Rolling Stone record guides. Anyone else get irritated???

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by BrentB, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tryon, NC, USA
    More like 2/3rds!
     
  2. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
     
    seed_drill likes this.
  3. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tryon, NC, USA
    I've got the original four 78 album that came on.
     
    Terrapin Station likes this.
  4. Hardy Melville

    Hardy Melville Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    I used to read RS more for the stories than the reviews. Back in the day I preferred reading Christgau for reviews, not that I always agreed with him, but I figured I knew where he was coming from.

    Reviewers who tend to be less concerned about or uninformed about playing music are the ones I tend to want to avoid or may even actively dislike. Too many reviewers at RS seemed of that sort.
     
  5. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tryon, NC, USA
    They had a one word review for Chase. Flee.
     
  6. tmoore

    tmoore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Olney, MD
    Completely agree. They were crucial for me in that sense.
     
  7. rrbbkk

    rrbbkk Forum Resident

    Rolling Stone hasn't been relevant to music since I graduated high school. I'm 60.
     
  8. RTW

    RTW Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Critical consensus on things changes over time as times change and influences wear on. Things reviewed negatively thirty years ago are often hailed today and vice-versa. I always hated RS's review guides because they didn't gel with my tastes, but I think if you're using a guide from 1983 to steer you around today, you get what you deserve, frankly.
     
  9. tmoore

    tmoore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Olney, MD
    Interesting. I have the exact opposite opinion. See my earlier post for some of the reasons why I feel that way.
     
  10. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Location:
    Baja Virginia
    Agree with almost everything I've read on the first page so far. The blue edition was ****e in 1983 and it's ****e now. Very heavily biased based on Dave Marsh's opinions, and not really appropriate for a volume that (hypothetically, at least) is supposed to represent more of a critical consensus (unlike Christgau's columns and books, which are clearly just one man's opinion).

    Those of you with tons of extra time on your hands and a desire to delve deeply into just how widely Rolling Stone's opinions have varied over the years (often in completely contradictory ways) might enjoy this list, but it's a tough slog:

    Rolling Stone's 500 Worst Reviews of All Time (work in progress)

    As someone pointed out:

    Which is probably the best advice for considering any kind of rock criticism.
     
  11. YardByrd

    YardByrd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Expat in Helsinki
    I had both the red and blue as a kid in 80s and they helped me get into some stuff... took me awhile to find the Armageddon LP but it lived up to the recommendation in the guide. Ah, nostalgia...
     
  12. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Location:
    Baja Virginia
    And yet, the albums themselves have not changed since 1983. This says more about the value of "critical consensus" than it does about the value of any particular album.
     
    Terrapin Station likes this.
  13. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Location:
    Baja Virginia
    Well, I read a lot of these books in my younger days and I'd be hard-pressed to say that they were a net positive on my life as a music fan.

    The Trouser Press guide in specific was good because it listed a lot of obscure bands that would have been very hard to discover from other relatively-mainstream sources.

    The Rolling Stone guides (especially the blue one) consisted mostly of mainstream releases, IIRC. Anyone with a radio or a local record store could have been exposed to most of that material already.

    In both cases, though -- and here's the rub -- the authors and editors were very quick to write off music that they didn't personally enjoy, usually in a fashion that emphasized its utter worthlessness and the complete lack of intelligence or musical taste displayed by anyone who was stupid enough to enjoy such music.

    That sort of snobbery doesn't do anyone any favors, but it sure is fun to write (and read, if you happen to agree with it).
     
    jay.dee likes this.
  14. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham
    I rate the guides only 2 1/2 stars
     
  15. Summerisle

    Summerisle Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA, USA
    They do a good job of hanging themselves without the SHF.
     
  16. I had the first (red '79) and third editions ('92). I based a lot of my record collection on their 5 star albums that had little thumbnail pictures scattered throughout the red edition. I didn't get into Rush until around 2000 and when I did I went back to the red book and saw a lot of their albums had no stars. The '92 edition was a bit kinder. Among other research material I have is this book from 1996.
    [​IMG]
    Interestingly it has articles about The Rutles and Spinal Tap as if they were real bands. The article about Milli Vanilli is a column of blank paper. There is no article about Uriah Heep.
     
  17. RTW

    RTW Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Perhaps. Albums do not often exist in a vacuum, not just because recording techniques change but also because styles develop over time. Criticism is about putting an album in context, and context has a lot of value, especially with regard to ongoing audience awareness. Criticism is often responsible for whether or not an album does exist in a vacuum.

    All it takes for an artist or album that was widely panned in 1983 is for someone a generation later to quote it in such a way that it becomes influential and/or essential to a new sound or wave of performers and suddenly the context has changed.

    I could easily see how those writers in 1983 would have absolutely NO understanding, for example, of the rise of hip hop or the way that certain albums from the 60s, 70s, or early 80s would factor into such a thing... It would be interesting to read reviews from 1983 that accurately anticipated a record's importance/influence on what was to come, but once something gains that influence it becomes much harder to outwardly dismiss it. Anyhow, I guess I always felt that RS was always good at (re)examining the past (to death) but never particularly good about anticipating the future.
     
  18. Exit Flagger

    Exit Flagger Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    I actually like comparing the way critical opinion fluctuated in the guides along the way - the red, the blue, the 90s one and the 2000s one. It's interesting. Although I agree that the Marsh-dominated blue book can be hilariously wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  19. Dodoz

    Dodoz Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    I checked the 500 worst Rolling Stone reviews article on rateyourmusic, it's quite amusing.
    Rob Sheffield's angle and his writing style gets crucified, pretty much :D
     
    uzn007 likes this.
  20. Exit Flagger

    Exit Flagger Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    A little bit of Sheffield goes a long way. His reviews can be funny but they are often too flippant, too concerned with being clever and too full of hyperbole (everything seems to be either solid gold or solid ****).
     
  21. ccn103

    ccn103 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    How about Jon Landau? Talk about a pompous ass. His RS review of Blood on the Tracks is one of the most off-target and ridiculous things I've ever read.
     
  22. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I'm not finished catching up, but it seems some aren't aware that the magazine reviews have nothing to do with the Record Guide reviews. It's entirely separate.
     
  23. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    That may be, but it's not as if they haven't earned it.
     
    Morton LaBongo likes this.
  24. troggy

    troggy Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow

    Location:
    southern Illinois
    I don't know, that 1983 guide isn't kind to a lot of punk rock. And the three Dictators albums all got zero stars.
     
    jay.dee likes this.
  25. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    It’s against forum rules to argue there are two valid sides to an argument.

    :cop:

    Why I have half a mind to report you for nuancing with intent.
     
    dkmonroe likes this.

Share This Page