Hindsight Is 20/20: Music Reviews That Make Us Scratch Our Heads

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Music journalists freak out about music. We also exist in a world where we are acutely aware of everyone else’s opinions about the newest records, or at least the buzz. This sometimes puts us in strange scenarios, like when two people who both think Yeezus is a classic album are yelling at each other because one of them “didn’t acknowledge enough of its flaws.” It’s a hazard of the job that sometimes we get a bit too caught up in this referential fantasy world and spew out some absolutely wacky journalism. Everyone is guilty of it.

Some of the most easily recognizable instances of this phenomena occur in album reviews. As early at the 1960s, Rolling Stone was perfecting the art of eviscerating records they didn’t like to the point where they couldn’t possibly believe it was an objective review. Every single Led Zeppelin album was lined up against the wall and shot. But sometimes bizarre reviews can be exactly the opposite, like when Pitchfork waxed on about how epic The Massacre was, using the word “superhero” at one point. Still other reviews seem off to us in hindsight not because the opinion presented went so hard against consensus, but because the rhetoric just got flat-out wonky (and in the case of some rap album reviews, white with a capital W).

We’ve compiled 20 album reviews that still make us scratch our heads to this day, with a bonus journalistic hiccup from Pigeons & Planes’ own past.

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