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dunkelheit616
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:26 pm
Posts: 69
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 2:56 pm 
 

I was looking at the rules for reviews on this site, I guess most people have read these. There is a part that says to avoid track-by-track reviews.

Quote:
In some very rare cases, track-by-track reviews could be appropriate. For albums with short numbers of tracks, this is not a problem. But generally speaking, these reviews are very lacking in content, poorly written, and reek of vapid amateurism. They are also usually very uninteresting reads. Please try to avoid them as much as possible.


I joined this site recently and decided to write my first and only review in a track-by-track format to see if I could get 5 points (a futile attempt indeed). But I failed at this, probably because of this rule, only getting 3 points in the process. Then again, I probably fell into the category of 'vapid amateurism' hehe.

Anyway, I'd like to know what your opinions are on these types of reviews. Do you really care about reading them? Surely they're not that bad to make a rule against them. I know I have read some reviews where users have talked about 2 or 3 tracks and spent most of the time waffling about the album in general which doesn't say much for me. I just personally like to know what the content is throughout the songs, talking about the instruments, techniques, atmosphere and best parts etc. In my opinion its more interesting to read about individual songs rather than make statements and throw a song title in in relation. But judging from this rule I must be a minority in my thoughts here.

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Apteronotus
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:07 am
Posts: 851
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 5:02 pm 
 

dunkelheit616 wrote:
I just personally like to know what the content is throughout the songs, talking about the instruments, techniques, atmosphere and best parts etc. In my opinion its more interesting to read about individual songs rather than make statements and throw a song title in in relation. But judging from this rule I must be a minority in my thoughts here.


I prefer reading reviews where the reviewer has created a synthesis of thoughts on how the album as a whole sounds and reading the author's reaction to that sound and see examples. If a band chooses to release a work as an album rather than a series of singles then I think it should be judged as such. I like reviews to be more than just a buying guide so I want to hear what reviewer reacted to and also obviously a description more than a narration of what happens in the music. While some might say its not as necessary to describe the music in the age of downloading, I still think it is important because I need to know how it sounded to that reviewer. If a person is merely reciting track by track what happened it is more like a news reporter than a news commentator and reviews are more like commentary. Ergo, I don't like track-by-track reviews.

My opinion probably comes from what I am used to academically - make a statement or some analysis and support that with examples. When talking about instruments, techniques, and atmosphere I find it much more logical to say something like there was palm muting at x, y, and z; spooky atmosphere during points 1 and two; and the vocals sometimes sucked like here, here, and here. That makes way more sense to me than describing things track by track.

At the risk of sounding obsequious, I find the current rule to be well thought out. In the collective experience of the people behind reading and accepting 65,000+ reviews for this website they have found that track by track generally doesn't work. The rule isn't a complete prohibition, and even offers a class of albums for which the rule would not apply - albums with few tracks.
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dystopia4
Veteran

Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 3504
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 11:42 pm 
 

Apteronotus wrote:
dunkelheit616 wrote:
At the risk of sounding obsequious, I find the current rule to be well thought out. In the collective experience of the people behind reading and accepting 65,000+ reviews for this website they have found that track by track generally doesn't work. The rule isn't a complete prohibition, and even offers a class of albums for which the rule would not apply - albums with few tracks.


Definitely This. Track by tracks are generally annoying, I think describing the album as a whole is a much better way to do it, while maybe going into detail with a few highlight tracks. Even on releases with few songs, I find its often not necessary to do track by tracks, unless the songs sound pretty different from each other. The only track by track review I've done on an album with a normal amount of songs is Skyclad's 2009 album, which was one of my first reviews. Its probably the worse review I've done (and I'm going to redo it once I get around to it), much worse than my other reviews that were written around the same time. L'acephale's "Malefeasance" (which I will hopefully have reviewed by the end of this week) is an example of where I think its probably alright to do a track by track. The album features only 6 songs, and they all sound nothing like each other.

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androdion
Metal freak

Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:34 am
Posts: 4778
Location: Portugal
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 7:07 am 
 

What the rules say about track-by track reviews has mainly to do with reviews like this:

"So album has x tracks and all... Track 1 is like this, track 2 like that, etc."

I've actually written some reviews on full albums where I cover all the tracks, which I'll usually do if they have something like 5 songs only. I do this as well when reviewing demos or EPs because it's normally such a small piece of work that there's not that much to describe, so picking one or two tracks feels like too little.

Now it all comes down as to how you write a review that talks about all tracks, taking the example of a 5 song album for instance. If you describe the album in an engaging manner and then insert some commentaries relative to each and every track, as if the reader was himself listening through the album and reading the review at the same time and understanding your feelings about it, then it becomes an engaging reading and actually works. Now of course no one wants to read through a review like the example I gave above because it's just a "flat" description with no emotion at all.

But bear in mind that everyone reads and writes in different ways, so what's valid and true for one may not be to another. The mods however won't give you a hard time if your writing is an engaging reading, no matter how many songs you describe.
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Panflute
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:11 am
Posts: 448
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 1:17 pm 
 

As the previous poster said, it's okay to write a review in which you end up covering all the tracks, as long as it is presented in a logical, well-structured fashion. I think the main problem lies with checklist reviews that just describe each song separately, without there being any sort of connection between 'paragraphs' (if you may even classify them as such). These reviews are much less interesting to read, not only because of their complete lack of synthesis, but also due to the fact that many of these reviews just describe what these songs sound like (as if I don't have ears myself) instead of going into what makes them good or bad. It's like reviewing a film by shortly describing the plot in the style of an amateurishly written DVD backflap.
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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
Posts: 4012
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 7:15 pm 
 

What I always try to do is start with the good songs and explain what's good about them before moving onto the bad songs and explaining what's bad about them (or vice-versa if the album is bad; start with the bad, end with the good). I think the only album where I've done a track-by-track review in order was for Krypteria's All Beauty Must Die, and it was in a cautious "okay, so far so good" kind of way.
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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 4840
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 8:32 pm 
 

Track-by-track reviews generally get to be painful to read somewhere around 5-6 tracks. It's important to describe the album as a whole if possible, and use track-by-track details as a secondary description if possible. Consider what your insights offer to a reader:

-If someone hasn't heard an album, it is more important to describe the album as a whole rather than the differences between each track.
-If someone has heard the album, the review should offer some insight rather than general descriptions of the tracks.

An appropriate album where track-by-track supplements an overall description would be Bongripper's "Satan Worshipping Doom" where each of the four tracks differ and can stand somewhat on their own. Demos with 3-4 tracks could go either way, some demos have a lot of similarities between tracks, some are wildly variant and might be best described with insight into each track. If there's more than 5-6 tracks and you feel like you need to describe each track individually, it will usually be much more readable to highlight the inconsistency/diversity of the album and crunch it down to generalize about the album as a whole a bit more.

The amateur nature of track-by-track reviews tends to be when someone types a stream of thought without much reflection on the music, just passing thoughts and general descriptions. If you are going to describe each track individually, your review should be a capable supplement for each one you describe, which is a difficult method to succeed with.

Sometimes you can cover ten tracks by only describing four songs, like I did here:
http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/R ... Zodijackyl

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John_Sunlight
President Satan

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 4680
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 12:57 am 
 

People ask this so often. Forget it. I hereby declare track-by-track reviews banned forever.

I have no authority here whatsoever.
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Metalhead1995
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:34 pm
Posts: 50
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:10 pm 
 

Track-by-track reviews can be good for me, if I'm looking for the reviewer's opinion on a certain song. Like if there's a review for an album that I have only heard one song off of, I tend to skim through to see if they stated their opinion on that one song to see if I'm listening to the 'right' part of the album. Eventually, I'll come back and read the whole thing, though.
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Grave_Wyrm
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 2060
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:02 am 
 

John_Sunlight wrote:
I hereby declare track-by-track reviews banned forever.

I have no authority here whatsoever.

*Magic wand sputters. John shakes wand .. shakes again. Tony takes wand.*

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