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Delirious With Weird

Tuesday, September 16, 2003  
Bang! have the most awful layout, both online and in print (slightly less bad in print, but only slightly). As if the general layout, typesetting and art direction wasn't scraggly and confusing enough Bang! started a new graphics feature as part of their reviews section a couple of months ago, whereby they would plot the "goodness topography" (my name for it, not theirs) of an album by giving each track a rank on a bar-chart (remember those from school?).

This has problems on several levels. For a start it looks crap, secondly it's passing off subjective opinion as mathematical fact, thirdly it takes up valuable space that could be filled more productively with words, and fourth-



Hmmm... How to get this across? Is it negligent to review a high-profile album when you've only heard, say, 13 of 18 tracks on that album? Possibly. If you then attempted to plot the "goodness topography" of the album though, and both ommitted some tracks because you hadn't heard them and also got the tracks you had heard in the wrong order, then I think that ups the negligence charge from possibly to probably. Well that's what Bang! did when they reviewed The Neptunes Present... Clones.

But that's not it. Because in the same issue Bang! also reviewed Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which they also plotted the "goodness topography" of. Except with Speakerboxx... they'd only heard ten songs. Ten songs out of 39. 39. One less than 40. i.e. They had heard 25% of it. Speakerboxxx... is a 140-minute monster and they offered their opinion after being exposed to something like 35-minutes of it. If that isn't professional negligence then I don't know what is.

9/16/2003 01:46:00 pm


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005