which I still remember from when I was a kid, and I mean like an actual kid, was in Rolling Stone for a band called "Sky" and an album called something like "Don't Hold Back". I did some searches on the internet and could not find it to post up here. But it was like Dorothy Parker or something.
     
  15. Raf

    Raf Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    A different kind of "badness" is in this AMG review of Sinead O'Connor's Faith and Courage. Easily the most poorly written and incoherent record review I have ever seen published anywhere.

     
  16. Squealy

    Squealy Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Vancouver
    That review reads like it was translated from another language!
     
  17. Tomek

    Tomek Forum Resident

    Location:
    Krakow, Poland
    Yes paned in short review

    What about the review of one of prog rock Yes?

    It went sth like:

    "Yes?
    No!"

    I recall it was written by Charles Shaar Murray
     
  18. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    The Internet has fast become a forum for all kinds of bad writing. I often visit www.classicrockrevisited.com, and I'm often amazed by the apparent lack of editorial oversight there. They often score great interviews, but then they're full of misspellings and malopropisms. A recent interview with Joe Perry stated that his new solo album was released on "Duel Disc." :laugh:
     
  19. Ron Stone

    Ron Stone Offending Member

    Location:
    Deep Maryland
    Robert Christgau is the Poet Laureate of scathing reviews. Here's some of my picks of his takes on some forum favorites, taken from his website where all his reviews are archived, www.robertchristgau.com:

    Eagles - ONE OF THESE NIGHTS [Asylum, 1975]
    Put on your neckboots and wade through the slick**** and you may get a kick from the lyrics -- these boys like lotsa malaise with their mayonnaise. But in rock and roll the difference between tragedy and soap opera is usually the acting, here so completely immersed in stringing sings that even the aptest phrases are reduced to the clichés they restate. C+

    Pete Townshend - ALL THE BEST COWBOYS HAVE CHINESE EYES [Atco, 1982]
    What intelligence must have gone into this album! What craft! What personal suffering! What tax-deductible business expenditure! In 1982, at 37, Townshend has somehow managed to conceive, record, and release a confessional song suite the pretentiousness of which could barely be imagined by an acid-damaged Bard drama major. That is, it's pretentious at an unprecedented level of difficulty -- you have to pay years of dues before you can twist such long words into such unlikely rhymes and images and marshal arrangements of such intricate meaninglessness. A stupendous achievement. D+

    Yes - TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS [Atlantic, 1974]
    Nice "passages" here, as they say, but what flatulent quasisymphonies -- the whole is definitely less than the sum of its parts, and some of the parts are pretty negligible. I mean, howcum they didn't choose to echo Graeco-Roman, Hebrew, and African culture as well as the lost Indian, Chinese, Central American, and Atlantean ones? Typical hyperromantic exoticism is one answer, and everybody would know they're full of **** is the other. C
     
  20. Emilio

    Emilio Forum Resident

    A Kiss fan called Mary Toledo reviewed all Kiss albums for a Kiss special magazine. I don't have the magazine here right now, but what she wrote about "The Elder" was basically that it was considered Kiss' worst album ever and for that reason it was the only one she had never heard! Can you top that? Talk about perpetuating a myth...
     
  21. t3hSheepdog

    t3hSheepdog Forum Artist

    Location:
    lazor country
    :biglaugh:
     
  22. Guy E

    Guy E Forum Resident

    Location:
    Antalya, Turkey
    This thread is fun.

    I've always been a Christgau fan... he's steered me clear of some critically-lauded dogs through the years.
     
  23. reverber

    reverber Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrence KS, USA
    I used to love reading Byron Coley's work for Forced Exposure.

    Cody
     
  24. Chief

    Chief Over 10,000 Served Thread Starter

    Wow, the Stereolab review is just great! When a review starts with "Well, you have to admit they're good at what they do. But then so was Hitler" you know that the rest is going to be gold. And this one doesn't let us down!


    - "egghead dilettantes par excellence"
    - "have still managed to seal everything in their bubble of insipid designer-beige aesthetics"
    - "Pervaded by pompous pseudo-intellectual 'ideas', borrowing credibility by indulgently showing off their stylistic dexterity"
    - "Stereolab now make lame, impotent test-card muzak for muzos."

    And best yet, "Laetitia's soulless, stultifying voice sounds like Bond villainess Rosa Klebb singing washing powder instructions into a karaoke machine after having her coffee drugged with Mogadon"

    Holy crap! That is brilliant. I don't know who wrote this article, but my guess is that he is a frustrated novelist with a literature degree. He should've received an award for it.

    I liked the album by the way.
     
  25. Chief

    Chief Over 10,000 Served Thread Starter

    Stephen Stills 2, by Stephen Stills. This is a goody. I love Stills, and this album is tops for me.

    "a fifth-rate album by a solid second-rate artist" gives me shivers...
     
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