Oct 16, 2007

Is Person Pitch The Greatest Album Of 2007?; Pitchfork Thinks So, Debate!; And A Quick Peek Into The Future

Reviews and ratings. Opinions and ideas. We all have them and they are equally valid. Despite the sometimes shrill objections to Pitchfork reviews, I think on the whole they are generally well thought out and considered. Do I agree with them all? No. Are they sometimes obtuse and pretentious? Yes. Do they often favour pure experimentalism over pure song writing? Definitely. But, in the end they are just opinions and they often hit the mark and create debate. Just today they gave "In Rainbows" a 9.3. As I have stated I think the praise generally for this record is a little over the top. I like it but it's not making me need to return to it continually. I would say it is over rated, but I often think people misconstrue that phrase. You can still like something, but say it is over rated. I think that just means you think general public perception is way too high. So I went through the Pitchfork files and have compiled a list of the top scores given out through the year. I used 8.5 as a starting point. Panda Bear's "Person Pitch" is so far the top score and I can't disagree with that, as I believe it to be a sublime work of artistic genius. As there are no more major releases on the horizon, it might stay at the top. You can probably guess my number one record of the year (hint: it's Canadian) but "Person Pitch" will rank extremely highly. There are plenty of fine albums that scored between 7.5 and 8.5 including "Neon Bible" and some albums that I love I think are under rated, especially "Plague Park" (7.2, this must be a joke). Also every album I review or listen to are ones I bought, so there are always plenty of albums that I haven't listened to. And might never get around to.

So a list of the top scores so far in 2007 (my thoughts in brackets)

9.4 Person Pitch-Panda Bear (spot on)
9.3 Strawberry Jam-Animal Collective (spot on)
9.3 In Rainbows-Radiohead (too high)
9.2 Sound of Silver-LCD Soundsystem (too high)
9.1 Mirrored-Battles (too high)
9.0 Night Falls Over Kortedala-Jens Lekman (no idea)
9.0 From Here We Go Sublime-The Field (no idea)
8.9 Kala-M.I.A. (no idea)
8.9 Friend Opportunity-Deerhoof (way too high)
8.9 Cryptograms-Deerhunter (no idea)
8.8 The Reminder-Feist (about right)
8.8 Fluorescent Grey EP-Deerhunter (no idea)
8.7 The Stage Names-Okkervil River (about right)
8.7 Graduation-Kanye West (absolutely no idea)
8.7 Spiderman of The Rings-Dan Deacon (no idea)
8.7 Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band EP-Joanna Newsom (a little high)
8.7 Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?-Of Montreal (too high)
8.6 Boxer-The National (too low)
8.6 The Shepherd's Dog-Iron & Wine (a little high)
8.6 Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters-The Twilight Sad (too high)
8.6 You Follow Me-Nina Nastasia & Jim White (no idea, but I want to buy this)
8.6 And Their Refinement of the Decline-Stars of the Lid (no idea)
8.5 Random Spirit Lover-Sunset Rubdown (way too low)
8.5 Liars-Liars (a little high)
8.5 Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga-Spoon (too low)
8.5 Wild Mountain Nation-Blitzen Trapper (about right)
8.5 Return of the Mac-Prodigy (Mobb Deep) (absolutely no idea)
8.5 Friend and Foe-Menomena (too low)
8.5 Disco Romance-Sally Shapiro (huh?)
8.5 Tears of the Valedictorian-Frog Eyes (a little low)

Well, that is a lot of "no ideas" and I buy a hell of a lot of music. My thoughts on the year will be revealed in December. And I think it has been an amazing year in music.

The future...
As said before I don't see any major releases for the rest of the year, although I still have CDs on order that I haven't listened to yet. Including albums by Two Gallants, Deer Tick and a few others. Here are some albums that might interest in the upcoming months and some monster releases that we can anticipate in 2008...
October 2007
Hello, Avalanche-The Octopus Project
Little Amber Bottles-Blanche
Smith-Tokyo Police Club
November 2007
Hvarf/Heim-Sigur Ros
Shelter From The Ash-Six Organs of Admittance

Covers II-Cat Power
The Bedlam in Goliath-The Mars Volta
Do You Like Rock Music?-British Sea Power
Heartland-Final Fantasy
(Untitled)-Stephen Malkmus
In The Future-Black Mountain
(Untitled)-The Mountain Goats
(Untitled)-Wolf Parade


  • At October 17, 2007 , Blogger James said...

    Good post Wayne - I agree with a lot of your assessments on those albums, and a lot of my year end contenders are there. I'm surprised Feist is as high as it is, as I think that record has a few GREAT singles but a lot of really boring stuff too. Same with LCD soundsystem.

    A few of my favorites this year haven't been reviewed by Pfork - AA Bondy, The National Lights, and The Roadside Graves come to mind.
    Actually the graves were - i think they scored a 7.5 or so.

    Totally agree on handsome furs - that ma be in my top5. sunset rubdown i'm not so sure about though. :~)

  • At October 17, 2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    there is a much talked about album yet to come this year by Yeasayer- and I am intrigued how it will fair. When I first heard 2080 I thought it was a great single and the rest would never match it as is usual with a new band... and turns out what I've heard from the rest of the album isn't too far behind it...

    and btw- i also totally agree about he handsome furs...

  • At October 17, 2007 , Anonymous Jonny Polaroids said...

    Yeh.. we recently wrote some code to order the reviews on our site by rating - http://polaroidsofandroids.com/reviews/archives/rating/- i was surprised to see how high some things 'ranked'.

    I often think reviews are snapshots of how you felt about a record at the time and not necessary something that should last forever.

    That said I think reviews should be taken generally as one person (or group's) opinion - people will disagree and discuss their view and that's what I think is great about the open forum that we call 'the internet'.

  • At October 17, 2007 , Anonymous James S said...

    I just got onto Two Gallants. Took a little while but I dig their laid back sounds quite a lot.

    And having heard In rainbows constantly, I think 9.3 isn't all that unjustified.

  • At October 17, 2007 , Blogger Lawson said...

    Great post, shored up some really interesting things. I wonder if this is how P4K actually compile their end of year lists, if so it seems kind of redundant them even bothering. I suppose it also shows the uselessness of quantitatively ordered lists.

    I mostly agree with your assessments, except: Radiohead sits deservedly where it is, if only in considering the legacy of that band and the fact they've managed to make a record that equals their previous output and yet takes it in new places; and Of Montreal is definitely not too high, that's probably the best pop album of the year (except maybe Klaxons...).

    Definitly agree Menomena is too low there, and I'd suggest you do check out Deerhunter's album (ignore the publicity around the crazy frontman) - it's great.

  • At October 17, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Thanks for all the comments, nothing better then discussing music and at the end of the day, it's just differing opinions-

    James-Don't know why P'fork hasn't reviewed AA Bondy. Plague Park is amazing, def top 5 for me.

    Anon- Have heard a lot about Yeasayer, has me intrigued.

    Jonny-Wholeheartedly agree with everything you said.

    James S- Two Gallants are great, would love to see them live. And still not feeling Radiohead in a major way.

    Lawson-I honestly believe Radiohead's legacy is causing people to be blindly in love with In Rainbows. I actually think it sounds a little dated, no new ideas for me. I am sorry, Of Montreal just do nothing for me. Much prefer Menomena. I WILL check out Deerhunter for sure.

    Am looking forward to everyone's thoughts at the end of the year. I still believe 2007 has been a great and exciting year for music.

  • At October 20, 2007 , Blogger Rachel said...

    I rarely agree wwith P4K's ratings and I certainly don't agree with Person Pitch being spot on...They need to dig a bit deeper.

    Great post Wayne!

  • At November 02, 2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    dude, whats your fascination with pitchfork. their reviews are obviously influenced by so many outside factors than simply the music. person pitch, strawberry jam, and random spirit lover are the best albums of the year in my opinion, and honestly they would be whether pitchfork gave them a 2.3 or a 10.

    i guess you're an accountant, so maybe you're just a sucker for numbers...

  • At April 09, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    person pitch should be higher - it might be the greatest album ever

    battles should be one tenth of a point behind it (best live show, musicianship-wise, i have ever seen)

    and boxer next in line

    deerhoof stuff - i just don't get it - i do have the mad-cow, so...


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