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Cut copy free your mind

Free Your Mind

Cut Copy - 2013

I am vehemently against half star reviews. It’s a supreme copout to use a half star. Reviewers attach half stars to circumvent the cold truth because the half star is an altogether pathetic addendum. The half star is an embarrassing decimal that either winks, nods, or shrugs its way out of a tricky situation. Half stars are the twenty somethings that fear commitment. They are the reason you don’t believe politicians. Take Rolling Stone and Spin for example. They have awarded 3 AND A HALF stars to most every album they’ve reviewed for the past decade. We can easily infer from such consistency that these cowards use the half star as a safe bet. “It’s a good album” (unless it sells well!). Having said all of this, I’m awarding Cut Copy’s ‘Free Your Mind’ a rating of three and a half stars. I know, I know. Bloody hypocrite. The fact is that this is a solid three star album. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the chances are that you might thoroughly enjoy this love note to Acid House from the Aussie synth-poppers. Yes, it’s rather heavy handed and you feel you’re somehow betraying a New Order record while listening to ‘Let Me Show You Love’. Granted, it’s a bit long and the group merely supplement their own brand of bouncy rock with nostalgic touches on this record but there’s something far more important at play here. As you might of guessed, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Cut Copy or their latest release. The vile point five rating that I give here has to do with me. You see, I used to have the rare ability to decide the value of an album within eight bars. I could determine the validity and importance of an entire record before the first chorus. Unfortunately, I lost this skill somewhere along the way. Nowadays, I seem to recognize the design. I somehow appreciate the ambition. I may even applaud the effort. This is tragic, I know! It was so much more efficient to write off an album that didn’t instantly fulfill me! It was such a relief to disregard a record that didn’t immediately smack of greatness. The fact is though that Cut Copy did their homework for this album. Their samples and references aren’t there by mistake. They worked hard to assemble a playlist that transports the listener back to the raves of the early 90’s. This may not be your preferred Ground Hog Day experience and yet you can’t ignore the passion in these tunes. It’s clear that the young Australians have a deep love for a particular musical time and it’s that dedication to a teenage feeling that pushes yours truly to offer a dreaded half star review. Now, don’t let this fractional folly confuse you. This is not the start of half star reviews from C. Scott. The latest Pearl Jam album does not now nor should it ever warrant a 2.5 star rating. Oh, and for those of you confused here’s a little review; 1-Poor, 2-Fair, 3-Good, 4-Great, 5-Classic. As it was so shall it be oh well whatever nevermind.

Posted by C. Scott

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Comments

Wow! Only now have I discovered this wonderful conversation! (Perhaps it's time for some sort of notification system on this website, ahem!) Glad my review could spark this debate!

Posted about 5 years ago by Dsc 0563C. Scott

I will give you my argument for half star reviews, but first I will say that it has always driven me nuts how you immediately create an opinion of an album after less than one listen. (It's my problem, not yours, and I need to get over it) Secondly, I agree that the Rolling Stones of the world throw out star ratings with the intention of pleasing someone. (readers, artists, labels) Ok, so half stars.....here's my thinking. I agree 100% with your grading of 5- classic, 4- great, 3-good, etc. Now, within that grading system I have examples in my mind. Assuming that a 5 star album is "Dark Side", "Abbey Road", etc., few will be able to make that level. (I think we agree here) Now some albums that I know you and I hold in very, very, high regard like, "Sea Change", "Fox Confessor", & "Mule Variations", I think warrant a special recognition for not just being great. In every given year there will be 5-6 of your top ten albums that are 4 stars. Do you think each year there are 5-6 albums as good as "Sea Change"? That's why I give a 4 1/2 star rating. Getting a 91 on a math test is not the same as getting a 98.

Posted about 5 years ago by TambegifTambe

I'm the complete opposite when it comes to deciding the value of an album. I love the process of listening to something over and over again to see how it grows on me. Don't get me wrong, I usually can tell right away if something is poorly produced, overdone, or just crap in general.. but I've experienced a lot of "eh" albums that eventually turned in to "whoa" albums after repetitive listens. I can't imagine how many 3 or 4 star albums you've stubbornly rejected over the years. I almost want to call you a jerk, but I won't because I have too much respect for you.

Posted about 5 years ago by 2394 52174249758 958 nAllison

Call him a jerk!

Posted about 5 years ago by TambegifTambe

In all seriousness, I agree with you Allison. I try hard to listen 3-4 times completely before giving an opinion. I wouldn't say I pull a 180 very often, but I at least get new insight into an album the more I listen. I usually put myself into the artist's shoes. I'd hate for them to review one of my crap songs after 1 listen!

Posted about 5 years ago by TambegifTambe

As a younger man I had far more patience in hand to give to albums that don't initially grab my fancy from the first listen. Now, not so much. I have become a devote follower of the 'first impression' manta. If I find that within the first listen my interest is not piqued in some way, shape or form then I am afraid to say, whichever album is on play has had its first, last and only listen to. This has happened after many, many years and many, many, many attempts to give hundreds, possibly stretching into the thousands of albums 'one more go'. It is safe to say that re-listening to an album that I have not been able to relate to during the first listen, has never altered my opinion that was garnered in the first attempt at it. I would safely say that throughout all my years of giving albums 'one more go', 0.1 times out of 10, I actually get turned on to an album, my impression of it changed favorably. This might be why the majority of the albums I review/will review will carry stars worth 3.5 - 5. I guess I am a snob. I don't have time for albums that don't elevate themselves up to and past these ratings. There are too many albums, artists, genres, just too much music out there to waste time on an album that's just 'ehhhh'. I see reviews for albums on here that get two stars (even one!) and I just think that based on this '3-4 times' listening before final judgement, hours that could have been spent discovering music that could make a better home in your auditory cortex, all that time and effort has simply led you back to the inital, 'eh' impression of it. To be completely honest, if I see a review that's less than 2 stars, I don't even read it. It's sort of like saying to someone, 'I don't like this, here's why but you go ahead and have a go'. Ummmmm, no thanks. NOW KEEP THIS IS MIND....I am speaking only to reviews on this site and as I have learned to trust those on this site in their opinions, I am spoiled that I can see their judgement and feel safe in skipping albums of ill repute. Personally, I never, and I mean literally never read reviews from magazines, online sites, anyone really, ever, when it comes to music. I almost had to google what 'Rolling Stone' was! (kidding, of course) I would never take a calculated disinterest in anyone's music because some stranger didn't like it. I will, however, trust my friends and musical peers. Now, I always want to give every artist a fair shake from the start of the opening track to end of the last. However, if not once during this time, their music has not so much as tried to extend their hand to me, then it's literally in one ear and out the other. (Note: Obviously this website would be a farce if every album was reviewed positively. This much I understand. I also know I will have a finite amount of albums that so offend me that I will want to vent about and award one or two stars out of disgust.) (Note II: Reviewing an album after one listen? I find that tough to subscribe to.) (Note III: This discussion does not include albums that are just plain horrible. 'Eh' and 'meh albums have to at least allow me to sit through one listen from start to finish.)

Posted about 5 years ago by MoiAndrew Scott

I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum. I read lots of reviews, have favorite sites for it, and favorite reviewers on some sites. I'm not simply looking for a recommendation from a review, which is why I value 2-3 star reviews. I'm looking for some thoughtful insite, a bit of info I hadn't known, etc. I tend to learn most if the history of artists from reviews. I also like to have a context for where an artist comes from, geographically, socially, musically. There are some albums already reviewed on this site that I have a very different opinion of than the reviewer. When I post my review, and give my thoughts, it makes for a better experience for the reader. I hope there are certain albums that get reviewed by 10 different people. (I'm sure the daft punk will end up on a few lists) As to the multiple listens....the Pearl Jam is one that I knew wasn't great from the first listen, but I think upon multiple listens you can't help but gain a bit more insite. Now that I've thoroughly had a go at it, I'm comfortable having an opinion that is more fully formed. Just my take.

Posted about 5 years ago by TambegifTambe

Another thought... I'm a fan of Iron &Wine, so when they (he) puts out a new album I'm going to listen to it. If I see a two star review I'm curious why it got 2. Is the artist trying something new? Is it the songwriting? Production? I can and will find out when I hear it, but the opinions are just part of the fun.

Posted about 5 years ago by TambegifTambe

You're a bigger fan boy than me, Tony and I respect that about you.

Posted about 5 years ago by MoiAndrew Scott

Posted: 11/16/2013