Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Chief, Feb 21, 2006.
To be clear -- Considine first called the album "SHT" in Musician, and then recycled the joke for the Rolling Stone book.
I miss Musician, that was a good magazine.
In Musician, it was just the one word review, "SHT" wasn't it? I like it better than way. The rewritten version for the RS Record Guide does not add anything, and adding "TTL" overdoes the joke.
I recall these from Rolling Stone (working from memory here...)
Nigel Olsson - "If God had meant Nigel Olsson to sing, he wouldn't have given him drumsticks"
Bachman-Turner Overdrive (one of their last albums) - "Death, taxes, another Bachman-Turner Overdrive album"
and my favorite, for the "Beatlemania" cast album: "Anyone who buys this album instead of a real Beatles album ought to be shot".
You have to remember:
Reading a record review that was WRITTEN UPON A RECORD'S RELEASE does not have the benefit of hindsight. Even if the critic listened to the record in question 10 times in a week, he doesn't have the chance to LIVE with the record, attach life experiences to the record or generally develop a soft-spot for it. The critic calls it as he sees it at the time. Two years before RAM, Paul McCartney was responsble for ABBEY ROAD. Can you imagine the comparison? Of course we love RAM after 35 years...it's as familiar as the skin on your fingers!
Stupid me - and here I was mixing GTR up with Grand Trunk Railroad / Grand Funk Rarilroad. Poor Grand Funk, along with Black Oak Arkansas, who used to get savaged by a lot of rock critics (though not always) and were never really understood by most of them. Some critic even once said something to the effect that BOA didn't play their own instruments because they didn't know how, which must have been quite a revelation to those who saw 'em live in the 70's. The fact that these bands were some of the top grossing live acts of the '71 to '76 period, and had a number of gold albums each made it all the sweeter for me and my buddies at the time.
Two favorites of mine were
Black Sabbath- Live Evil: "Live Evil huh.., more like Dead Duck!"
Asia- Then and Now: "Asia.. Bad THEN, Worse NOW!"
hmm.. that's two bad nods for Mr. Hackett, seems no one wants to
know him away from Yes.
Very true. Not just hindsight, but perspective. Ram occupies a unique position in McCartney's history, in the sense that pretty much everything he had done before it was better than Ram, but pretty much everything he did after it was worse than Ram. Compared to the Beatles, Ram is mediocre at best. Compared to most of his other solo albums, it is a masterwork.
I was going to mention the GTR one too, but no need to. I had thought it was in CREEM, but perhaps I was mistaken. XLNT would have been more accurate, I rank the darn thing on my '80s top 10 LPs.
Anyone have Lester Bangs' review in Creem of Led Zeppelin III? Damning with not-so-faint praise, if I remember correctly. But funny!
Yes, and you're right, adding more to the review dilutes the joke.
Somehow, this topic made me think of a review in High Fidelity in the mid 70s, of a record called "The Nothing Record", which apparently was something like "The Nothing Book".....a record with no sound recorded on it. If memory serves, it was pressed by Murray Hill, which means with all the ticks and pops it was more like a performance of John Cage's 4'33" ....... where the audience and ambient noise becomes the piece. Any how if memory serves, the review was something like this:
The Nothing Record
It's funny how the received opinion of Ram has gone 180 degrees from "the nadir of the decomposition of the 60s" or whatever the Rolling Stone review said to "McCartney's solo masterwork." As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between.
I just can't find the review I want. I think it is mentioned on some album liner notes. It started off
"If this band make it, I shall have to kill myself"
or something along those lines. Of course, it was for Jethro Tull (or maybe Uriah Heep?) who went on to huge success. No word about the fate of the reviewer.
Anyone have this?
...............I do believe he did away with himself on The Magician's Birthday.
lester's review of seeing tangerine dream at lasarium in new york is one of the funniest things you're likely to read.
KING CRIMSON'S "lark's tongues..." had it's share of abuse heaped upon it in its day. anyone with a copy of "the young person's guide to KC" or the first KC boxed set i'm sure have read american writer gary lucas' review in ZOO from may 7, 1973:
"...as far as fripp's flirtation with jazz goes, the man, to be sure, has strong roots in a certain kind of jazz--cocktail lounge jazz..."
"...they ain't sun ra and they ain't pierre boulez and they ain't even any of the cats that come in between those two incredible towers of strength. and there's nothing magical about this music. there is only one magic band, and this one isn't it. instead of just telling you suckers out there not to waste your money, which i'd dearly like to do and leave it at that, i'm supposed to offer some sort of analysis..."
"...there isn't one new idea here that wasn't developed by fripp or somebody else years ago. forget anything you may ever have heard about them being avant-garde..."
"...there are also many time changes, oh yes, real heavy ones like 5/4 and 7/8, but they always let you know when they're gonna change the time signature by breaking off the "movement". if you like pop tunes, buy kevin ayers' JOY OF A TOY, if you can find it..."
"...david cross suffers from a severe handicap--he can't play the violin, which is maybe why he is given only the most rudimentary instrumental lines. to paraphrase pauline kael, if a contest was held between david cross and the violinist of string driven thing to determine who was the worst violinist, the violinist for string driven thing would lose..."
"...consolation--at least peter sinfield doesn't write lyrics for them anymore..."
these are just some brutal highlights, but the review is actually quite funny, too.
this reminds me of a book actress diana rigg wrote many years ago, a compilation of bad stage reviews called "no turn unstoned". love that title!
Parke Puterbaugh wrote a lot of Rolling Stone reviews in the early 80's. His writing style really annoyed me for some reason.
I recall his review of Toto's IV. He claimed "Africa" was a dead ringer for Asia's "Heat Of The Moment" which to this day confounds me. He ended the review saying the album fit as tightly as a "Velveeta skinsuit" or something like that.
Some of the worst record reviews are the one's where it's very hard to tell if the reviewer actually LIKED the album or not.
Hmm, I agree with most of the posted slaggings.
Abba-Greatest Hits is of the highest quality, even if it is prone to induce both sleep and cavities. -Rolling Stone
It's Uriah Heep's first album, reviewed in Rolling Stone by Melissa Mills. I posted it earlier in the thread.
In my opinion, its the culmination of the creative arc McCartney started towards the end of 1968. I think he was on a roll, writing the best songs of his life. Ram was the final album in that phase, and as such is as good as his work on Abbey Road. Certainly McCartney was the architech of that album, but his major contribution was "You Never Give Me Your Money". "Oh Darling" was a pastiche, and not better than most of the songs on Ram. And "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" ended up in an unfinished form as part of the melody. "Golden Slumbers" is pretty good, but as good as many Ram songs. After Ram, Paul's music really moved into the "ex-Beatle" phase.
I'm really NOT trying to turn this into a Ram thread. I just wanted to add my opinion to what was already mentioned about Ram. On that note, here is wonderful piece of review writing by AMG's Stephen Thomas Erlewine.
Its full of goodies about Ms. Lohan's "breasts", whether or not she's actually famous, her tabloid romances, a showing by Paris Hilton, what she looks like on the cover, and the inside photos, and Pro Tools.
Stereo Review used to have some pithy reviews. I remember this one-line comment about Harry Chapin's Dance Band on the Titanic: "No wonder it sank."
There *are* a few lyrical mis-steps on *Chinese Eyes,* but the real irony is that Christgau's review often describes his own writing style: "the pretentiousness of which could barely be imagined by an acid-damaged Bard drama major."
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