Today’s U.2 score handed to the Lucifer negating British Sea Power LP reminded us that Pitchfork can be funny! Sometimes. No, not like when they gave …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead a 10.0 — we mean intentional jokes. Like, we all remember Jet’s golden showers and, perhaps less pissy, the it’s-up-to-you (no really, it’s 9.3) score for In Rainbows (right, showers do lead to rainbows). Then, of course, there are those albums that land a double goose egg. It’s hard to imagine any record’s actually worth a zero (c’mon, really), so we’re ranking those with the jokes. Among the infamous 0.0′s are The Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka, Sonic Youth’s NYC Ghosts & Flowers, the This Is Next comp, Travistan (whose maker Travis Morrison kindly commented on the This Is Next double egging a few months back), Liz Phair’s Liz Phair, etc.

Obviously the comical drubbing is a cute way to reject a record, but its hyperbole can give you a little sympathy for the artist — probably a side-effect unintended (undesired, even). So what’s worse on the band/more effective for the reviewer: the bad review, or the joke review?

As a graphic designer, though, you gotta admit this was a good gag:

It's Up To You. Not, Really.

Comments (75)
  1. jljames  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    Do You Like Rock Music? is so good, it’s a little frustrating that they gave it a joke score.

  2. I enjoyed the recent “6.66″ score given to the Heavy Metal Box (

  3. they gave In Rainbows 9.3

  4. Candice  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0
  5. jujubean  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    in rainbows was a 9.3

  6. >in rainbows was a 9.3

    not really up to us, then? caught it, thanks.

  7. Jerry  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    The review of Louis XIV’s “The Best Little Secrets are Kept” was quite funny.

  8. jerry  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    The review of Louis XIV’s “The Best Little Secrets are Kept” was gold.

  9. Tony  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    God that review of BSP was ridiculous.
    Some of those reviewers deserve to be shot.
    So anything considered “anthemic rock” ultimately has to be associated with U2?

  10. Bender Bending Rodriguez  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    I’ve got a lot of problems with that review. I liked the first two BSP records, but I wasn’t a huge fan, and Rock Music took me by total shock because I didn’t think this minor band was capable of this major music.

    I don’t get the 2000s U2 thing at all, and I get the Arcade Fire comparison even less. I think the reviewer is at full stretch here, reviewing his own theory rather than the record. And to liken this band to the Alarm, which changed musical styles every record in the early-80s to sound like whatever was hot at the time (Psychedelic Furs one record, U2 the next, etc.), is inaccurate. I don’t think Rock Music is a huge departure stylistically from Open Season — it’s just better.

    Again, I don’t care who likes the record or not, I just hope everyone gives it a chance like I did — nothing’s better than an unexpected pleasant surprise. Usually, I only get the “I didn’t think this band could suck so hard” type surprises.

  11. yes – I too feel is quite memorable [and deathly accurate!] ///

  12. bearface  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    people tend to forget that Buddyhead was doing this long before Pitchfork or Vice ever did.

    also, this is my favorite snarky review ever.

  13. thanks for the Louis XIV link, jerry, that was hilarious. i miss nick’s reviews.

  14. wingo  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    Why is it funny that they gave …Trail of Dead a 10? Source Tags is a tremendously beautiful album. I think they would still stand behind that.

    Their more recent albums, on the other hand… *shudder* What happened to those guys? Something un-rockified them in a big way.

  15. ah – BUDDYHEAD. and to that punk “review” – l’orginal Madballs

    were supreme [much like the Nerf Boomerang {in the trees!}]

    Shit – after watching that Nerf commercial I kinda wanna talk about ‘Surf’s Up’.. ..

  16. Les  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    The Kid A review

    “The experience and emotions tied to listening to Kid A are like witnessing the stillborn birth of a child while simultaneously having the opportunity to see her play in the afterlife on Imax”

  17. wes  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    A great one from a while back was this review for Shat – “The Cunt Chronicles.”

  18. ryan  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    My favorite Pfork review is of Har Mar Superstar’s You Can Feel Me, which eventually just devolves into Ryan Schreiber pounding the keyboard in frustration.

  19. oh.  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    What about when someone sent them an email with the name Sufjan and said some girl was pregnant, and then they ran it at the top of the page?

    Or when they got the “scoop” on Jeff Mangum posting on a message board somewhere.

    Those are lolz. And isn’t it lulz now? It’s so hard to be cool.

  20. Joe  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    I burst out laughing at the U.2 score. What an “OH SHIIIIIIIT” moment.

  21. Josh  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    I can’t believe nobody has mentioned this one yet:


  22. Jonathan  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    By funny do you mean assholes?

  23. hey Josh  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    yeah the JET bit was in the intro – like 4 lines in.

  24. franknbeans  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0


    did you read the body of the post?

  25. yan  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    pitchfork, in general, no longer likes rock music. I also thought the ’2000s U2′ reference was way off base and the review in general made zero good points…and was poorly written. I’d question the reveiwer’s ability to recognize artistic merit within music and to me, pitchfork seems to be off base more often than not lately. I think they’ve lost their credibility. More publications/blogs need to call out their BS, instead of falling inline with whatever they say is good or bad.

  26. juano  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    they’re pretentious assholes. who cares what they think?

  27. you guys all probably read every single day.

  28. on drugs  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    anyone else notice how the metacritic system interpret’s pitchfork’s U.2 as a 40% ? How does that add up?

    also its weird how the opinions in Reviews don’t match opinions in Forkcast or what gets covered in News. then again, lots of different writers, sure, but still weird.

    In conclusion: Yes, Lucifer.

  29. carson  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    fuck you stereogum, Source Tags & Codes is a fantastic album. I would absolutely stand by that review.

  30. Jenn  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    Pitchfork is getting so obscure with some of their preferences that in 5 years time, they’re going to be handing out 10′s to records comprised entirely of the bleating of a goat looped over television static.

  31. From Metacritic cache:

    Given e^(2*pi*i/2*pi*i) = e^(1) = e … 1^(1/2*pi*i) has to be equal to e.

    I’m convinced that, for an arc of length x in radians: (cos x + i sin x)^(2 pi / x) = 1.

    show that [(x+y)(xy- 1)]/[(x-y)(xy+1)] = (Sin A + Sin B)/(Sin A – Sin B).

    CADAEIBFEC is a mnemonic for an important piece of mathematical information.

    **THEREFORE we prove the ‘ongoing hypothesis’ that does and *will* continue to suck goat cock[s].**

  32. Anyone remember when P4K felt responsible for ranking all the albums by decade? The 1980′s list was great, especially the slot for Duran Duran’s Rio.

  33. erik  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    i think the biggest lolz for me is how pitchfork gives frothing-at-the-mouth, ecstatic coverage to friends (vampire weekend), family (high places), and employees (get him eat him, single frame).

  34. christian  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    yeah i thought this was awful… especially for a band that they used to be into — big time. at least for In Rainbows, they corrected the joke with a real score, but this doesn’t go anywhere or say anything. It’s one moron assuming he is a genius. looks like once again, if i want to know what a new record is like, i have to look somewhere other than pitchfork.

  35. grover  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    pitchfork gives music a 6.8

  36. DOWN WITH FORKS  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    pitchfork only makes a toxic and confused music scene/industry more poisonous for the real music lovers out there. never before has a king used his power so stupidly.

  37. cnn  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    I saw a news report about the guys who run the site…very nerdy sad looking douches…anything but “cool” guys

    also, if you have ever seen the bands their writers play in, all cred is thrown out the window, it is just pathetic guys who will resemble Jim Derogatis in a few years

  38. Alex  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    “I saw a news report about the guys who run the site…very nerdy sad looking douches…anything but “cool” guys”

    You must be new to this music review biz. Nobody looks cool, otherwise they’d be on television. If they don’t look ‘cool’ to you, that means you’re probably not a writer and listen to Daughtry.

  39. faceless hipster #4913  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    it’s cool to say that pitchfork sucks. it’s like calling a band overrated or saying you liked their old stuff more.
    it’s a useful site for indie rock news, not a hipster shitfest that some people make it out to be.

  40. aj  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    my fav is the lifter puller

    because of all of the references to 3.2% alcohol in the lyrics

  41. Francesco  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    i’m a smashing pumpkins fan but their trashing of “Machina” always makes me laugh, the part about someone whispering in Billy’s ear, “no”.

    and by the way, trail of dead’s “source tags and codes” was sure as shit a 10.0
    excellent at the very least, absolute perfection is a bit much.

  42. I just heard Duran Duran’s Rio two days ago and still sounds pretty great to me. So, what about it?

  43. the truth  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    “it’s cool to say that pitchfork sucks. it’s like calling a band overrated or saying you liked their old stuff more.”

    — no, that’s not the point. the point is that pitchfork has immense power to break AND/OR destroy a bands career. if you don’t believe me, you must not work in this industry. everyone is running scared and pitchfork is, for the moment, something that is taken very seriously.

    the difference between a 5.0 and an 8.0 is gigantic for all of the small-to-medium-sized bands stereogum-types like. i’ve seen both sides in the biz. unfortunately, pitchfork wields its power like a know-it-all teenager. their brand is adolescent angst and ad hominem negativity and it’s depressing that such a force runs our little indie world for now.

    i know it’s fun to read poorly researched, mean-spirited reviews sometimes. and they are a fantastic one-stop clearing house for indie news.

    but – trust me – pitchfork is the tyrant that NO ONE actually likes (including most of the bands it adores), but are all afraid to double cross.

  44. name  |   Posted on Feb 12th, 2008 0

    Referring to Pitchfork as some monolithic entity ignores the fact that it’s just individual reviwers’ opinions. Decline of BSP got a 7.7, Open Season got a 7.8, Krankenhaus got a 7.3. All of these, including the new review were written by different people. So read the reviews if you want but don’t get pissed off or see some big conspiracy.

  45. Elliot  |   Posted on Feb 13th, 2008 0

    If any other music review site did any of these jokes, i’d laugh. But too much of the time pitchfork media’s review(s)(ers) make them sound like assholes. So when they make a joke, their douchebaggery is just further exaggerated.

    Also, i will never forgive them for Zaireeka. Whoever wrote that review should be fired. And that’s from a guy who thought Zaireeka was a pretty weak album, even with 4 cd players.

  46. pitchfork = douchebag

    useful, but you have to feel dirty after using it.

  47. Melissa  |   Posted on Feb 13th, 2008 0

    “pitchfork gives music a 6.8″

    I read that article; I love the onion!

  48. Pitchfork’s dismissive douchebaggery = not so funny

    Stereogum writing about P4K’s co-called “lolz” = very funny

    But not funny ha-ha. Funny sad.

  49. John  |   Posted on Feb 13th, 2008 0

    buddyhead definitely used to give the best reviews. i mean, the shit on everybody, for the most part. but they were definitely funny.

    chunklet is a good alternative nowadays.

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