Most magazines and internet outlets that review albums assign them a star rating. Most of these star ratings are far too high. Flick through the pages or screens of any of them and they will be littered with four and five star reviews and 9/10s. Common sense will tell you that the chances of say twenty five star singer-songwriter albums being released in a month, let alone every month, is vanishingly small. But there the reviews are.
Much as PRs and artists might like this, as it gives them great publicity material, it’s a disaster for the music fan. When a genuinely great album is released how will they know when all the stars and superlatives have been used up on lesser works? It’s not great for the honest writer either. Give an album three stars and it slips beneath the radar, mark it up to get it noticed and you’re part of the problem.
A lot of these reviews are written by amateurs, hard core music fans, frequently for no payment. That’s all very admirable and they are an essential part of the system. But quite a few of them should take a long hard look at what they write and ask themselves “is this really a five star album?” Most of the time it won’t be.