Reviews turning into label promo and site filler?

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  • Problem
  • Updated 6 years ago
  • Acknowledged
Reviewer Matt Rinaldini's rap album reviews seem more like advertising for the labels than actual reviews. Here are examples of reviews where the album and its tracks are not disected one bit and not much more than a list of album features are listed.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/dedicat...
http://www.allmusic.com/album/hi-powe...
http://www.allmusic.com/album/represe...
http://www.allmusic.com/album/money-p...
http://www.allmusic.com/album/dedicat...

I love reading the reviews and I would much rather see an in-depth review than a one-sheet-type promotion.
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Orange Pilon

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Posted 6 years ago

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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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You may be on to something, Albert.
These reviews from 5 years ago may indeed need to be updated. It looks like we may have created pre-release previews for these and then never replaced them with full reviews.

I'm not sure how much immediate attention we will be able to pay to these older titles but we have processes in place today to make sure that new reviews are updated.

I'll pass this along to our editorial team and see if they can update these.

Zac
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Orange Pilon

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Thank you for taking it into consideration.
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rootsmusic

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Zac, your "processes" don't seem to be working with every new release that's rated. See blurb at http://www.allmusic.com/album/kiko-li... and no review for rating at http://www.allmusic.com/album/mermaid... (the latter example could have been caught by my idea at https://getsatisfaction.com/allmusic/... )
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Chrysta Cherrie

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Hi Rootsmusic,
The processes that Zac mentions pull in new reviews as they become available. Looking at the different releases of both of those albums, I do not see a full review linked to any of them. That tells me that the editors at our data provider have not yet been able to provide more than headline reviews. I will suggest that they consider giving these titles proper reviews, or failing that a description.

Thanks.
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johnbush360

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Cool, thanks for these -- the Los Lobos piece was misidentified as a full review, and once we get it fixed, the review below will start displaying as it should've originally (apologies).

On the Wilco, we'll definitely get this one covered -- should've been a gimme, but I think the release may have been delayed?

Regardless, thanks for pointing them out.

Best,
John

Los Lobos' 1992 album Kiko was a remarkable step forward for a band that was already considered one of the best roots rock acts in America; while Kiko was an outstanding set of songs from a group of gifted and perceptive musicians, it also found Los Lobos working with a producer who encouraged them to explore the possibilities of the recording process in a fresh new way, and the album's sonics were a very large part of what made it so striking. So an album in which Los Lobos play Kiko's 16 songs on-stage in front of a live audience must contend with the fact the studio craft that played a significant role in making Kiko so memorable is simply not going to be part of the package. Thankfully, while many acts who re-create their albums live go to great lengths to mimic the studio creation as closely as possible, Los Lobos are smart enough to know Kiko Live isn't going to be the same animal as the original album, and on these recordings, they subtly reshape the songs and their arrangements to better suit a live performance. Los Lobos have no trouble making this concert (recorded in San Diego in 2006) sound as tight and well-focused as the original studio recordings, but for this concert, they found new shapes and textures in the dynamics of these songs that are simpler but still effective; here "Peace" builds from a quiet opening to a roaring finale, "Just a Man" is leaner and bluesier, "Rio de Tenampa" is less chaotic and more graceful in its waltz-time drift, and the interplay between the percussion loops and the musicians on "Angels with Dirty Faces" is more organic and adds to the song's musical and lyrical tension. Also, the musicians approach the songs with an extra dose of sweat and passion, exchanging the cool surfaces of the studio sessions with the fire of a top-notch live band in full flight. And Kiko Live also gives David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas plenty of extra room to stretch out on their guitars, and while more soloing might not have made the original album better, the extended jamming on these versions of "Wicked Rain" and "That Train Don't Stop Here" is well worth hearing. Kiko Live won't (and shouldn't) take the place of the classic 1992 studio album, but it shows Los Lobos take a more intelligent approach to the gambit of playing a classic album on-stage than most bands, and the more streamlined interpretations are a reminder that a set of great songs played well by a fine band is the heart of what makes most albums great, even more than a cool drum sound. ~ Mark Deming
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Chrysta Cherrie

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Hi Albert,
I would also note that not all documents flagged as "review" on the site are created equal. Like Zac said, we write pre-release descriptions for many titles, plus for titles that have been released but we don't have the resources to dive into as deeply though we'd like to cover on some level we'll do something that's sort of a cross between a description and a review, with shorter word count and less critique. Generally if you run into a review that is very short or less in-depth it's because it's one of these cases.

And it's worth mentioning that while most documents from the very early AllMusic days have been updated with more fully realized pieces, you may still run into the occasional paragraph- or sentence-length review that way (e.g., http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-rea... or http://www.allmusic.com/album/hit-the...). If you spot one of those, you can always let us know by emailing support@allmusic.com and we'll forward it to our editors for consideration.

Thanks!
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Orange Pilon

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Thanks for the response, I appreciate the rundown of this process. I think it would be good to implement a system that can let people know when a review is a review or just a preview. Thanks, I'll keep the email on hand.