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Do you pay attention to Amazon.com reviews?

Old 12-26-02, 05:09 PM
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Do you pay attention to Amazon.com reviews?

After spending some time at Amazon.com reading reviews of various CDs, many of which I own (easy day at work), I thought it might be fun to pose the question on this board: Do you pay any attention to Amazon.com CD reviews? I think the question is most relevant in regard to music CDs even though there are reviews for everything, because music tends to be very personal and very subjective.

Although I have, on occasion, used their customer reviews to try and judge if a box set or other big ticket item purchase is in order, by and large I find them useless. For every "greatest CD in the history of the universe" review there is a "total derivative garbage" counterpart. Ultimately, I end up more confused than when I started and still end up making what amounts to a blind buy.

Maybe my tastes are just too specialized or too odd. Does anyone out there in DVDtalk land have good luck with customer reviews? Let the opinions begin!
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Old 12-26-02, 06:28 PM
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I agree, most of the reviews end up either in the "greatest" or "garbage" camps, which make a nuanced discussion of a CD harder. I use the reviews as another data point in selecting CDs but they're clearly not the thing I base any selections on. I do find that there usually are at least one or two reviews that are nuanced enough for my needs (e.g., "this is a good album; the artist's fans will love it, but newbies should start with a different album"). Almost as important as their review of the album is any indication of the reviewer's other interests. If they name-check other, more recognizable artists or albums, either positively or negatively, that's usually helpful to me.
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Old 12-26-02, 10:26 PM
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what ive figured out is... if they are willing to take the time to write a amazon review... either they really hate the item.. or they really love it.. theres no in between usually...
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Old 12-27-02, 07:33 AM
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I'm not sure how swayed I am by the reviews, but I find it interesting reading.
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Old 12-27-02, 09:37 AM
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I trust AMG [allmusic.com] more than anything, especially S. T. Erlewine who seems to review all the bands I like.
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Old 12-27-02, 10:02 AM
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Originally posted by The Bus
I trust AMG [allmusic.com] more than anything, especially S. T. Erlewine who seems to review all the bands I like.
That seems to be the ticket. You need to find someone that has similar tastes. Even then, it's still not 100% agreement, but the signal to noise ratio is much better.

I'll take a look at allmusic. Thanks for the link.
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Old 12-27-02, 03:45 PM
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Amazon.com and other reviews...

www.allmusic.com *is* a good resource. I've been using it for years. It's still my first stop to check out new stuff, but there are more and more reviewers that read kind'a like amazon.commers. btw... the Erlewine's founded the amg in its original book incarnation. They're on volume ... 3, I think, in print form but the website usually features reviews within a week or two of a release if not a few weeks before release.

Sometimes I check out www.metacritic.com. They also have movie and DVD sections. They list blurbs from many print reviews and also leave room for fans to write their own remarks. An overall good resource and probably my second stop after AMG.

As to amazon.com, I *do* check their site quite often for TOTALLY blind items since I've read plenty of daft professional reviews. But before checking out what's being said there I re-sort the responses by "helpfulness" votes. It helps some.

Another good source'd be Robert Christgau at www.villagevoice.com. He's probably one of the best, most eclectic music-lovin' reviewers out there. His books are also well worth investigating.

Best o'luck.

Oh, and in the spirit of amazon.com...
new discs by:
Badly Drawn Boy *****
George Harrison *****
Bob Dylan *****
Amelie OST *****

Everything else gets ZERO stars, naturally

Last edited by MaudlinHarold; 12-27-02 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 12-27-02, 04:16 PM
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Everything else gets zero stars? I think allmusic.com is simply an amazing site. But I often disagree with their picks.
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Old 12-27-02, 07:57 PM
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But sometimes these reviews contain some very useful information, e.g., I read from there first to know the recent Ozzy Osbourne re-masters contain re-recorded drums/bass.
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Old 12-28-02, 03:37 PM
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Atlanta, of course everything else gets ZERO stars. If I haven't heard it then it must suck, don'cha know. Taste is black and white, no shades of grey.

Jeez... you're too complicated

As to the reviews having some useful info (I assume metal was referring to amazon.com), of course... there's always a few ounces ofwheat buried in the tonage of chaff. (Okay, I'm exaggerating)... but amazon is at best one tool, and one I never use to make my FINAL decision.

Oh, and a good place to dig out some obscure info is at www.icemagazine.com. Although their print edition is more thorough; also they tend to focus more on older stuff or "rock critic-friendly" music.
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Old 12-30-02, 10:09 AM
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Honestly? No. I trust my own impressions and observations. Usually, before purchasing an album, I'll download a few songs to get a feel for it, and then look over a review or two. Since my tastes are somewhat esoteric, I generally ignore most reviews; not to say that I don't respect their opinions, though, as I do, I just rarely agree with them.

Last edited by Lord Crumb; 01-04-03 at 01:43 AM.
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Old 12-30-02, 01:08 PM
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I usually like the ones that give a track by track review of each song from the people who obviously know something about the previous work of the band.
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Old 01-01-03, 04:54 AM
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I pay some little bit of attention to the stars, but not so much the written reviews, unless they give me some basis of comparison (like telling some other related likes/dislikes, so I can compare my own opinions).

Mostly, the reviews are very lacking in actual information.
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Old 01-01-03, 03:02 PM
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Nope - never bother paying attention to them.
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Old 01-02-03, 01:33 PM
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I like allmusic as well. Better than Amazon or any customer reviews in my opinion.
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