Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seriously, Fuck Rolling Stone

Pitchfork Media gets a lot of shit for their reviews. And you know what? That's deserved. They can be pretentious twats, sometimes. Like, say, giving Wavves' first album an 8.1, vs. giving pretty much every Dr. Dog album a 5.5. That's fucking bullshit, and they know it. But for all their douchebaggery, Pitchfork is generally in touch with what is good, what is mediocre, and what is not good. They have their vices (shitty Lo-Fi/No-fi), but they get it right pretty often.

Rolling Stone is not like this. Rolling Stone is always, ALWAYS out of touch. It's gotten to the point where they weight their reviews just to sell magazines. That is dumb, and not at all the point of music criticism. When they're giving EVERY FUCKING U2/Bob Dylan/Bruce Springsteen album 4 1/2+ stars, regardless of how shitty they've gotten, it's pretty obvious they're just pandering to their original base. But even then, they still get shit wrong ALL THE TIME. And it's not like this is even new! They've been writing unforgivably terrible, ignorant reviews since their inception. Sometimes they rectify this -- like changing Pinkerton from 3 stars to 5 -- but for the most part, they make shitty reviews and ignore it. For example...

1. Lou Reed - Transformer: 4 stars (revised to 4 1/2 in a 2002 issue) vs. Guns n' Roses - Chinese Democracy: 4 Stars

Uh, wuuuuuuut? This is monumentally stupid. Transformer is one of the seminal albums of the 70's, and Chinese Democracy was a colossal failure that did nothing but disappoint fans of a band that kind of sucked to begin with. Transformer is unquestionably a 5 star album. Chinese Democracy (which I have actually listened to several times) is probably a 2 star album, MAYBE a 2 1/2 star album. The edge in songwriting, vocals, instrumentals, and album composition goes to Lou Reed. Axl Rose gets the edge in having Buckethead on his album.

Let's go for a more recent example...

2. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: 3 1/2 stars vs. U2 - No Line On The Horizon: 5 stars

Rolling Stone give out a lot of 3 1/2's. It's pretty comparable to the amount of 6-ish reviews Pitchfork dishes out. Their average review of Big Boi's fairly new solo album is notable, mainly because it is the LOWEST RATING ON METACRITIC FOR THAT ALBUM. The average score for this album is a 9/10. And you know what? The review for it is pretty damn glowing. Look at the blurb used on Metacritic: "He's less pimp than craftsman, packing more style--and more substance--into his four-minute-long songs than other rappers deliver in an entire album." But, yeah. 3 1/2 stars is about right. I can't wait until fucking Jack Johnson or some shit ends up ahead of this on their top albums list this year. UGH.

That's frustrating, but nowhere near as rage-inducing as Rolling Stone's inexplicable LOVE of U2's No Line On The Horizon. They gave it a perfect 5 stars. They named it the album of the year. They listed it as the 32nd best album of the 2000's. Seriously? That album is an uninspired piece of shit. This is not up for debate. It sucks. I don't hate U2, so this isn't the product of some vendetta I have against Bono (who is kind of a prick). I own The Unforgettable Fire on vinyl. I really like their catalog up to Achtung Baby -- the album Rolling Stone shamelessly compares No Line to. For the life of me, I will never understand what these fucktards saw in this thoroughly mediocre album. It's just fucking mind-boggling.

3. Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense: 2 1/2 stars vs. Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream: 5 Stars

Who wrote this review for Stop Making Sense? Seriously, who was it? That's fucking egregious. SMS is, I would say, the greatest live album I have ever heard. It sounds WONDERFUL, and it has a killer set list. By Talking Heads. You know, one of the greatest bands of all time. 2 1/2 stars? Come on. What the fuck?

Rolling Stone has been shamelessly blowing Bruce Springsteen for several decades now, and Working On A Dream is no exception. It's not like it's a bad album, but the dinosaurs at Rolling Stone absolutely refuse to admit Springsteen is capable of making average -- and sometimes VERY average -- albums. Giving his new album 3 stars does not negate any goodwill toward Born To Run, or Nebraska, or whatever. Those albums are great, and they will always be seen that way. So stop fucking around and just admit Springsteen's best days are behind him. He's way too prolific to keep making great albums. The same thing happened to Bowie, but you're not giving Earthling 5 stars, now are you, you fucking assholes?

4. Radiohead - OK Computer: 4 stars vs. Metallica - St. Anger: 4 stars

Anyone who won't give OK Computer 5 stars is a fucking moron. Seriously. If you're an even remotely objective music critic, ESPECIALLY in 1997, that album is an instant classic. It's still consistently amazing over a decade later. I could devote an entire post to Rolling Stone's unwillingness to give ANY Radiohead album 5 stars upon its initial release. It hasn't happened yet. Why? I really have no fucking clue.

St. Anger is a giant piece of shit. It is Metallica's worst album, and it's not even close. Their fans hate it. I'm pretty sure Metallica hates it. I hate it. It sucks, and it has some of the worst production I've ever heard, on ANY album. The band was ripping itself apart at this point and this album capped off the worst stretch of albums in the band's career (Load, Reload, St. Anger). But, yeah. It's absolutely on par with OK Computer, as well as Hail to the Thief -- which came out the same year and received a 4 star review on its release. Seriously, this is fucking stupid. It's horribly disappointing that Rolling Stone is unable to recognize how shitty this album is.

5. Pink Floyd - Animals: 2 stars vs. Ke$ha - Animal: 3 stars

Oops! Not only did Rolling Stone fail miserably by not giving Animals 5 stars, they gave it a NEGATIVE REVIEW, one which they have refused to rectify in any way since. This is totally baffling to me, because Rolling Stone tends to like Pink Floyd. Of course, that means they love The Wall, because they're dumb and don't realize it's vastly inferior to most of Floyd's catalog.

Yes, Rolling Stone gave Ke$ha a positive review. To be fair, they gave 3Oh!3 an incredibly negative review (1 star), but this is totally unforgivable. There's no reason Animal should've gotten anything over 2 stars. And it goes down in Rolling Stone history as being a full star higher than Animals. WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN

I could go on doing this, but I think I've made my point, and any further examples will just make me more pissed about how fucking stupid Rolling Stone is. That publication needs to die and allow relevant, intelligent, objective critics to take over. If you want decent music criticism (or TV/Movie/Book criticism), just go to The AV Club. You'll be happy you did.

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