Amazon Album Reviews

Occasionally, if there’s nothing better to do and I want to kill time I’ll log on to Amazon.com and read some of the user reviews. You know, for shits and giggles. Of course the majority of reviewers are already huge fans and thus most albums, no matter how terrible, end up with 41/2 or 5 stars. Biased to the nth degree and not very thought provoking. On the other end of the spectrum there is a trend towards “funny” or “bogus” reviews being posted and the pioneer of this style of mocking review, designed to get a rise out of the already converted, is a guy by the name of Alan Williamson, based in the U.K.

I’ve posted some of his stuff before, and they’re a kick to read, but it’s the responses his reviews generate that are the real treat. They’re funny as hell and it’s amazing how mad these people get. So…for your pleasure here are a few of Mr. Williamson’s Amazon reviews and the responses from the fans.

Revolver by the Beatles

The “Review”: This is bad even by the Beatles standards. Not even Yellow Submarine or Ringo’s excellent drumming can save this one I’m afraid. Verdict: avoid.

The Response: “Mr Williams you are THE embodiment of bad taste. One just needs to look at your reviews with Kelly Clarkson and Shakin Stevens topping your list of favorites.”

What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye

The “Review”: A perennial favourite of the chattering classes, I purchased this hoping for some high quality soul music of a similar style to the excellent Lighthouse Family – sadly there is no comparison. Firstly there are only 9 songs compared to a whopping 17 on the Very Best of the Lighthouse Family, so it’s easy to see where to go for value for money. Secondly, Mr Gayes’ anti war sentiments seem somewhat naïve and foolish in today’s political climate. Thirdly, Mr Gaye can’t sing and has to resort to shock tactics such as singing in a high voice like a lady in order to sell records. No wonder his career ground to a halt in the early 80’s! Verdict: avoid.

Some Responses: “What? Is this a joke? Who the hell is Lighthouse Family? Marvin Gaye was one of the greatest singers ever. This is not a matter of opinion. If you disagree, you’re just plain wrong. What’s Going On is one of the most important albums ever released. The music and messages are timeless and will continue to inspire, enlighten, and entertain as long as people have the ability to hear. Oh well, have fun listening to your Lighthouse Family, you big dummy.”

…and: “This reviewer is nothing more than a troll and a mockery of himself. He also gave one star to Prince’s Purple Rain, the Beatles’ Revolver, and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, while giving five stars to a release by Hanson and the movie Mrs. Doutbfire. Whether he wants to be taken seriously or not, he’s a joke.”

The movie It’s A Wonderful Life

The “Review”: What a charming and heart-warming piece of movie history this is. It’s nice to think what a positive difference we can make to other peoples lives without realizing it! I am truly touched every time I see this film. Unfortunately I am forced to deduct three stars as the film is in black and white.

A Response: “Are you aware that this movie was made in black and white? Please do use all a favor…please don’t write anymore worthless reviews!”

Legend, by Bob Marley

The “Review”: Most of the songs here are pleasant enough but Mr Marley is no Chaka Demus and Pliers. It is also disappointing to note that Mr Marley reportedly took drugs during his lifetime.

A Response: “Marley was a Rastaman and that involved smoking ganja which was, for him, a religious sacrament. Being “disappointed” enough about this to comment on it seems rather odd under these circumstances. That would imply it’s something he kept under wraps which is certainly not true. There are numerous and well-known album covers w/ him smoking what is clearly a joint, so if it bothered you, why buy any of his work? To save you from further disappointment, avoid almost all music because most musicians have used some sort of drug. Of course he’s no Chaka Demus and Pliers….dancehall wasn’t his genre!”

Middle Of Nowhere, by Hanson

The “Review”: When these lovely ladies burst onto the scene with Mmmmbop back in the nineties it was obvious they had a classic on their hands. The other songs on this marvelous album stand up just as well and I think people will still be talking about Middle of Nowhere 100 years from now. Verdict: very good indeed!

The Response: “They are NOT ladies. Check out their other works such as This Time Around, and Underneath, or The Walk. Not LADIES!”

American Pie, Don McLean

The “Review”: I am a huge fan of Buddy Holly and as such was touched to hear that Mr McLean had written a tribute to his hero. The tune is pleasant enough and I was tapping along happily until we got to the chorus. Why is it that Mr McLean feels it necessary to repeatedly refer to the late Buddy Holly as ‘Miss American Pie’. I think this is a preposterous and inappropriate epithet for such a wonderful musician. A pity.

The Reply: “No, no, no. McLean isn’t referring to Buddy Holly as Miss American Pie. That would indeed be ludicrous. American Pie is the American dream, that safe teenage American middle class happy life, summed up in one phrase. Buddy Holly’s death destroys that life for McLean and introduces stark reality all of a sudden. It’s called a ‘metaphor’.”

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