Friday, February 22, 2008

Entertainment criticism at it's finest

Gawker is reporting that in the March issue of Maxim writer David Peisner reviews the new Black Crowes album, "Warpaint." The verdict: Two and a half stars, out of five. The problem though, is that the band never sent out pre-release copies of the album for "review" so it's not actually possible that Peisner could have heard it before inking his critique. Apparently, when the label contacted Maxim to ask "WTF?" they received the following response, "Of course, we always prefer to (sic) hearing music, but sometimes there are big albums that we don't want to ignore that aren't available to hear, which is what happened with the Crowes. It's either an educated guess preview or no coverage at all, so in this case we chose the former."

Here's the text of that "educated guess preview"

"The Black Crowes already sounded like grizzled classic rockers on their 1990 debut. While it certainly was a neat trick for a bunch of wasted twenty-somethings to pull off, it hasn't left Chris Robinson and the gang much room for growth. Now that they're legitimately grizzled, they sound pretty much like they always have: boozy, competent, and in slavish debt to the Stones, the Allmans, and the Faces."

Brilliant! If only all criticism were so easy. And this is for music criticism, which let's face it, is pretty fucking easy in the grand scheme of things. CDs rarely clock in at more than an hour, and they don't really require your undivided attention. With all the bullshit that games reviewers have to put up with, you'd hope this would put things into perspective a bit. Whether you agree with what's said about games, at least you can usually trust that the reviewer turned the damn thing on and tried it. But why do that when Maxim does this? Let's start reviewing games this way, huh?

Super Smash Bros. Brawl comes out in a few weeks. Let's review it in a Peisner-stylee, shall we?

"Let's face it, the last Super Smash Bros. game involved a lot of Nintendo characters hitting each other in a variety of game-themed environments. Nintendo's creative team had already established a premise that proved extremely popular. In Brawl they return to this same theme, and do little more than add more characters, more moves, and make the graphics look nicer."

Easy! And I didn't even have to bother finding a copy, or wasting my time playing it, or bothering to learn anything about it.
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