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Review Etiquette and Rationale

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Time Signature Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 5:42am
Originally posted by adg211288 adg211288 wrote:

I'm going to be honest but I find most very short reviews, as in single paragraph ones, next to useless, especially the ones printed in the UK's Metal Hammer magazine. 


I rarely read that mag, and when I do, I never read the reviews, but I have read my share of similar reviews in other mags (and here I have to be honest, I think that most main stream print metal mags are next to useless). I think that the type of very short review that you refer to is often next to useless - so we agree there. There can be good reviews of that type nonetheless, but the writer will really have to know the art of information packaging and information compression. And, I think that we do have some reviewers her on MMA who are very good at that.

I find it surprising that the Metal Hammer reviews are as bad as you say they are, because the Metal Hammer writers have worked within that format for ages (and they kind of have an excuse for writing those short reviews, since their mag is a physical one with word limits and layout conventions etc.), so one should expect that they have developed some strategies to get the most out of whatever space they have to write reviews in.

I should say that I did not bash long reviews in the previous post of mine... it's just that I do not have the patience or the time to read them because of the amount of reading I do in my day job, so, when it comes to long reviews, I generally only read the ones about releases that I am really interested in.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 7:09am
Originally posted by UMUR UMUR wrote:

Iīve read very short reviews, that were very useful and long ones that were a complete waste of time (and space). It all depends on the reviewer and his/her writing style.

I agree with that, but I do find that with some really short reviews that they could be talking about pretty much any album of that band or genre. I don't find that helpful at all. 

Originally posted by Time Signature Time Signature wrote:

I rarely read that mag, and when I do, I never read the reviews, but I have read my share of similar reviews in other mags (and here I have to be honest, I think that most main stream print metal mags are next to useless). I think that the type of very short review that you refer to is often next to useless - so we agree there. There can be good reviews of that type nonetheless, but the writer will really have to know the art of information packaging and information compression. And, I think that we do have some reviewers her on MMA who are very good at that.

I find it surprising that the Metal Hammer reviews are as bad as you say they are, because the Metal Hammer writers have worked within that format for ages (and they kind of have an excuse for writing those short reviews, since their mag is a physical one with word limits and layout conventions etc.), so one should expect that they have developed some strategies to get the most out of whatever space they have to write reviews in.

I should say that I did not bash long reviews in the previous post of mine... it's just that I do not have the patience or the time to read them because of the amount of reading I do in my day job, so, when it comes to long reviews, I generally only read the ones about releases that I am really interested in.

I have stopped reading the reviews except for the featured ones, since they're longer and more in depth. And I wouldn't say that these short reviews are 'bad', no matter who's doing them, they're just not for me.

I think the important thing to remember with any reviewer regardless of their style is that not every review is going to be the best work they can do. I find with some albums the words just won't flow at all. For albums I was reviewing off my own back I'd just abandon it in such cases, at least temporarily, but for promos I do try to review all of them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 8:29am
Yeah there is definitely a thing about flow and a sometimes a failing muse that has to be taken into consideration. Iīm much happier about some of my reviews than others. Especially the reviews I do for promos, where itīs not necessarily music I personally favor or know much about, can be hard to write.
 
There is also a question of some albums just not being interesting enough to write a whole essay about. There are many pretty generic/standard releases out there and sometimes my reviews of those come off as "honorable mentions" rather than detailed reviews. Iīm fully conscious about that and I donīt see it as an issue. If someone feel I havenīt given an album enough credit or havenīt mentioned enough details they are always welcome to post their own review mentioning all the details I missed. Or they can bitch and whine in the shouts sectionLOL
 
...of course shouts still need to be somewhat respectful but if people donīt agree with what I write I would love to hear what they have to say.


Edited by UMUR - 05 Jun 2012 at 8:40am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 9:34am
Yeah sometimes no matter how hard I look I can't find much to say about an album, especially ones I gave mid-range ratings to. 

Of course negative reviews are the hardest to write. But I think the important thing to remember is that honesty is the best approach, and in my experience artists appreciate that. It's definitely possible to write a negative review while being respectful. 

Actually thinking about it, on the talk of professionalism with reviews, I think that the ability to write a respectful negative review is about the ultimate test. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dtguitarfan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 10:28am
Man, I'm struggling right now to write a review for a favorite artist - the artist is a favorite of mine, but I don't think his new album is all that great.  I mean, I loved some of the tracks, but over all I don't think I'd recommend it.  So I'm struggling to write a positive/negative review - positive about the artist but honest about the fact that I didn't think the album was his best.

I've only ever written one absolutely scathing review, and I probably wasn't respectful but dang it, I was mad, haha!  I never put it up here - it's over on Prog Archives, but I'm telling you it seems like no one gives anything by this artist anything but 5 stars, and when I was listening to it it just seemed so out there and weird - like, come on, be honest that this is NOT for everyone, you know?  5 stars should mean that you would instantly recommend it to anyone and everyone, and it seemed like anyone should be able to recognize that this one was NOT for anyone and everyone, by a long shot.  I don't know if that makes sense, but there it is.

Rant over, haha!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 10:53am
I've given an artist I really like a very low rating before. I consider the review respectful for the most part although I did end it by saying I only recommend it as a spare beer mat - the frustrated fan in me talking there. I'm talking about this one:  http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/the-scythe--review.aspx?id=228877

If you are struggling you can feel free to PM me the review for a once over. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 1:46pm
Originally posted by dtguitarfan dtguitarfan wrote:

Man, I'm struggling right now to write a review for a favorite artist - the artist is a favorite of mine, but I don't think his new album is all that great.  I mean, I loved some of the tracks, but over all I don't think I'd recommend it.  So I'm struggling to write a positive/negative review - positive about the artist but honest about the fact that I didn't think the album was his best.

I've only ever written one absolutely scathing review, and I probably wasn't respectful but dang it, I was mad, haha!  I never put it up here - it's over on Prog Archives, but I'm telling you it seems like no one gives anything by this artist anything but 5 stars, and when I was listening to it it just seemed so out there and weird - like, come on, be honest that this is NOT for everyone, you know?  5 stars should mean that you would instantly recommend it to anyone and everyone, and it seemed like anyone should be able to recognize that this one was NOT for anyone and everyone, by a long shot.  I don't know if that makes sense, but there it is.

Rant over, haha!
 
I think people have all sorts of different systems and reasons for rating as they do. I probably rate some albums with 5 stars that you would absolutely hate and visa versa. Personally I rate albums with 5 stars if they are exceptional in my book. I donīt consider, and I donīt necessarily think itīs important, if anyone else feels the same way. Some people rate lo-fi noisy black metal demos with 5 star ratings, which are usually releases I give 1 star ratings. IMO itīs all down to personal taste. What moves you and what leaves you cold.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 1:47pm
Originally posted by adg211288 adg211288 wrote:

Yeah sometimes no matter how hard I look I can't find much to say about an album, especially ones I gave mid-range ratings to. 

Of course negative reviews are the hardest to write. But I think the important thing to remember is that honesty is the best approach, and in my experience artists appreciate that. It's definitely possible to write a negative review while being respectful. 

Actually thinking about it, on the talk of professionalism with reviews, I think that the ability to write a respectful negative review is about the ultimate test. 
 
Youīre damn right about that. Itīs extremely hard to write a negative review in a respectful manner. "ultimate reviewer test" is definitely the right term for it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 2:55pm
Originally posted by UMUR UMUR wrote:

I think people have all sorts of different systems and reasons for rating as they do.
  

Yeah, makes me think of something I read on the Rate Your Music FAQ about rating systems. 2 stars can be a good album in some people's view.

Originally posted by UMUR UMUR wrote:

I probably rate some albums with 5 stars that you would absolutely hate and visa versa. Personally I rate albums with 5 stars if they are exceptional in my book. I donīt consider, and I donīt necessarily think itīs important, if anyone else feels the same way. Some people rate lo-fi noisy black metal demos with 5 star ratings, which are usually releases I give 1 star ratings. IMO itīs all down to personal taste. What moves you and what leaves you cold.

I don't see you give out full 5's that often. I'm more free with them than I sometimes care to be but I do find it hard not to when I album gets me going so much that it goes on heavy rotation for weeks on end. The different systems thing again I guess. I can tell from the text of reviews you've done for albums I've rated 5 stars that we seem to regard the album about the same in many cases. Honestly when we're talking reviews the text is worth a lot more than the rating given at the end of it. Some sites/magazines don't even score their reviews.

I think my leaning towards 4 stars and above comes on my part from reading other reviews, especially when I was starting out, and see people rating albums with 7/10 and then saying that there's nothing wrong with it. To be 7/10, or 3.5 stars per MMA, tells me that a release is good but there is something holding it back, otherwise why'd it lose those points? That's why unless I find something really notably wrong with an album I give it at least 4 stars. I know I did just say that rating isn't as important as text, but I do think if you are putting a rating on your text should match up with that rating. Hence if I don't have any major complaints, I give 4 stars or more.

That's my system anyhow.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 3:01pm
These are my statistics from RYM:
 
Breakdown by rating:

0.50 stars 0 (0.0%)
1.00 stars 16 (1.47%)
1.50 stars 8 (0.73%)
2.00 stars 41 (3.76%)
2.50 stars 76 (6.98%)
3.00 stars 256 (23.5%)
3.50 stars 372 (34.1%)
4.00 stars 260 (23.8%)
4.50 stars 44 (4.04%)
5.00 stars 15 (1.37%)

Average Rating: 3.38 stars
Thatīs fifteen 5 star reviews out of 1088 reviews, so yeah you are right I seldom give out 5 stars.Smile
 
...Iīm still rating higher than I probably should, but it has a lot to do with the fact that I often review music that I like. Itīs not often Iīm in the mood to spend time with a release Iīm giving 2.5 stars or lower. Thatīs simply releases I have no interest in.


Edited by UMUR - 05 Jun 2012 at 3:04pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 4:52pm
If I went through all my oldest ratings there'd probably be a few 5's that would get downgraded to 4.5 now. 

Honestly I'm very casual with rating without reviewing. If I rate then review later my rating sometimes goes up but just as often goes down as I take a more objective approach. 

My breakdown looks very different:

0.50 stars3 (0.35%)
1.00 stars12 (1.43%)
1.50 stars8 (0.95%)
2.00 stars17 (2.02%)
2.50 stars17 (2.02%)
3.00 stars58 (6.91%)
3.50 stars143 (17.0%)
4.00 stars263 (31.3%)
4.50 stars200 (23.8%)
5.00 stars118 (14.0%)

Average Rating: 3.95 stars 

Respect for never giving out a 0.5 by the way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wilytank Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 6:44pm
I only have more because I have more stuff rated.  Most of the .5/5s are singles.  Quite a few of them are singles that were on the radio, and you guys can guess how much I hate goddamn public radio.

Breakdown by rating: 

0.50 stars27 (1.65%)
1.00 stars19 (1.16%)
1.50 stars23 (1.40%)
2.00 stars27 (1.65%)
2.50 stars61 (3.73%)
3.00 stars130 (7.96%)
3.50 stars205 (12.5%)
4.00 stars501 (30.6%)
4.50 stars441 (27.0%)
5.00 stars198 (12.1%)

Average Rating: 3.89 stars 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2012 at 3:09am
One of my 0.5's is for a single, sorry I mean for a man who's a table. Another is for the album that spawned that single. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2012 at 3:38am
LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wilytank Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2012 at 9:02am
Originally posted by UMUR UMUR wrote:

Originally posted by adg211288 adg211288 wrote:

Yeah sometimes no matter how hard I look I can't find much to say about an album, especially ones I gave mid-range ratings to. 

Of course negative reviews are the hardest to write. But I think the important thing to remember is that honesty is the best approach, and in my experience artists appreciate that. It's definitely possible to write a negative review while being respectful. 

Actually thinking about it, on the talk of professionalism with reviews, I think that the ability to write a respectful negative review is about the ultimate test. 
 
Youīre damn right about that. Itīs extremely hard to write a negative review in a respectful manner. "ultimate reviewer test" is definitely the right term for it.

The problem with that is that often if it's an extremely negative view, you feel that the artist doesn't deserve respect.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2012 at 9:37am
Yeah and I would be lying if I didnīt admit that I find such reviews entertainingSmile, but they are not very respectful.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wilytank Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2012 at 8:37pm
Originally posted by UMUR UMUR wrote:

Yeah and I would be lying if I didnīt admit that I find such reviews entertainingSmile, but they are not very respectful.

The way I see it, if I'm supposed to write a respectful review, then the band needs to earn my respect.  If they make an album that I consider vapid, they have failed to earn my respect.  Thus, I cannot show respect in my review because there is no respect to show.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2012 at 8:22am
I haven't heard the album you linked to there, nor wish to for that matter, but for albums such as that it is hard to respect the artist. 

However I actually think your review for that album is about as respectful as you possibly could have been in that case. It's a well written review for something that clearly has no issues with not being respectful in its own right. Going out and intentionally making an album like that does not deserve respect IMO and it cases like this the review would be a lie if you didn't say exactly how you feel. 

When talking about do respectful negative reviews I'm not thinking of albums with no other intent than to shock with sick shit like that, if you'll pardon the unavoidable pun.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2012 at 9:28am
...well there are actually people out there who like music like that...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Time Signature Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2012 at 1:03pm
Originally posted by UMUR UMUR wrote:

...well there are actually people out there who like music like that...


And they're sick shits!

Nah, just kidding ;-)
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