Bright Eyes have a new album out - Cassadaga
. I'm not yet sure what to think of it, so I thought I'd let someone else make my mind up for me by reading a few reviews. The problem, I found, is that big-brand magazine reviews are often awful. So, I figured I'd review the reviews:
Because the album is, like all of Bright Eyes' albums, very much about the words. [...] he's got his guitar, his simple chords, his verses and choruses, to help him (and perhaps us) along.
A horribly bland review. Exhibits a complete lack of critical expression, leaving facile description in its place. Objective judgements are uniformly positive, but not too positive: that would require some sort of justification. The entire review might be replaced by the word 'nice' (or perhaps 'niceish').
Americanapolitan, let's call it. [...] As Oberst well knows, those with the gift of melody are allowed to tell us anything that's on their minds, and he hasn't stopped exploiting the privilege. [...] The gossip in us will wonder whether the unadorned finale addresses the same career woman, who has pretty clearly just aborted a fetus Oberst helped conceive.
Ugh. Strange, strange review. Whatever you might say about Oberst, he does not
have the gift of melody. Hell, he can't even sing. The review then goes on to mention E! and Oburst's fling with Winona Ryder. Seriously. I thought it was supposed to be an album review, but I'm sure that just shows how naïve I am.
Oberst, while retaining the feverish quaver that's become his calling card, finds more mannered ways to express emotion here than sliding in and out of key. [...] Political art is necessary given the current world climate, but empty rhetoric and moral superiority aren't going to do the trick. The simplistic, self-righteous thinking that's at the root of today's political impasses is exactly the sort of thinking Oberst engages in here.
A review that aims squarely where it should: at Oberst's talents as a lyricist. That's where to take him to task, if anywhere, because that's what he puts his weight behind. Proceeds to rip apart his 'thinking' which is nice, if pretentious. Pretty typical pitchfork fare really: they'd like it better if the band were a fashionable two piece - drums and whatever you like.
If you'd like to meta-meta-review my meta-review, here's a metacritic
page to work through. We'll see how long it takes to get a stack overflow.
If you'll indulge me a meta-review of metacritic, I can't believe the results for Neon Bible
vs We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
. I laughed at one reviewer calling Neon Bible "a musical version of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged". I guess that's not really Metacritic's fault but, still, fuck!