Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Morrissey World Peace Is None Of Your Business

Long one of rock and roll's most cantankerous headline makers, the past eighteen months have seen Morrissey refining his troublemaking tactics in new and unforeseen ways. There was the generally well-received but appropriately polemical memoir (issued with winking pomposity on the Penguin Classics imprint, usually reserved for authors of canonical importance), the JimmyMore »


Premature Evaluation: Aphex Twin Caustic Window

By Patric Fallon / June 17, 2014
There aren't many reasons why a finished album would never be released to the public. Most available explanations might involve irreconcilable differences between an artist and his record label, or, even more likely, bureaucratic forces beyond the artist's control. But none of that explains the story of Caustic Window, the so-called "lost album" produced by… More »


Premature Evaluation: Lana Del Rey Ultraviolence

By Tom Breihan / June 13, 2014
There were plenty of good reasons not to like Born To Die, Lana Del Rey's first album, and there were plenty of bad reasons, too. I hated the album, for reasons both good and bad. Good reasons: It was thin and underwritten and brittle and overproduced, its album tracks lacking the grand fucked-out majesty… More »


Premature Evaluation: Jack White Lazaretto

By Tom Breihan / June 2, 2014
Jack White seems to be in a weird life-place right now. As someone who regularly writes news stories about White, writing news stories about White isn't much fun. If you're inclined to build an image of someone's inner life out of the scraps of information that go public, it's easy to envision White as a… More »


Premature Evaluation: Fucked Up Glass Boys

By Chris DeVille / May 30, 2014
According to legend, punk rock began as a reaction against classic-rock excess. But every revolution calcifies into tradition eventually, and every rebellious kid has to grapple with growing up. On top of that inexorable life cycle, we're living in an era of synthesis and quasi-universalism, when most of the taboos that helped keep music scene… More »


Premature Evaluation: Coldplay Ghost Stories

By Chris DeVille / May 13, 2014
Ghost Stories is a breakup album, but it's also a Coldplay album. "Call it magic/ Cut me into two," Chris Martin sings amidst the iridescent churn of lead single "Magic," presumably referencing the excruciating pain that accompanied his much-publicized "conscious uncoupling." But before the song is even over, he's declaring, "Still believe in magic/… More »


Premature Evaluation: Swans To Be Kind

By Tom Breihan / May 5, 2014
Have you ever heard voices? The sound of people echoing around in your head, unsettling you deeply, even when you know they're not real? I have. Only a couple of times. Didn't last long. I was at the library near my house one day once, maybe nine years old, spending hours paging through old movie… More »


Premature Evaluation: Agalloch The Serpent & The Sphere

By Michael Nelson / April 7, 2014
The fifth full-length album from Portland, OR-based black-ish metal band Agalloch, The Serpent & The Sphere, opens with a 10-and-a-half-minute track called "Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation," and it is a mindfuck. The song spends some three and a half minutes laboriously building from near-total silence, and upon finally hitting its groove,… More »


Premature Evaluation: The Hold Steady Teeth Dreams

By Tom Breihan / March 17, 2014
There are two different ways to experience a Hold Steady album for the first time. There is, of course, the first time you throw the album on, the first time you let the riffs reverberate around in your ribcage for a couple of minutes and then blur into the background while you're driving or doing… More »


Premature Evaluation: The War On Drugs Lost In The Dream

By Tom Breihan / March 10, 2014
One afternoon last week, your Stereogum staff put in serious work on an email thread, attempting to figure out which '80s corporate-rock entity, exactly, the War On Drugs sound most like on their new album Lost In The Dream. Among the staff, various theories include Don Henley, Sting, Dire Straits, Born In The U.S.A.-era Springsteen,… More »


Premature Evaluation: Real Estate Atlas

By Chris DeVille / March 3, 2014
It snowed yet again yesterday in Ohio, so I spent the entire day inside with my wife taking it easy and enjoying each other's company. We laid around in bed for a while, fixed up a late breakfast, worked ahead on some projects, watched a few episodes of Gilmore Girls on DVD, spent some time… More »


Premature Evaluation: Rick Ross Mastermind

By Tom Breihan / March 3, 2014
It feels like it's been a lifetime since word leaked out that the actual backstory of William Leonard Roberts II, since we learned that his real prison-guard past couldn't be further removed from the drug kingpin he likes to portray on record. His ability to sell that over-the-top and avowedly fake persona has been a… More »


Premature Evaluation: Pharrell Williams G I R L

By Tom Breihan / February 27, 2014
There was a time, back when Pharrell Williams was the single nerdiest human being whose face appeared regularly on Rap City, when Pharrell's strangulated cat-screech of a falsetto was maybe the most charming thing about him. Back then, Pharrell and Chad Hugo, the Neptunes, were crafting brittle, wriggly, punishing rap beats that sounded like the… More »


Premature Evaluation: Beck Morning Phase

By Tom Breihan / February 17, 2014
Beck hasn't made an album under his own name in six years, but he's done plenty of thinking about albums -- about how they work, about what they can do. He's taken to producing albums for other people, and one of those, Charlotte Gainsbourg's IRM, is the strongest Beck-associated LP since Sea Change (or, at… More »


Premature Evaluation: Beyoncé BEYONCÉ

By Tom Breihan / December 16, 2013
There's some chance that Beyoncé's new self-titled album is the best album that anyone has released in 2013. I don't want to overstate things here; it's not perfect. Jay Z's verse on "Drunk In Love" is pretty bad, and it's pretty inconsiderate that he couldn't show up when Beyoncé was nice enough to record a… More »


Premature Evaluation: M.I.A. Matangi

By Tom Breihan / November 4, 2013
Talking to Pitchfork last month, M.I.A. called "Paper Planes" "an accident": "It wasn't a song we made for the masses. It took two years to get popular, and there were many fights about censoring the gunshot sounds." And she's right; the track took a weird and circuitous route to pop ubiquity; it famously had… More »


Premature Evaluation: Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP 2

By Tom Breihan / November 1, 2013
Pity the noise music underground. Think of it: An entire global scene taking root and flowering over the course of decades, finding strongholds in unlikely urban centers, developing its own crusty-warehouse touring circuit. And now it's an entire network of bands, labels, record stores, venues, festivals -- all dedicated to the pursuit of creating the… More »


Premature Evaluation: Arcade Fire Reflektor

By Tom Breihan / October 25, 2013
Arcade Fire have spent the better part of a decade growing into their own majesty. Funeral, for all its estimable sweep, existed very much in the context of early-'00s indie, with all the scraggly yelping and old-timey pianos that were so in vogue in that Modest Mouse/Bright Eyes era. The ambition and enthusiasm were very… More »


Premature Evaluation: Pearl Jam Lightning Bolt

By Ryan Leas / October 8, 2013
Titles say a lot in Pearl Jam's discography. Not in the sense that they do with any artist -- you know, cluing you into what they're writing about -- but in the sense that the structure of their titles hints at what version of Pearl Jam you're about to get. For the longest time, they… More »


Premature Evaluation: The Dismemberment Plan Uncanney Valley

By Chris DeVille / October 7, 2013
Until now, the Dismemberment Plan's discography has been a near-perfect chronicle of the arc from smartass youthful exuberance to quarter-life crisis to grown-up stability, culminating in the well-adjusted grace of 2001's Change. And what follows such strides into adulthood but marriage, kids, day jobs, and a retreat from the rock 'n' roll lifestyle (after some… More »


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