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Thread: AAJ Review: King Crimson, Live in Vienna 2016, December 1, 2016 (UK Edition)

  1. #51
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    I suppose this could open up a rather pointless box of "I think Crimson should play this live!", but has this lineup(s) played "Exiles"? That would sound monumental, though having three drummers might be a bit extraneous.

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnwayne View Post
    I suppose this could open up a rather pointless box of "I think Crimson should play this live!", but has this lineup(s) played "Exiles"? That would sound monumental, though having three drummers might be a bit extraneous.
    They did for at least a short portion of one of the tours.

  3. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnwayne View Post
    I suppose this could open up a rather pointless box of "I think Crimson should play this live!", but has this lineup(s) played "Exiles"? That would sound monumental, though having three drummers might be a bit extraneous.
    Briefly, I believe, in 2016. Btw, since I've been absent for a week or so, it's great to hear all the positive feedback about the Vienna show, Fracture and the collage improv/soundscapes, now that it's been released. I've been saying this version of Crimson just keeps getting better with every passing year/tour, and am glad to hear I'm not alone!

    Cheers!
    J
    John Kelman
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  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnwayne View Post
    I suppose this could open up a rather pointless box of "I think Crimson should play this live!", but has this lineup(s) played "Exiles"? (...)
    They did in 2017, though not so often. Tony Levin road diaries are good reference point, see for example:
    https://tonylevin.com/road-diaries/k.../seattle-shows

  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by akond View Post
    They did in 2017, though not so often. Tony Levin road diaries are good reference point, see for example:
    https://tonylevin.com/road-diaries/k.../seattle-shows
    Good news is knowing this band, surely a version of exiles from 2017 will be released! Do appreciate how every new release has more material that hasnít been heard from this version of the band.....always more awesome music to take in!

  6. #56
    Not sure if this has already been asked and answered, but does anyone know the differences between the UK and Japan releases of Live in Vienna? Obviously, the third disc contains different material (Heroes, Fracture, 21CSM + three soundscapes for the UK release; "Live in Tokyo 2015" for the Japanese release), but I also see different timings for a few of the tracks at the end of the show:

    Starless - 12:56 (Japan) vs 13:03 (UK)
    Heroes - 4:27 (Japan) vs 5:23 (UK)
    21CSM - 12:09 (Japan) vs 13:07 (UK)

    These appear noteworthy, because the timings for all the other tracks are the same (or differ by 1 second) for the two releases. Any other completists as concerned by this arcane question as I? ;-)

  7. #57
    Mod or rocker? Mocker. Frumious B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Briefly, I believe, in 2016. Btw, since I've been absent for a week or so, it's great to hear all the positive feedback about the Vienna show, Fracture and the collage improv/soundscapes, now that it's been released. I've been saying this version of Crimson just keeps getting better with every passing year/tour, and am glad to hear I'm not alone!

    Cheers!
    J
    But it seems like every time this version of Crimson puts out something new ( and by “new” I actually mean yet another live recording with a lot of the same stuff on it again) you post a review giving it the highest praise possible and then the next time something comes out you are slightly dismissive of the previous release that you called the best thing ever at the time in praising the new release as actually being the best thing ever. It kinda reminds me of how in every new Stones album was the best thing since Exile or Some Girls according to reviewers when it came out only to be cast aside when the next Stones album came out and then that one was the best since Exile or Some Girls.
    "It was a cruel song, but fair."-Roger Waters

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2000jw View Post
    Not sure if this has already been asked and answered, but does anyone know the differences between the UK and Japan releases of Live in Vienna?
    Last song from the regular set (Starless) plus two encores. The differences are only in applause fading, I suppose.

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by 2000jw View Post
    Not sure if this has already been asked and answered, but does anyone know the differences between the UK and Japan releases of Live in Vienna? Obviously, the third disc contains different material (Heroes, Fracture, 21CSM + three soundscapes for the UK release; "Live in Tokyo 2015" for the Japanese release), but I also see different timings for a few of the tracks at the end of the show:

    Starless - 12:56 (Japan) vs 13:03 (UK)
    Heroes - 4:27 (Japan) vs 5:23 (UK)
    21CSM - 12:09 (Japan) vs 13:07 (UK)

    These appear noteworthy, because the timings for all the other tracks are the same (or differ by 1 second) for the two releases. Any other completists as concerned by this arcane question as I? ;-)
    Afraid I don't have the Japanese version so can't answer that question...it might be just more applause, though....bu bu really have no idea!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Frumious B View Post
    But it seems like every time this version of Crimson puts out something new ( and by “new” I actually mean yet another live recording with a lot of the same stuff on it again) you post a review giving it the highest praise possible and then the next time something comes out you are slightly dismissive of the previous release that you called the best thing ever at the time in praising the new release as actually being the best thing ever. It kinda reminds me of how in every new Stones album was the best thing since Exile or Some Girls according to reviewers when it came out only to be cast aside when the next Stones album came out and then that one was the best since Exile or Some Girls.
    I'm sorry, man, but I don't see how you can say these things. Given that there is an underlying opinion that this is a band getting better with each passing year (thus, with the exception of Vienna, the chronological live releases from the band do, IMO, reflect that), it would be fair for me to suggest that each successive recording supports that opinion. And, for sake of consistency, that is exactly how I position the out-of-chronological-order Vienna (bolding added here):

    Situated, chronologically, between Live in Toronto and Live in Chicago, Live in Vienna can be viewed as a transitional recording in more ways than one.
    And, most notably:

    Live in Chicago may, as a raw soundboard recording, still trump the more produced sonics of Live in Vienna; still, there's little doubt that Crimson's Austrian date was well worth preserving. Collins, Jakszyk and Fripp are clearly having a particularly good night, but it's Levin, who manages to anchor the band with scripted lines when necessary while expanding upon them in ways no other Crimson bassist has that elevates Vienna to, if not Chicago's level, then certainly a very, very close second.
    So, if anything, I'm still suggesting Chicago is a better date than Vienna, which is absolutely consistent with my underlying premise (with which you may, of course, agree or not!).

    Nowhere do I suggest any of these live recordings are "the best thing ever"; yes, I praise each one on their own merits and position them amongst the rest of this particular lineup's releases (and prior incarnations too, if it seems relevant). But you suggest unsupported hyperbole that is then dialed back with the review of the next release, and that simply is not true, as I suggest , for Vienna for example, that this was a particularly good night for Tony; that there's the chance to hear the seven-piece with Stacey rather than Rieflin; and (c) there's an opportunity to hear the setlist evolving (e.g.: just "Dawn Song," from "Battle of the Glass Tears," as a very appropriate lead-in to "Suitable Grounds For the Blues," rather than the entire "Battle of the Glass Tears" that ultimately shows up on Chicago.

    Do I think each release has value? Absolutely. Do I also think that this is a band that just keeps on getting better with every passing year? Also, absolutely.

    And what that means is that I do think each live recording is a step up over what has come before. Since Vienna was recorded, chronologically, before Chicago but released after, as good a set as it is (and I do think it comes a close second to Chicago as my favourite live release from this version of the band), it would therefore make sense that I think Chicago trumps Vienna (albeit only by a bit, again, IMO).

    Listen, we don't have to agree ... I've no issue with that. Nor do I have a particular problem if you don't like my writing at all. However, I will defend myself against suggestions you make about my work that simply aren't true. Yes, I do praise each release from this band because that is how I honestly feel about them...but often for different reasons that I clearly outline in each piece. And I do believe this band keeps getting better. So it also stands to reason that every successive live release (considering the group/Fripp is choosing what it believes to be its best shows to permanently document) at the very least might be better, though I don't actually make my mind up until I've listened to the album under review 8-10 times.

    And my reasons for liking one album over another varies for different reasons...again, which I detail in my reviews. I don't expect anyone/everyone to agree with me entirely (or at all, for that matter); but I absolutely do not believe that I am ever "slightly dismissive of the previous release," or that I ever say anything remotely resembling "the best thing ever."

    Beyond the quotes I've already cited, which I believe suggest plenty of balance when assessing the album under review in the context of past releases, my closing paragraph is about as indicative as I can show of how I approach every release, as I challenge you, between the above quotes and this one, to show how I come close to doing what you suggest:

    But, truth be told, as Crimson prepares for its fifth year of touring since returning to activity in 2013 (and the band just seems to be getting better and better with each passing year), the appeals of Live in Vienna [UK Edition) are many, with the studio mix of the main concert also providing a pristine clarity matched only by Radical Action, Live in Toronto and the briefer Live at the Orpheum. Live in Vienna fills in an important gap in the current Crimson's evolution from the "Seven-Headed Beast of Crim" to its even greater instrumental possibilities as an eight-piece "double quartet." And if one King Crimson fan has expressed, on Facebook, to favoring Live in Toronto and Live in Chicago over the "prettier" Radical Action for their warts-in enthusiasm, Live In Vienna, December 1st, 2016 (UK Edition) may well change his mind, striking a perfect balance between post-production soundstaging and a potent, hellacious performance filled with penetrating power and resplendent beauty.
    Again, you may not agree with me, but when I read that closing paragraph, I read how Vienna is positioned amongst the other live releases, with the clear opinion that this is a group that has been getting better, year after year. Nowhere do I see it being called "the best thing ever." And nowhere do I see this review being at all dismissive of past releases. I only see it following my belief that this Crimson lineup - which, for those who don't get to see it live as often as I have, for example, can only judge the band by its live releases, since it hasn't released any studio recordings - keeps getting better.

    You may not agree, but based on that premise, I think if you read my string of reviews -both of the live albums and live shows - you'll find that, if anything, I have been absolutely consistent.

    Cheers,
    John
    PS: and while there is indeed repetition of songs across the live releases, I'd also suggest most contain more than enough new material (or old material played for the first time) to give each of them value...not to mention that many of those repeated tunes are subject to significant reinterpretation and, in the case of solo sections, differing improvisational approaches. Again, just my opinion, but to counter your statement on that front as well.
    Last edited by jkelman; 04-17-2018 at 07:07 PM.
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  11. #61
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    ^ Right on John.

    I don't understand some of the (occasional) dickish things directed your way when you write so many outstanding unbiased and detailed reviews for the small community that is us prog nerds. Anyway, fwiw I do appreciate your writings and hope you continue to do many more as I find them both informative and full of passion.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

  12. #62
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    ^ Right on John.

    I don't understand some of the (occasional) dickish things directed your way when you write so many outstanding unbiased and detailed reviews for the small community that is us prog nerds. Anyway, fwiw I do appreciate your writings and hope you continue to do many more as I find them both informative and full of passion.
    What he said.

  13. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    ^ Right on John.
    I don't understand some of the (occasional) dickish things directed your way when you write so many outstanding unbiased and detailed reviews for the small community that is us prog nerds. Anyway, fwiw I do appreciate your writings and hope you continue to do many more as I find them both informative and full of passion.
    Thanks, man. I really don't mind if anyone disagrees with me or, for that matter, just plain doesn't like my writing. But I will absolutely defend myself against anyone who asserts something about my writing that, as Fruminous suggested, just ain't true.

    So thanks to you - and to mozo-pg () - for the kind words of support. Believe me, I'll continue writing as long as I am able.

    And, for anyone interested, for a sneak peak at what reviews will be coming in the next few weeks (and, other than #1, in no particular order, since some I've not received yet)?

    1. The new Sonar album, with David Torn (that one is immediately next);
    2. Esoteric's Chris Squire Fish Out of Water reissue;
    3. The Wishbone Ash megabox;
    4. Nicolas Masson's latest ECM recording, a sax-piano-bass-drums date featuring label mate Colin
    Vallon, rather than his usual Third Reel sax-guitar-drums trio;
    5. From Moonjune: new ones by Dwiki Dharmawan and Mark Wingfield;
    6. The new Brand X live set.

    Terrific albums/sets all (well, those I've heard; the ones I've not, I've little doubt)...
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
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  14. #64
    Mod or rocker? Mocker. Frumious B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    I'm sorry, man, but I don't see how you can say these things. Given that there is an underlying opinion that this is a band getting better with each passing year (thus, with the exception of Vienna, the chronological live releases from the band do, IMO, reflect that), it would be fair for me to suggest that each successive recording supports that opinion. And, for sake of consistency, that is exactly how I position the out-of-chronological-order Vienna (bolding added here):



    And, most notably:



    So, if anything, I'm still suggesting Chicago is a better date than Vienna, which is absolutely consistent with my underlying premise (with which you may, of course, agree or not!).

    Nowhere do I suggest any of these live recordings are "the best thing ever"; yes, I praise each one on their own merits and position them amongst the rest of this particular lineup's releases (and prior incarnations too, if it seems relevant). But you suggest unsupported hyperbole that is then dialed back with the review of the next release, and that simply is not true, as I suggest , for Vienna for example, that this was a particularly good night for Tony; that there's the chance to hear the seven-piece with Stacey rather than Rieflin; and (c) there's an opportunity to hear the setlist evolving (e.g.: just "Dawn Song," from "Battle of the Glass Tears," as a very appropriate lead-in to "Suitable Grounds For the Blues," rather than the entire "Battle of the Glass Tears" that ultimately shows up on Chicago.

    Do I think each release has value? Absolutely. Do I also think that this is a band that just keeps on getting better with every passing year? Also, absolutely.

    And what that means is that I do think each live recording is a step up over what has come before. Since Vienna was recorded, chronologically, before Chicago but released after, as good a set as it is (and I do think it comes a close second to Chicago as my favourite live release from this version of the band), it would therefore make sense that I think Chicago trumps Vienna (albeit only by a bit, again, IMO).

    Listen, we don't have to agree ... I've no issue with that. Nor do I have a particular problem if you don't like my writing at all. However, I will defend myself against suggestions you make about my work that simply aren't true. Yes, I do praise each release from this band because that is how I honestly feel about them...but often for different reasons that I clearly outline in each piece. And I do believe this band keeps getting better. So it also stands to reason that every successive live release (considering the group/Fripp is choosing what it believes to be its best shows to permanently document) at the very least might be better, though I don't actually make my mind up until I've listened to the album under review 8-10 times.

    And my reasons for liking one album over another varies for different reasons...again, which I detail in my reviews. I don't expect anyone/everyone to agree with me entirely (or at all, for that matter); but I absolutely do not believe that I am ever "slightly dismissive of the previous release," or that I ever say anything remotely resembling "the best thing ever."

    Beyond the quotes I've already cited, which I believe suggest plenty of balance when assessing the album under review in the context of past releases, my closing paragraph is about as indicative as I can show of how I approach every release, as I challenge you, between the above quotes and this one, to show how I come close to doing what you suggest:



    Again, you may not agree with me, but when I read that closing paragraph, I read how Vienna is positioned amongst the other live releases, with the clear opinion that this is a group that has been getting better, year after year. Nowhere do I see it being called "the best thing ever." And nowhere do I see this review being at all dismissive of past releases. I only see it following my belief that this Crimson lineup - which, for those who don't get to see it live as often as I have, for example, can only judge the band by its live releases, since it hasn't released any studio recordings - keeps getting better.

    You may not agree, but based on that premise, I think if you read my string of reviews -both of the live albums and live shows - you'll find that, if anything, I have been absolutely consistent.

    Cheers,
    John
    PS: and while there is indeed repetition of songs across the live releases, I'd also suggest most contain more than enough new material (or old material played for the first time) to give each of them value...not to mention that many of those repeated tunes are subject to significant reinterpretation and, in the case of solo sections, differing improvisational approaches. Again, just my opinion, but to counter your statement on that front as well.
    Look at your star ratings though. You gave Radical Action the highest possible five star rating while Chicago and Vienna were each given four and a half stars. A Scarcity Of Miracles? Five stars again.

    How many stars do In The Court and Red get? It seems like something is out of whack with these ratings to me.
    "It was a cruel song, but fair."-Roger Waters

  15. #65
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by per anporth View Post
    I think that this is pretty much right. Toronto & Radical Action are both fine in & of themselves, but Vienna & Chicago are really a significant step-up, recording the way this extraordinary band is growing & getting better as an "organism" through the development of its life. It's as if the challenges of playing new material are compelling the band to discover new possibilities for itself. And so, even though Vienna marks a distinct move on from Toronto & Radical Action, Chicago is definitely better again. But the treasures on the third disc very much make this another excellent addition to the records of this wonderful late flowering of the Crims.
    This is spot on for me. I suspect I've said this before (so apologies if beating the dead horse) but for me this comes down to two things, Stacey joining on drums and the group having more time to gel together. (How much of each is questionable...I'd suspect at least a 50/50 split to my cynical gity mind.) And then to add BF back on keys just made it even more excellent. I for one love hearing keys on the 2000s material especially.


    As for this set...only heard it once, but I'm enjoying it. I'd still put Chicago ahead of it (but it's still early days) and in a way I wish this was released beforehand. But GREAT to finally have Fracture but this lineup and I suspect I'll be eating at this table for a long time coming. Bring on Radical Action II for the 8-man lineup!
    No humor please, we're skittish.

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  16. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Frumious B View Post
    Chicago and Vienna were each given four and a half stars.
    Hmmm, this means they're both a step below Live at the Orpheum. That can't be right.

  17. #67
    Frankly, I hate star ratings for exactly the reasons you cite. At the time of Orpheum, with Crimson newly reformed, it seemed like a five-star record to me. Obviously, since that time, far better live documents have been released. But should I go back and re-rate all my past reviews every time a new one comes out?

    AFAIC, the words are far more important in articulating a writer's - well, at least, this writer's - view on any subject.

    I find star ratings too subjective and too reductionists...and hey, if you think I'm inconsistent (which I'll not argue) when it comes to assigning them? When Miles Davis' On the Corner was released in 1972, Downbeat gave it one star. Fast forward 37 years and the same writer not only talked about the album as if it were the second coming (I tend to agree with that assessment, rather than his 1972 one!), but gave it FIVE stars.

    So, what can we surmise about this, since the music has not changed? People who review music are as subject to change as any (I've often talked about how I didn't "get" Ornette Coleman until a review of the 1992 box, Beauty is a Rare Thing, which drove me to buy the box, and...suddenly I was loving the music - a reflection on (a) how much my ears had changed in the ensuing years, and (b) what a well-written review (not the star rating) can do to help one reconsider a prior opinion.

    So, sure, I'll absolutely admit how my star ratings might, if you go back and look at them over time, be seen as inconsistent. But if you take the time (and I know, with me, that's generally a significant investment!) to read my reviews, I think you'll get a far better collective, cumulative opinion that absolutely makes sense and is more consistent over thT same time. With all the energy and time that I spend putting these reviews together, I'd frankly hope folks will judge my work based on the writing and not what is, to some extent, an arbitrary star rating.

    Plus, to be honest, I am also aware that there are some folks who feel the need to find fault in what I do, for reasons unknown. If you don't like my writing and have objective, constructive reasons as to why that is, not only will I take it onboard, but it might actually encourage me to make some changes in how I write and help me to improve...to which I'd simply say: thank you.

    Thanks, in fact, to some recent objective comments from my wife and also one of my favourite writers around, Cleveland's Carlo Wolff (he doesn't tend to review prog, FYI, but don't hold that against him...he's an inspiration to me as to how it should be done), I've been working hard to make some changes when it comes to de-densifying what are, admittedly, my very information-dense reviews.

    But for those who just have something against me and my work, as seems to be true with Fruminous B (after I argue against his earlier criticisms of the writing, rather than acknowledging that, he then shifts gears and goes after the star ratings), all I can suggest is: don't read my work. I'm certainly not twisting anyone's arm to do so.

    But constructive criticism? I'm totally open to it. So, weeks later, I decided to respond to the comments about star ratings and, at the very least, try to explain why they can often be inconsistent - not just for me, but for many writers, especially when taken over long/long-ish periods of time. Again, I'd not argue that, but I sure hope folks are judging me on what I write, not on a reductionist star ratings that, frankly, all about jazz used not to show (but used for some internal purposes), and to which I was opposed, for this very reason, when the decision was made to start displaying them.

    Hope this helps to explain. But, again, at the end of the day, if you don't like what I write, how I write or why I write, there's a pretty simple solution....

    Cheers!
    John
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  18. #68
    If a star rating is mandatory - some magazines follow that rule - i believe the reviewer should avoid giving the maximum score to a live album which includes mostly old material. That can change in the remote case the live performance entirely consists of new material (like Neil Young 'Time Fades Away'), but that usually happens only once in a decade, if ever.
    Sure, there are live records that tried to be unique and coherent just like a traditional studio album made up of new songs, expecially in the past: i'm thinking of Peter Gabriel 'Plays Live', which to me remains one of the best albums ever full stop, or The Rolling Stones 'Get Yer Ya Ya's Out', but they're just the exceptions that confirm the rule.
    Today, live records consist 99% of whole complete concerts, better if without any studio overdub, so, in my opinion, they're not really 'albums', they're just 'releases', a recorded document of a complete show. Many artists include the introductory opening music as well, as now there aren't anymore timing restrictions: spreading a show onto 2 or 3 or even 4 CDs releases doesn't make any difference.
    Live releases and studio albums are completely different beasts in my book, so star ratings should be treated accordingly.

    peter

  19. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by peterpyser View Post
    If a star rating is mandatory - some magazines follow that rule - i believe the reviewer should avoid giving the maximum score to a live album which includes mostly old material. That can change in the remote case the live performance entirely consists of new material (like Neil Young 'Time Fades Away'), but that usually happens only once in a decade, if ever.
    Not sure I agree with that. There are absolutely classic live albums (The Band's Rock of Ages; The Allman Brothers' Fillmore East and The Who's Live at Leeds, to name three) where the band kicks it out of the park and, at least imo, supersedes the original studio recordings.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterpyser View Post
    Today, live records consist 99% of whole complete concerts, better if without any studio overdub, so, in my opinion, they're not really 'albums', they're just 'releases', a recorded document of a complete show. Many artists include the introductory opening music as well, as now there aren't anymore timing restrictions: spreading a show onto 2 or 3 or even 4 CDs releases doesn't make any difference.
    For me, it all comes down to the performance and how it measures up to original studio recordings, plain and simple. Some bands are simply better live than in the studio, so I don't think they should be precluded from five-star consideration. But, of course, this coming from a guy who has just admitted to hating star ratings

    Quote Originally Posted by peterpyser View Post
    Live releases and studio albums are completely different beasts in my book, so star ratings should be treated accordingly.
    Yes, I can agree with that....but not that live albums cannot be better than their studio counterparts and, therefore, deserving of a better rating.
    John Kelman
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  20. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Frankly, I hate star ratings for exactly the reasons you cite. ... AFAIC, the words are far more important in articulating a writer's - well, at least, this writer's - view on any subject.
    Fwiw I wasn't trying to be critical or pedantic, just observing how funny or misleading those ratings can be, especially considering how so many things change with time and context. Nothing against the people who (have to) give them, who can have as much trouble explaining them as anyone else. Thanks for so thoroughly offering your own background thoughts all the same--it's always interesting to see how the gears work in more detail, so to speak.

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    ...it's always interesting to see how the gears work in more detail, so to speak.
    Or don't....

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    Fwiw I wasn't trying to be critical or pedantic, just observing how funny or misleading those ratings can be, especially considering how so many things change with time and context.
    No worries, man...I wasn't aiming my ire at you, but, rather, the "other" poster, who just seemed to want to find some way...any way...to take me down. Like I said, I've no issue with constructive criticism or pointing out errors, but I don't really think I need to defend myself to someone who seems, at least to me, to be just picking a scrap for no other reason than to be argumentative (and inaccurate).
    John Kelman
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