Is it ok to say you don't like an album? (and linked question on critics)

I am curious on people’s thoughts on whether it is ok to comment on a thread if you don’t like an album? It can feel a bit odd - if you don’t like it, what value does saying so do? And why listen? But if you don’t comment the thread can perhaps give an unbalanced view of an album.

I think my position would be to only do so if it is a band that I normally like who have produced a work that I don’t rate. But even then I’m not sure if that negative view is welcome.

Also, how do music magazines and websites allocate reviews? If you give an album to a big fan then you are likely to get an over positive review. And vice versa. I imagine journalist independence can only go so far - for example I can rarely get past the first track for certain genres. Does anyone have direct experience of reviewing?

It would be tedious as all hell if every thread about an album was just different shades of “yeah, this is good”.

I think as a long as it’s an open thread for criticism (ie not an appreciation thread) and you aren’t insulting or dismissive to people who do like it then it’s absolutely fine

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Don’t mind if people can articulate why they didn’t like something - regardless of whether it’s an artist they know well, or anything - because I also value people saying what they do like about something if I’m struggling to connect

If people are coming into a thread listening to something because they know they’re gonna hate (on) it then it’s far more dull. But that would never happen on DiS!!

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I think it’s OK to comment on an album if you don’t like it. If you’ve listened to it and genuinely didn’t enjoy it then your opinion is just as valid as everyone who loves said album. Plus it can be maddening to see wall-to-wall positive comments about something you don’t enjoy - makes you feel like you’re the only one that doesn’t “get” something obvious and that you must be weird as a result. It can be comforting to know that others feel the same!

On the other hand, I don’t think you should intentionally wade into a thread to be dismissive or rude to those people who are genuinely enjoying it

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yeah it’s fine i think, as long as you’re not a dick about it.

i do a bit of reviewing but it’s for a small publication and essentially a community of volunteers, so i don’t think there’s a huge concern over journalistic independence. with us there’s a spreadsheet and you put your name beside whatever you’re interested in covering. sometimes the editors will contact you directly if there’s something they want covered that they think you might be interested in.

with bigger/international releases it’s free reign really, though i don’t really enjoy writing negative reviews where i can help it. i only tend to take stuff i think i’ll like, so my negative reviews are only ever ones of disappointment, and i try to be fair and balanced. i cannot be bothered covering something i know i won’t like in order to destroy it.

it’s a website that specialises in the Irish indie / DIY scene so i don’t really like negatively reviewing bands from that scene as they will probably read it. bit cowardly maybe but i don’t want to make people feel bad.

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Being rude about something for the sake of negativity is unpleasant but engaged critical discourse around any subject that is fair and informed is absolutely fine, as long as its conducted with respect. I really like kpop and have heard loads of bad takes that are grounded in ignorance and xenophobia and sometimes outright racism, and that’s not on, but if someone has legitimate criticism or its just not for them even though they tried it with an open mind and no racist, stupid preconceptions then its all good

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Threads on bands/albums tend to fall into two categories. If it’s a thread simply for general discussion and views on something/someone then criticism is absolutely fine as long as it’s reasonable and not needlessly derogatory. But if it’s a thread set up with an OP clearly stating something like ‘[band/album] is brilliant’ and is for people to enthuse, then steaming in and saying how much you dislike that subject is a bit weird and boring imo.

Nah albums suck

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I think it’s OK if you’re mindful of a. how it would come across to others in the same thread, and b. for smaller acts especially, the chances of the artist finding the thread and being upset by what you wrote (echoing what @Icarus-Smicarus said about reviews).

all of this but for a wales-based site

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Wikipedia?!?

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yes i review albums for wikipedia. my word is taken as objective

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The founder of Wikipedia’s name is Wales

i’m still always right

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me too!

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Or you might get abused by multiple band members and hangers on. (Said band are defunct now, with all the members bar the main one being fired.)

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Haha wow, I missed that!

Never announced formally but I got the goss through the grapevine here. If I ever see you in person again I’ll tell you the full story.

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Of course it is.

Personally I usually chose not to post if all I’ve got to say is ‘I don’t like it’. I don’t see how that is adding to the discussion and it risks spoiling things for other people. I find posts like that irksome so I try not to add to them.

If I’ve got something more substantial or constructive to say I might get involved in the discussion. An example might be if I’ve liked other records by the same artist and there is something to be said about why this one is different, or if there is one particular aspect of a record that is not working for me. Those sort of conversations can be useful if everyone enters into them in good faith - sometimes they can help you to see things differently.

It’s up to you post of course, so long as you follow the golden rule of not being a dick.

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