Recent Rerating Enquiry

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  • Updated 5 years ago
Several of the downratings recently given to albums seem bizzare. In particular, the changes made to 'Cosmogramma' by Flying Lotus, plus 'There's Nothing Wrong with Love' and 'Keep It a Secret' by Built to Spill were quite unconventional. In each case, those changes were made while reviews for the most recent release of their respective artists were being updated on to site.

Please can you find out whether these changes were a conscious decision taken by the editorial staff or whether they were mistakes made by the administrators while applying updates to the discographies.
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Oli

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Posted 5 years ago

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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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It is important to note that we rate albums within the scope of an artist's own work -- we try to only compare an album to other albums by the same artist. We won't compare a Miles Davis album to the latest album by Britney Spears.

In this way, the editors may choose to revisit an artist's discography, especially if an artist releases a great new album, to re-factor the earlier releases to better fit within the band's history.

For example: in 1993 an editor may have given Radiohead's "Pablo Honey" four-and-a-half stars when it came out, being one of the best Britpop albums to date. As time goes on and Radiohead releases The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, etc, Pablo Honey may not warrant being the highest-rated album in their discography anymore.  The text of the review is still valid but within the band's history, the older rating gets adjusted.
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Oli

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So it's an editorial decision, that's disappointing to learn. I've long been a fan of the impartial rating system used by AllMusic and generally respect your reviewer's judgements, even where I'd disagreed with them.

However, as a site that is a guide to amateur music fans, I'd hope that if your editorial team decided at a later date to overrule a reviewers initial decision and re-rate an album that the rating would be more aligned with a more popular view held on it, not one that strays further away from it. Your example of 'Pablo Honey' falls very much in line with what the majority of Radiohead listeners would agree upon - that it's a good album but it is not as remarkable as the albums that followed it.

The same cannot be said for either the downgraded Built to Spill albums or 'Cosmogramma'. In fact, Cosmogramma is often considered to nominally be the best Flying Lotus album to date. Below are two links to support this claim. The first is from a website dedicated to collating data from music critics, to help form a critical overview of the most highly rated album (and singles) releases. The second link is for a popular metadata database where its members can rate music releases. In both cases, Cosmogramma is the highest valued album in Flying Lotus' discography so far:

http://www.acclaimedmusic.net/Current/Flying%20Lotus.htm
http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/flying_lotus

And here are the results if we looked at Built to Spill's discography:
http://www.acclaimedmusic.net/Current/Built%20to%20Spill.htm
http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/built_to_spill

Furthermore, as of typing this AllMusic's own user ratings are just as supportive of how well these albums are appreciated within their artists' respective discographies.

There is much to admire about the work done at AllMusic but some of these recent re-ratings make me wonder whether the process is decided in a recklessly arbitrary manner upon an individual reviewer's whim, rather than examined and discussed by an editorial team in a way the music deserves.
(Edited)