Yesterday, a number of blogs and message board posts praised Pitchfork's "review" of Jet's new album, Shine On. What was the line used over and over again? Best Review Ever (as posted on a number of sites like We Shot JR, Good Hodgkins, the SOMB). What was so great about it? Well, instead of a rating or any text, it's just a clip of a chimp drinking its own urine. Tee-hee, haa-haa, right? Not to me.
Pitchfork has had its fair share of intentionally funny reviews, like Nick Sylvester's write-up on Audioslave's Out of Exile. Personally, I don't get a strong sense of satisfaction with these kinds of reviews. I make no bones about how goofy terrible bands like Panic! At the Disco and Hawthorne Heights are. Yet if I'm going to take the time to talk down about them, I can't just post a clip or snarky comment and expect people to get what I mean.
I remember a review that ran in Guitar World years ago for Iron Maiden's live album, A Real Dead One. Giving it one star, the reviewer simply wrote, "No argument here." Funny stuff? Kinda, but as proven over and over again, this kind of stuff is more or less just tacky amusement. I like a good laugh, but don't really go looking for one in a music review.
I think about my friend Geoff's site, Monsters of MySpace. I really enjoy it because he usually goes beyond a sentence or two to make a funny remark about a band. Listing stuff like "unlisted influences," his satire is biting and effective at the same time. Listing Hoobastank's unlisted influences as "assembly lines. cookie cutters. androids," I think that stuff is really funny. There is a great context to what he's trying to say and makes himself abundantly clear.
Yes, this is just a matter of personal taste, but I wonder why waste time taking small swipes at something I don't like. I'd much rather talk about something I really like, but I can't help calling out stupid, moronic stuff too.