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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ground Breaking: Maxim Magazine Doesn't Practice High Journalistic Standards

So I was going to post about The Black Crowes new album "Warpaint." I'm currently into my first listen of the album, and it is pretty solid. It's a dirty stomp through Southern Rock and Americana. It's certainly their best album since "Amorica;" it's a spirited romp in dirty rock and roll. I also understand that no one that contributes to this blog really cares either way, but the Crowes are one of my favorite bands ever, and I was excited that they came out with a really solid new album.

That said, I did a Google search for "The Black Crowes," simply to find the "Warpaint" cover art. Instead, I found this article from Entertainment Weekly regarding a review that Maxim gave on the album (a 2.5 star rating). Problem is, Maxim never heard the album.

It caught us off guard. The [band's] publicist called and told me that there was a disparaging review in Maxim. And I thought, ''Well, that's not possible because we haven't issued any music, so I'd like to know how that came about.'' Of course, the initial explanation was that it was an ''educated guess.'' In the music business, a fabricated review is a serious concern that may ultimately harm all artists, because it calls into question the credibility of the entire review process. - Pete Angeles, The Black Crowes manager

How fucked is that? You can leave whatever snarky quote you want about The Black Crowes, but how messed up is that a major magazine (however embarrassing it is to admit that Maxim is a "major magazine") publishes reviews based strictly on what they kind of anticipate what they might think of the album. What if this album was a classic? What if The Black Crowes came out of the studio with a total masterwork that one day we would look back and tell our kids "that was our generation's 'Abbey Road.'? Again, take the band out of the equation here. Just imagine that the perfect album was made, but it happened to be made by a band that was seemingly washed up...what if one of the most widely-read magazines in America slammed it, because they assumed a washed-up band couldn't possibly release a relevant album?

I know it goes without saying, but Maxim magazine is an embarrassment, and they simply shouldn't get away with the bullshit they publish every month (hey reader--we assume you're dumb enough to think that lingerie pictures and cocaine jokes are pretty awesome!). I guess it's nice to see another fairly major publication call them out on it.

What do you think?

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Goddamn it, I cannot get this formatted correctly.

After "The Black Crowes manager," it's just me ranting. Just in case you can't figure that out on your own.
Maxim claimed that it was a "preview" instead of a "review". Unfortunately, when you're a worthless publication like Maxim you don't realize that putting a star rating on a preview turns it into a review. Way to justify being morons though. Worst defense ever.
I always find reviews tough to trust anyway. A great number of albums only get better with multiple listens. I often make snap judgements on albums only to have my opinion shift after listening to an album for a while. You have to figure that these reviewers are listening to the album once maybe twice before writing their review. I also always feel like reviews snowball. After a major publication has a good review of something, all subsiquent reviews suffer from at least a little bias. The "well if he said it's good than it must be" syndrome.

That said, it makes them even more untrustworthy if stuff like this - fake reviews -- is happening out there. Eventhough Maxim is hardly trustworthy, it doen't mean that their questionable practices are unique to their publication.

And like the brotha said, when you attach stars to something it doesn't matter if it is a preview, review or pretty decoration. People assume you rating the album based on person experience, not anticipation.
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