Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

And you thought they didn’t make ‘em like this anymore?

Over the last few weeks, regular chuckles have been provided by reviews of the new album from Richard Ashcroft & The United Nations of Sound. With one or two exceptions (Brian Boyd in our place, for instance), the album has …

Thu, Jul 29, 2010, 10:07

   

Over the last few weeks, regular chuckles have been provided by reviews of the new album from Richard Ashcroft & The United Nations of Sound. With one or two exceptions (Brian Boyd in our place, for instance), the album has received the kind of kicking usually reserved for your very worst enemy or local Fianna Fail hack. Just even take a look-see at the pull-out quotes which Any Decent Music have gathered from reviews of the album and have a giggle. The consensus is that it’s a dog of a record.

Surely, says OTR, it can’t be that bad. Surely, thinks OTR, Ashcroft is getting it in the neck for other reasons (people don’t like his hair or something). Surely, wonders OTR, this album which has received the full promotional nine yards from the record label must have some redeeming qualities.

Sweet suffering Jaysus, that’s an hour of my life I will never get back. It’s easily one of the most hideous, unimaginative, unlistenable, pompous, overblown, grotesque albums I’ve ever had to endure and that includes most of The Cranberries’ back-catalogue. And let’s not even go anywhere near Ashcroft’s lyrics. I’m assuming well-regarded hip-hop producer No ID got paid handsomely for his efforts because he sure didn’t involve in this one for any musical reasons. What a turnip of an album.

It reminds me that sometimes it’s worth listening to the wisdom of crowds. After all, if the massed gallery of reviewers give an album a good kicking, that’s worth taking to the bank. It’s not as if those critics did a Pitchfork and decided in advance what the review and rating was going to be – yes, I know many music fans think reviewers decide these things at some sort of annual dinner-dance but if they do, no-one has ever invited me along to said soiree.

And it also works when the thumbs go up rather than down. One of the best reviewed albums right now on Any Decent Music is Janelle Monae’s fantastic record “The ArchAndroid”. With the exception of Mojo (I think the reviewer must have got the wrong CD), it’s rave after rave after rave, scoring mostly 8s, 9s and 10s. If you took this collective wisdom as a recommendation to buy the album, you’d probably be very happy with your purchase. Maybe – just maybe – we can trust some of the reviewers, right?

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