5 albums Pitchfork rated extremely wrong

Jonny Rhein

A Pitchfork review can make or break the success of a record.

The online music magazine Pitchfork does a lot for the indie music scene. So many bands who may have never had a voice have been heard because of Pitchfork’s promotion. On the other hand, they’re responsible for headlines that no one should care about, or biased reviews based on what is cool in the music scene at the time. While they’ve nailed it with some of their reviews, others have been just plain wrong.

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Wilco – “A Ghost is Born”

Pitchfork’s rating: 6.6

The flowery, Beatles-esque side of Wilco left with Jay Bennett. In its place stood Jeff Tweedy’s personal flaws executed through sharp guitar noise that apparently wasn’t good enough for Rob Mitchum. “AGIB” sounds like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot had a panic attack. I mean that in the best way possible.

Muzzle of Bees” represents a side of Wilco not seen on YHT. Every note and click is perfect on this Jim O’Rourke inspired song. Wilco takes their deconstructive approach to songwriting a step further, proving again on “AGIB” that their creative potential is unlimited. 6.6 does not do this album justice.

The Mars Volta – “De-Loused in the Comatorium”

Pitchfork: 4.9

The way Pitchfork has picked on The Mars Volta since the release of “De-loused in the Comatorium” has always rubbed me the wrong way. In one section of Brent DiCrescenzo’s review, he writes in the perspective of a person who likes the album and then tears it down, like he knows its greatness, but plays devil’s advocate just to sound hip.

His “biggest complaint is that (the album) just isn’t fun,” but what follows in his review is exactly what makes the album fun: stupid, mystifying lyrics that make no sense, the energy, speed and an array of studio tricks. DiCrescenzo’s review screams denial.

Father John Misty – “Fear Fun”

Pitchfork: 7.3

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I know what you’re thinking: “What’s so bad about a 7.3 rating?” Sure, it’s a decent score, but when Misty’s less impressive sophomore album “I Love You, Honeybear” receives an 8.8, you know there’s a problem.

On his first album as Father John Misty, Tillman scraps the dry, slow acoustic thing for drug induced entertainment. Every song is its own world. Even the filler “O I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me” has just enough substance to not skip.

In his review, Stephen Deusner criticizes the rhythm on “Fear Fun” for being “too contained” while tracks on “Honeybear” are some of Misty’s most contained songs ever. “Strange Encounter” sounds incredibly stiff compared to what it could have been. The song sounds uniform all the way through with barely any changes between verses besides one guitar solo. With such a strong chorus, there was so much potential that went to waste. You could say the same for “Honeybear” as a whole.

Despite what Pitchfork says, these albums deserve more credit.”

Bombay Bicycle Club – “Flaws”

Pitchfork: 4.0

In Pitchfork’s short and unfair review, their reason for the low rating on “Flaws” is because BBC released an acoustic album as their second album. I agree it’s a bold move, but why should that matter? Shouldn’t these reviews be about the music? Maybe a 4.0 would be appropriate if “Flaws” sounded like Pitchfork’s poster child Car Seat Headrest, but it’s actually a beautiful album.

“Flaws” strips BBC to its bare bones. You can really hear the potential of these young guys back in their early 20’s. They establish themselves as some of the best guitar players and songwriters in the indie music scene.

Kings of Leon – “Youth and Young Manhood”

Pitchfork: 4.2

Remember when Kings of Leon was cool? I do. Pitchfork never has.

People mostly know them for “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire,” but before Bono poisoned KOL, they surprisingly released three solid albums.

“Youth” encompassed the heart of the 70’s: long hair, big mustaches and tight bell bottoms. The raw, distorted guitars, Caleb Followill’s shrill screech and booze-fueled lyrics made “Youth” fresh even though it sounded 30 years late. They brought back much needed rock and roll in a time when garbage like Puddle of Mudd’s “She Hates Me” took over the radio.

If Bob Dylan says “Trani” is “a hell of a song,” I’m damn right “Youth” deserves way higher than 4.2.

Collegian reporter Jonny Rhein can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @jonnyrhein.