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Pitchfork Media is an online magazine which reviews and relays news concerning new music, with special attention to the indie circles. Pitchfork has achieved a reputation of being particularly snobbish and generally more concerned with the aesthetic quality of a review than with the actual discussion of the material in question, though it is my opinion that they are still a good place to look for information on pretty much anything even remotely indie or college-circuit (even if their reviews must occasionally be taken with a grain of salt).

For the purpose of proving objectively the tendency of many of their reviewers to ignore the subject matter entirely in their reviews, I have collected a few examples off the top of my head.

Joe Tangari's review of The Tyde's "Once" consists of a narrative describing he and two friends, on a camping trip, trying to smoke (what they discover to be) Portobella mushrooms. It's amusing. It keeps my attention. And it does actually describe several songs off the album, in between paragraphs of banter. That puts it above the average review, as far as relevancy goes, but you see the kind of nonsense that makes up the majority of the review.

The following is the beginning of Brent DiCrescenzo's review of the new White Stripes album "Elephant":

Church's Fried Chicken now sits at the crossroads of Highway 49 and Highway 61 in Clarksdale, Mississippi like an unaware, prefabricated neon mausoleum. While you can no longer barter your soul to Beelzebub for guitar-picking prowess, The Man will gladly exchange your eternal being for a place on the fryer and a hairnet. Or one may just opt for the Sweet Biscuit Crunchers and some Purple Pepper Sauce for a dollar. The tragicomic irony of a fast food joint squatting on the Valhalla of Delta Blues out-tarnishes our collective lore more than the Bus Stop of Gethsemane and adjoining Mount of Olives Hotel. And when you toss one of those sugary Sweet Biscuit Crunchers or gooey Honey-Butter Biscuits into your fat maw, you can let your mind drift to the thinly veiled sexual euphemisms of the blues, where biscuit almost certainly means "vagina."

Okay. He was getting to a point. It didn't occur in the first paragraph, of course--no, here he was just setting the scene. By the end of the similarly-lengthed second paragraph, he namedrops a song title from the album. This is good, it means he's going to get somewhere, eventually. It takes a long, long time however.

The reviews you find at Pitchfork are often very entertaining and intelligent, but you will sometimes be cheated out of a review as a result. And sometimes they aren't even that entertaining, but merely pretentious. There are better examples than these, but these come to mind most easily, and I think they verify the main complaint I tend to hear about Pitchfork's reviews--namely, that they don't tend to include reviews.


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