Don’t Like: Metacritic

So here’s what metacritic is if you don’t know: It’s a website that takes reviews (including ones that don’t give any kind of “rating”) and finds the average scores of those ratings and positive/negative sentiments to give the most average and fair score to that film/album/dvd/show/what have you.

Sounds perfectly fair, right?

Except the system has a lot of problems. I don’t know how they put it all together but many of the results are… suspect. I think it may have to do with how each medium approaches its criticism but let’s get specific.

The chief offender is easily, easily, easily music.

Here’s the top 16 for 2008:

1 What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective by Steinski 2008 90
2 London Zoo by The Bug 2008 90
3 Fed by Plush 2008 89
4 For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver 2008 89
5 Dear Science, by TV On The Radio 2008 88
6 Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes 2008 87
7 Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds 2008 87
8 Robyn by Robyn 2008 86
9 Hercules And Love Affair by Hercules And Love Affair 2008 86
10 Fortress by Protest The Hero 2008 86
11 Rook by Shearwater 2008 85
12 Life…The Best Game In Town by Harvey Milk 2008 85
13 Third by Portishead 2008 85
14 Stay Positive by The Hold Steady 2008 85
15 Laulu Laakson Kukista by Paavoharju 2008 85
16 Harps And Angels by Randy Newman 2008 85

Now I like music. A lot. I like a lot of weird shit. I went to metafilter to specifically see if there was anything I didn’t know about which was pretty good. I do this about every 6 months or so. And this time I was like “that’s it, I’ve had it.” The top twelve on this list are pure balls. Seriously I in depth listened to all of them and there wasn’t anything good. The only things I kind of liked were stuff after that and things I already had like Portishead, The Hold Steady. Look, music is ultra super subjective. Moreso than the other mainstream artforms. It just is. And trying to critically rate it all just doesn’t work in the metacritic system. Look across the board,  everything gets the “green light” rating of being good. Unlike the other mediums where getting something in the green is rare. Plus it tends to overskew bad metal bands that get big love from metal magazines. Don’t get me wrong, I likes me some metals but damn Protest the Hero sucks. Bah, it makes me too angry.

Their movie scores are much less offensive, but often your favorite movie can get lost in the shuffle. Strongly mixed critical reactions are often a symbol of brave filmmaking. My favorite film so far this year “Towelhead” rated a 57. Why? Because I imagine it was so hard/uncomfortable for some critics to watch. And that becomes a huge detriment for this intensely brave and well-made movie which is tackling societal taboos and the mixed messages we send young girls. Show me a “universally adored” movie and I’ll show you a Titanic. Yeah, you go back and watch that piece of poop recently? God that was bad.

Oddly enough there is one form of media where metacritic system excels.

Video games?!?!?! Yup. Their culminations of reviews are surprisingly spot on. Universal adortation of video game is easily possible because gamers are such a specific audience. Everyone who goes to a movie doesn’t understand mise en scene. But everyone who plays video games frequently gets the subtleties of game play. So metacritic works so well for my gaming purchases purpose. Just fantastic stuff.

*shit, sorry all. I like TV on the Radio a lot. I should have mentioned that but forgot. I stand by the rest.

**double shit, I like Nick Cave and the bad seeds too.

***i more though the bug, plush, robyn, hercules and the love affair, protest the hero, and shearwater really, really, REALLY sucked.


5 Responses to Don’t Like: Metacritic

  1. Tim says:

    Nothing good in Bon Iver, TV on the Radio, or Fleet Foxes??? Really? I agree, just about all that other stuff is trash but I think it’s pretty spot on for those 3 – listen again 🙂

  2. mgss says:

    Shit sorry, I like TV on the Radio a lot. I should make that an addendum.

  3. James says:

    If music is subjective, then surely your line should be: “Seriously I in depth listened to all of them and *I thought* there wasn’t anything good.”

  4. Matt says:

    You didn’t like “Konichiwa Bitches” on Robyn’s album? The video for it (check YouTube) should really make your day.

  5. mgss says:

    Nah. Konichiwa Bitches didn’t do it for me. I wanted to like it, and it felt in the wheelhouse. It just didn’t.

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