LIVE show time again in my house – woo-hoo! Going to see three shows in the next two weeks, & I’m back on the beat.
So to rev up, I’ve been checking out some reviews. And what should I find but two newish websites: criticalmetrics.com and metacritic.com. Both, in an earnest attempt to make sense of what can seem like the 20-foot-diameter pipe of information that threatens to blow us out of our computer chairs daily anyway, compile reviews and music recommendations. Into two neat sites. Critical Metrics tabulates how many times a new song is mentioned; metacritic.com checks out how many reviews are positive vs. negative – it’s rottentomatos.com for music, via megalith CNET.
Neat bits of quantitative stats on qualitative stuff. And you bet they try for kudos on their visual display of quantitative information — which isn’t too bad, actually, in the case of criticalmetrics.com
I will not be using them much, tho’ I’m happy I saw them. They do answer the questions: “Does anyone else like this? Are they cool or lame? Am I cool or lame for liking this?” (not questions I ask myself too often, I have to say.)
I might wonder, tho’: “how many other people liked this for the same reasons I did?” But stats won’t answer that questions. Every taste of the musical madeleine unleashes a separate set of stories for every individual. In these meta-meta-palimpsest-layers-of-reference times, one critic likes that song cuz it reminds him of that Cure record he played in a basement near Cleveland, in 1997; the other cuz it brings back a sweaty night at Malibu laughing about how Spin mag named Dead or Alive the best band of 1980-something, and then dancing to it anyway.
One likes the dance-punk sardonic-love-song lyrics cuz they just broke up with someone they never really went out with; someone else cuz the bass thumps them at the base of the ass and and then travels directly up the brainstem to the ass-shake neurons.
Some, of course, actually review the music and not any metacontextual madeleine memory bullshit.
One critic grooves on the 808 and the brass sounds, often performing feats of musical analysis far beyond mortal bloggers (that would be the inimitable Sasha Frere-Jones of the New Yorker – for his peculiar blog, which is nothing like his reviews, check out S F/J).
Anyway, I got a kick our of seeing what publications Critical Metrics surveys, compared to my own reading list.
Let’s see: I read Insound and Other Music’s mailers, sometimes look at Pitchfork, Fader and Filter, but not Blender, quite like Dazed & Confused, Fact (ooh, they don’t have that one yet! SCORE!), and earplug (they don’t suss that one, either, DOUBLE SCORE!); I click thru brooklynvegan and stereogum, and devour XLR8R’s every shiny issue. Can I eliminate those hours with my beloved magazines and blogs and just get a cool summation from CM and meta-C?
No fucking way. I misspent my youth among the piles of Creem and The Bob and the prized NME sucking down paper and printing and bylines and design – and Critical Metrics and Metacritic ain’t music mags, no matter how quantitatively cool. I’m sticking with the shiny paper covers.
And I’m going to see LCD Soundsystem tonight – a band with a name my hubby once referred to “the stupidest band name I ever heard” – well, thanks to his geek wife and piles of paper, at least he heard it way before anyone else.
and gets to hear it again tonight. YEEE-HAH.
A blog post tomorrow, I hope.
I don’t think it’ll make it onto the metacritic list. I don’t mind.