Except NPR writer and former L. Times critic Ann Powers, whose in-depth review sparked outrage from the beloved pop star and her fans on social media. To write about me is nothing like it is to be with me.
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Last week's merciless onslaught of negative reviews for the new Arcade Fire record, Reflektor, sparked a conversation here in the All Songs Considered office about the weight of a writer's words, and whether those words have any real effect on a band's level of success success in this case being album sales, or otherwise building a fan base. Twenty years ago or maybe less , a negative review in print could kill a band. One out of five stars or a two out of 10 meant no one would buy the record and few people would turn out for live shows. In some cases it was the difference between a band getting picked up by a label or remaining forever unsigned, living mostly in oblivion. These days, I'm not so sure negative reviews have as much of an effect. If someone wants to know whether or not they like a record, they'll probably just listen to it online somewhere.
Now, some music for kids and the parents who are trying to reduce the presence of the Internet in their lives. Stefan Shepherd has this review of two albums that both encourage creativity off-line. But a couple new kids albums look to inspire them to do just that. On their new album, "Wired," Seattle trio Recess Monkey celebrates makers with songs about school dioramas, duct tape and Legos. MONKEY: Singing Brick by brick by brick - brick by brick by brick by brick - brick by - don't walk in bare feet 'cause the blocks are littered around. Find a piece of green ground, sit down and build up a tower. Made a castle once that reached above our big bookshelf. But over the course of 11 albums in just nine years, they've also mixed in a bit of a pop punk sound - appropriately for an album about playing off of the grid. The band recorded this new album on tape, which makes the song "Batteries Not Included" apropos. Can't find any batteries.
Sound Opinions. Airs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p. Jim and Greg explore the value of analog listening in an increasingly digital world.