Pitchfork Media’s Review of “Shine On” and “Get Born” by Jet

My review of “Step One” by Steps. Wow, that was easy. I didn’t even have to sit through the CD!

When you read a review, you expect certain things. You want to hear some insightful positives and negatives regarding the thing being reviewed. You don’t want to be talked down to. You hope to have an overall idea of whether said object is worth seeing/listening to/buying/reading/visiting/eating/doing/throwing things at. And after you’ve done any of those things, you want to come back and read that review again to determine whether you agree or think the reviewer is out of his mind. Basically, you expect reviews like this and this. Then you go to a website whose supposed specialty is reviews, and you see something like this. This “review” only manages to fit one of those criteria, that being the last one” that this reviewer is totally out of his mind.

A long time ago, when the second Franklin movie was being planned, our discussion took a long detour, with us arguing over the definition of the phrase “cop out”. There were numerous e-mails sent back and forth trying to determine if an idea that I came up with was something that constituted this. You can read highlights here. This argument was never really solved, but I stand here today telling you once and for all, that this “review” is the definition of “cop out”.

I can gather by the video clip shown here that the “reviewer” doesn’t like Shine On, but I was interested in hearing some actual insight into what makes it good or bad. Granted, the CD wasn’t that great (there were three songs on it that I thought were really good, but the rest was kinda mediocre), but it doesn’t deserve to have its review have nothing interesting or meaningful to say at all. I don’t know how a high-fallutin’ website like pitchforkmedia decided that that was representative of their organization, but recently, they even put up a similar video, claiming it was a JET music video. Obviously, the pretentious music-lovers have a thing against the Aussies rockers, but I really can’t figure out what it is.

The review of their first album, Get Born, gives us a little more understanding, but I use the word “little” literally. It’s presented in the form of a discussion between the band and the owner of a venue where they’re supposed to be putting on a concert. Things go wrong at the concert and the fans turn on the band. Sure there are opinions presented about the band, but I’m sure they’re all completely over-the-top exaggerations from someone who’s never seen them live or met them. I can’t imagine a band (aside from the Flaming Lips or Ozzy Osbourne) actually demanding [thirty f%$&in’ angry alligators with top hats on, Iggy Pop shooting out of that cannon, and midway through sending in the kid from the iPod commercial.] It may work as a review of the band, but as a review of the album it fails miserably.

It only mentions three songs from the CD (very briefly) and it only has two points that I gleaned from the whole thing. The first is that all their songs sound like other bands (citing AC/DC, Iggy Pop, Wallflowers, Oasis, Bon Jovi and the Rolling Stones). The second is that they have “insipid love songs that sound like wedding band covers” and “insipid lyrics, we say ‘Come On!’ and ‘Oh Yeah!’ every five seconds”. So basically the guy only knows one insulting adjective. You know, there’s a thesaurus feature in MS word, and I’d assume there’s also one on the trendy Mac you also probably use. Insipid: dull, bland, wishy-washy, characterless, colorless, trite, tame, unexciting, uninteresting, boring. Maybe none of those words sounded smart/insulting to readers enough, though I’m partial to the word “trite

Here’s the thing that the review is missing. The music is fun. It’s not meant to be high art. It’s not meant to be genre-pushing. It’s meant to be music with easy-to-learn lyrics and melodies that you can put in your car CD player, turn the volume way up on, roll down your windows and shout at the top of your lungs and have a good time. And it completely succeeds at that, something that this reviewer was competent enough to pick up on. There’s a good mix of fast and slow songs (so the whole CD doesn’t sound the same, a huge pet peeve of mine), and I like most of the slower songs. I understand that a lot of the faster songs sound similar, but they’re catchy enough that it doesn’t bother me (a problem that the second CD had), much like with critically lauded Franz Ferdinand. As far as the words go, I’m not expecting poetic lyrics, so why should I complain that they’re not there? Did people who went to see Pirates of the Caribbean complain that there wasn’t a deeper meaning in the dialogue, or that it wasn’t a British period piece about some queen from the 17th century? I would hope not. They should be expecting to have fun. That’s all I expect out of it. That’s not to say that I shouldn’t hold the band accountable for bad music, I just don’t think that criticizing lyrics for this kind of music is really the way to go. Do critics complain about the lyrics to “SHOUT” or “MONY MONY”? Some of the songs on that Fountains of Wayne CD, Welcome Interstate Managers had TERRIBLE lyrics, but critics dismissed them because of how fun the melodies were.

Now some of you who are familiar with Aaron Copland’s book, “What to Listen for in Music“, would say that I’m only listening to this album on a “sensuous”, or maybe an “expressive” level, and that to fully understand why music is good or bad, I have to be listening to it on a “sheerly musical” level as well, combining the three. Well, in response to that I would claim that there isn’t too much to it on a musical level, but my musical knowledge is limited. I’m learning to increase what I hear when I listen, but I want to understand what makes this a musically good or bad album. That’s why I went to a site where I knew I would find a harsh but intelligent criticism of the CD. But there was none of that there. Instead, all I got was a poorly-written, profanity-laced diatribe against the band for mimicking other bands. Personally, since there really isn’t any truly popular band playing right now that sounds like them, I don’t have too much of a problem with it, but I’m reviewing the review, and not the band or CD, so that doesn’t really matter.


Zero stars for the cop-out Shine On so-called review.

½
½ star for the creativity to write a review for Get Born as a dialogue. Minus four and a half for not having any substance to it at all, not talking about the songs, and basically complaining because Jet has songs that sound like bands that lots of people like.

15 Favorite Sports Moments of the Year


You know, if we would’ve sent Sacha BARON Cohen instead, he probably wouldn’t have fallen.

Indy-Pittsburgh Divisional playoff game-Most exciting football game of the year. With the Steelers threatening to put the game away with under two minutes left, (after a disputed non-interception call, an Indy touchdown to put the game within three, and Peyton Manning getting sacked on his own three-yard line on fourth down) Jerome Bettis fumbles at the Indy 1-yard-line. Indy recovers and the guy runs halfway down the field. He’s beaten everyone except Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger who’s run diagonally across the field to tackle the guy returning it, whose wife stabbed him in the leg the night before. With 17 seconds left, Mike Vanederjagt misses a 46 yard field goal which would’ve tied it. Pittsburgh goes on to win the superbowl.

Endy Chavez catch– Game seven of the Divisional series. Tie Score. Shea Stadium. Mets outfielder Endy Chavez goes back to save the game and makes the catch of the yea,r 3 feet over the fence to rob Scott Rolen of a two-run home run for the lead. If the Mets would have won that game, it would go down in the history books.

Tigers beat the Yankees– the underdog team with less than half the payroll dominates the Yankees, sending them home. The best part is Kenny Rogers (not that one) on top of the dugout spraying the crowd with champaign.

U.S. women’s curling team– I watched a TON of curling during the Winter Olympics. I know, I know” it’s boring. Well it can be, but it was always on, and I grew attached to the U.S. women’s team.

Ryan Howard hits 3 home runs in a game– MVP Ryan Howard carries his team to victory with 3 home runs and 8 RBIs in a game. Also of note is the Home Run Derby contest, where he demolished the competition in the last round, and finished by hitting the “hit it here” sign.

Dodgers hit 4 home runs to tie and one in extras to win– Surging into the playoffs, The Dodgers were losing in the bottom of the ninth, until back-to-back-to-back-to-back homeruns tied the game. In the 10th inning, San Diego was up by one run, until Nomar Garciaparra hit the game winning home run.

Travis Pastrana Motocross double backflip at X-games- I don’t usually watch the X-games, but it was on when I was working one night and I caught a ridiculous maneuver. As his competitors watched, rooting him on, Travis pulled off a motocross double backflip, something that’s never been done, and could’ve killed him.

Vince Young beats USC– In the College National Title Game, Vince Young singlehandedly beats the top-ranked team in the country (one with two heisman winners on it) on a fourth down with 18 seconds left by scrambling to the end zone.

UCLA beats USC– Arch-rival UCLA upsets top-ranked USC to block the University of Spoiled Children Trojans from making a third national title game in a row.

Miami beats Chicago Bears– The Miami Dolphins, a 2-6 team, and the franchise with the only unbeaten season in history faces off against the 8-0 Chicago Bears and comes up with a win. Only in the NFL.

World Baseball Classic begins– After Baseball was discontinued from the Olympics for some inane reason, Bud Selig and some other people created a once every four years world tournament. Bravo.

Kobe scores 81– Despite the fact that I’m not the biggest basketball follower, scoring 81 points in a game is a totally insane achievement.

Tiger hits a bogey off a roof– In a classic display of why he’s the greatest, Tiger Woods totally screwed up off the tee and hit the ball onto the roof of a nearby building. The placed the ball on the ground by the building, but still far off the course. To finish only one stroke over par’s a strong achievement.

Agassi plays two classics at U.S. open before retiring– In his last tournament ever, Agassi gives us an unbelievably intense 5 set match, and then goes out in a tough four in the next round. I don’t watch a lot of tennis, but that five-set match was as captivating as anything I’ve ever seen. What made it all the more dramatic was that if he lost, his career was over. And when it finally was, he went out like a pro.

World Cup game– While the Finals game was great and intense (being decided by penalty kicks, and France’s star Zidane headbutting that guy, and the Australian team came out of nowhere to advance to the second round, I think that the U.S.-France game was my personal favorite. The U.S. team lost its first game and looked terrible, but in their second game they managed to tie the second place France team that won all of its other games, save the Finals. Granted, the goal that U.S.A. scored was actually an “own goal” from the France team, but they played most of the game with only nine people. A valiant display from an overall underacheiving team.

Empty Bookshelf’s First 100 Reviews


Oh, those kids. Always at it. You guys really shouldn’t’ve.

So here we are at the first of what may be a few reviews of our first milestone, 100 reviews. Not only is this the first review of this milestone, but of what could be very many milestones. We here at the Bookshelf like the word “milestone“, and don’t believe in Thesauruses. So here we go, our first hundred in a nutshell.

The first actual review happened way back in October of 2005… remember that time before the Steelers won the superbowl, before “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” movie, before Dick Cheny accidentally shot his friend while hunting, and before Bristol, United Kingdom celebrated the 200th birthday of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (actually April 9) by relighting the Clifton Suspension Bridge?

Dan’s first review was aimed at complaining about post-game hype surrounding an extremely long baseball game. Of course our readers probably care about boring Astros-Braves baseball games as much as they seemed to care about my terrible review of the dictionary. Even though that picture was good, it was nowhere near the five star quality of this image. I too tried my hand at reviewing food, but it was an utter failure. On the plus side, my review of the letter to the editor is one of my favorites, and my first review actually got eight comments, including this link. The few following that grilled chese review focused mostly on music, my opinion of “Good Night, and Good Luck”, a particular episode of Trading Spouses, and Dan’s opinion of My opinion of “Good Night, and Good Luck”. Dan also said that the Colbert report wouldn’t last, which seems to have been proven false.

October seemed to be us finding our footing.
***

November saw Dan’s Cleveland Trifecta, a diatribe against horses, a road that he liked, an episode of “Coach“, and his complaints about how much he aches, now that he’s an old man. I started the month strong with the Beth review, but struggled through the rest of it, with lame reviews like Thursday, a type of tooth”paste” that doesn’t work for me, and an insightful, yet completely unnecessary complaint about my nosebleeds. My FAO Schwarz review kinda made up for them, but the highlight of the month involved Dan and I sparring about how Christmas is coming earlier every year, and something about me being a time-traveling sheep.

November didn’t see much improvement over October, but the Christmas stuff was entertaining.
***½

December got a bit better, even with a few less reviews. I busted out the old NES games, for a few reviews that I swear are not trying to copy off of XE, another personal favorite, Christmas Cards, Adam’s first review, Dan throwing the hate down on Pitchfork media, and a suprising amount of people commenting on Roger Ebert’s take on video games. The biggest advance in December was the pop-ins, that added added some clarity to our parentheses-obsessed-writing.

December was a highly engaging and entertaining month, even with only nine reviews.
****½

2006 rolled around, and January saw Dan get political, review half of a book, not like warm winters a lot. I only contributed three of ten reviews that month, but all three of them were relatively alright, mostly because “Where In Time is Carmen Sandiego“, and “The Simpsons” after season 9 is so easy to complain about.

January’s topics fell off a little.
***½

February, while being the shortest month, was also a monster for us, as far as number goes. A whopping twenty-one reviews. To be fair, 17 of them came in our envelope-pushing live superbowl reviews, the biggest stunt pulled in the history of reviewing anything and everything on a five star scale. The only other reviews of any substance were my Gauntlet Review of the Beatles albums, and Dan’s digging up of our one-issue underground high-school newspaper.

Despite the big stunt, and two good reviews, February was kinda lacking.
**½

March just plain sucked. Four reviews total. One by me. Three megareviews by Dan.

½

April was slightly better, with another of my top five of my reviews, Legacy of the Wizard. The other four I would give an average of 3 stars to, but since there were only four during the month, that’s going to cancel out the Legacy of the Wizard bonus and take it down a half star.

**½

For my money, May was our best month yet. Dan’s contribution was the lengthy three-part TV landscape review. I threw out quality stuff with my Songs for Silverman, and Degree Navigator reviews. The shorter American Dreamz and Davinci Code video game reviews were serviceable, but my immense LOST season 2 review tops everything.

*****

June fell off a bit. Four reviews total. Split two and two. Mine were based on a ridiculous news story, and anger at other people for coincidentally coming up with the same ideas as me. Dan tried to put everything into perspective by seeing how well the entire history of human ingenuity and artistry stacked up in the interstellar community, and complained a little about how the national geography of roadways isn’t designed to suit his needs.

**

July was filled with the (I gotta admit my ignorance as to the relevance of this phrase… and wikipedia does nothing to help) Navel Gazing set. I was had for a few minutes by a Jimmy Kimmel hoax, and I thought the critics were a little too harsh on Shayamalan. Despite the mediocre numbers for the month, I’d give it a 3.5

***½

This gives us a per-month average of 3 stars, which isn’t too shabby.

In my first ever review, I reviewed the concept of this website. I claimed that we wouldn’t be able to keep it fresh, that we’d run out of ideas, and that we wouldn’t be able to stay somewhat funny at least. I believe my exact quote was “It has the potential to provide hours of entertainment for readers, and shape their lives for years to come. However, the downside is that it could get old real soon, and provide us with nothing but an excuse not to get real jobs.”

Well, I think we’ve significantly proven wrong every single point that I just brought up. We have 29 categories, 19 subcategories, and even two sub-sub categories. We’re still writing about reasonably different things, and while we may have slacked on the funny in recent months, we still bring the ‘A’ game on occasion. As far as my quote goes, I’d be willing to bet that we’ve provided maybe a few hours of entertainment for a handful of people, which probably did nothing to shape their lives for even the near fututre. On the upside, it hasn’t gotten old, and we have gotten real-ish jobs.

For all of these reasons, I’m willing to up our star rating by half a star, over the average rating of 3. I’ve also realized that my method of calculating the rating might not be the best, so I’m gonna throw in another half star for a final rating of 4 stars out of five.

****

And for those of you playing along at home, yes, this technically is the 100th review and so therefore should be included. This review receives 3 stars for not having much to offer in the way of witty musings, and for having a faulty overall rating method, but for packing so many subjects and links into one review.

***

The Steelers’ Interception

Wow. that was a game saving play if I ever saw one. I have to grade this two different ways.

*****
Steelers get five stars.


Seahawks get none.

update…. steelers just pulled out the five-star touchdown play… i realize i’m just throwing out the five-stars and possibly devaluing them… but whatever… see Dan’s review below about trick plays

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Trick Plays

Each game, the Steelers come in with eight trick plays. These include end-arounds, halfback options, double-reverses, etc. In the middle of the second quarter, they used their first with great success.

Lining up in the I formation, one of the most flexible of the offensive formations, Ben Roethlisberger, faked the handoff to the half-back who then ran to the right side of the offensive line as the fullback ran to the left all while a wide receiver from the right side ran towards the half-back. The wide receiver got the hand off, followed the fullback’s blocks to the left and got the easy first down.

Unfortunately for the Steelers, the drive ended in an interception.

****

The trick play doesn’t receive five stars if only because it didn’t result in a huge gain, just a first down.

The Blown Whistle on That Seahawks Incomplete Pass that was a fumble

The Seahawks WR just caught the ball, made a football motion (a turn), and put feet down, as the steelers player hit him and the ball popped loose. Unfortunately the refs blew the whistle for an incomplete pass, blowing the play dead, and unreviewable. In my opinion the refs never get this call right, because on iffy calls like this, both teams should be able to get a reasonable image of what actually happened. The safe call here is to let them play, like in hockey or soccer in a situation like that. when the play is dead, then the team that felt ripped off could officially challenge the play and get a definitive answer. In all reality it didn’t matter in this instance though, as the ball went all the way back to the pittsburgh 10 yard line or thereabouts, and the punt recovery probably gave them better field position.

the blown whistle on the iffy call gets no stars because because the only reason for them to call a play like that dead is for the refs to save face and claim their authority on the field. Nobody likes refs though, and power plays like this don’t help their cause. This hurts both teams in the long run, because that really was a fumble, and by letting the play go through they can look at all the evidence, and not just a quickly-viewed, one sided opinion.