Sunday, March 02, 2008

Shouldn't You Hear the Music Before Reviewing?

Since I seem to be on a roll with the subject of writer integrity, what about the flap over Maxim's non-reviewed review of the Black Crowes latest disc, Warpaint, in its March issue?

Yahoo Music had an entertaining article about "men's mag Maxim, which came under fire this week after it was revealed that one of its writers had allegedly given the new Black Crowes disc, Warpaint, two and a half out of five stars...without listening to it
. . . Chris [Robinson of the Crowes] and company protested the uninformed review . . . pointing out that no advance copies of the album had been sent to press and that only the first single, 'Goodbye Daughters Of The Revolution,' had been made available so far."

Despite that small detail, Maxim's lukewarm review included this statement: “Now that they’re legitimately grizzled, they [the Crowes] sound pretty much like they always have.”

The Crowes--legitimately ticked off--posted a release on their website saying:

Black Crowes manager Pete Angelus says, “Maxim's actions seem to completely lack journalistic integrity and intentionally mislead their readership. When confronted with the fact that they never heard the album they are claiming to 'review’ in their music section--with a star rating, no less--they attempt to explain that it was an 'educated guess.' In an email correspondence, Maxim went on to state: ‘Of course, we always prefer to (sic) hearing music, but sometimes there are big albums that we don’t want to ignore that aren’t available to hear, which is what happened with the Crowes. It’s either an educated guess preview or no coverage at all, so in this case we chose the former.’”

To make things worse, Page Six of the New York Post reported this on Wednesday: "RAPPER Nas was shocked when Maxim gave his new album, 'N - - - - r,' a 21/2-star review - because it isn't even finished yet. 'I'm finishing the album now, and it will be out April 22,' Nas told Page Six. Maxim has since apologized for the premature review . . ."

The writer of both Maxim reviews, freelancer David Peisner, spoke to the Los Angeles Times on Thursday after the scandal broke.

"I was assigned to write previews of the Black Crowes and Nas albums. I did that. When the issue came out, the previews were laid out as reviews complete with star ratings. I never at any point or to anyone claimed to have heard these albums in their entirety. Whatever decisions Maxim made after I turned in my work were beyond my control."

Read the whole Yahoo article here and the LA Times article here.

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