So....the great New Zealand Knocker strikes again! Yeah, it's basically a positive blog, but he still manages to have a not-so-subtle dig. I was surprised to read that Finn came after Altitude. The cracks in Tim's voice are beginning to show on Altitude, where as I've never really noticed them on Finn. Many singers peak in their 40s and I think Tim had reached his on B&A. Just listen to the perfect breath control on "In Your Sway", absolutely stunning!

So, have I forgiven the inaptly named Sweetman for the horrible things he said about IK and Intriguer? NAH!

While I know that Sweetman is often one of those love-to-hate guys, and can sometime go too far (he made some below-the-belt comment relating to Neil that I won't repeat here, which meant that Neil unsurprisingly didn't want to be interviewed when he was doing his book), I actually think this is a pretty good review for nailing the power of a lot of the songs. Though the comments about Tim's voice being good only in the early days of the Enz were a little mystifying.

 

Just quietly, I always wondered whether Kiss the Road to Rarotonga was distorted to deliberately mask the vocals….

Sweetman speaks/writes with such authority. Who gave him that authority? So he was a drummer in a band, whose lead singer can't even stay in key:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvcaGJPotd0

I could help him shift some of that flab, my wordy lordy yes I could! I can make The Biggest Loser look like a retirement village! This bitch bites!

(Singing)

Can I have another piece of chocolate cake?

Simon Sweetman, he could sure lose some weight!

 

There, I said it, fat boy, come and get me!

I took off for my morning power walk after getting the above off my chest. I channelled my aggression, pounded the turf, punched the air, listened to Mozart (who says you can't power walk to 3/4 time) and I wondered if I'd gone a bit too far. If you're Simon Sweetman and you're reading this, please refer to my buddy, Bender above. Anyone else, I am sorry if I offended you.

I'm thinking of making SS an offer: If he gets me to NZ, I will get him into shape for free, potentially saving his life. Speaking as a fitness pro, he is an early death waiting to happen. Do I care? Not really, but there's a catch: He has to agree never to write anything about either of the Finn brothers ever again, good or bad. He is to publicly admit that he is not worthy to speak either of their names and to apologise to Neil, Tim and all the fans for any offence he might have caused.

I can dream, can't I? 

Just to play devil's advocate, I have to point out … a lot of what you've said above could have been pointed at Roger Ebert pre-surgery (a journo who got into film criticism, portly, accused of cheapening the world of criticism….).

Just putting it out there. 

Anyway I reckon that review may have had a few people go search their cabinets/visit Real Groovy or the Warehouse/go to iTunes

Originally Posted by unilooney:

Anyway I reckon that review may have had a few people go search their cabinets/visit Real Groovy or the Warehouse/go to iTunes

I reckon so too. It made me think that in recent years, I had kind of neglected both Finn and Altitude, yet that were two of my favourite albums in the mid 90s. I admit to re-listening to both since reading the blog. Both flew fairly low under the radar and are  largely forgotten gems. It is good to see them get a mention in 2013, and hopefully it will result in some new listeners discovering them for the first time.

 

Ok, yes, Finn is a mighty fine album and if more people are seeking it out, thanks to Sweetman's review, I hope they come to love it. It has always been one of my favourites. Sweetman didn't jump on the bandwagon of rubbishing Tim's 1st 2 solo albums, that's interesting.....

Oh, I can't do it! I can't give someone a fair go, when they come out with statements like "Neil of course is the better tunesmith - that's academic." F__k off! That is a matter of opinion! Since when has commercial success been a true indicator of artistic merit? There are many musicians throughout history, whose music has stood the test of time, yet in their own time, they weren't so well received, "Too many notes, Mr Mozart!" Anyone who spouts their personal opinion, as though it is gospel is going to rub me the wrong way!

As for Roger Ebert, I had to google that name, as it was not familiar to me. From what I could gather from Wikipedia, he gave relative rather than absolute reviews. So if he had been a music critic in the 1980s, he would have scored Escapade with the average SE fan in mind....and scored it pretty poorly. Maybe I should have read more, but I fail to see what Ebert had in common with Sweetman, other than a weight problem.

I can't even find Sweetman's review of IK, the link was in the topic lead, which no longer exists under the new forum system. I did, however find this:

Originally Posted by aFINNity:
Now I wish I'd never read it. A$$ is WAY too kind a description. Tag a -hole on the end and you might be half way there. That is the most disrespectful excuse for journalism I have read, since the now infamous Intriguer review. To say that, "these days Tim's biggest asset is his surname" Mad (cue:"I See Red")
At least he refrained from insulting Tim's immediate family. When he referred to Sharon Finn as , "Linda", I really was disgusted. Since the Intriguer thread had degraded to another sh!te-fight (god, those 2 crack me up!) and subsequently been closed, before I had the chance, I am going to say it here: THAT'S MRS FINN TO YOU, YOU MAGGOT!!!!
Next time I'm in NZ, I hope Sweetman (who should change his name to Sweet-f__k-all, to sum up what he knows about music) parks his car on the street. I'll show him how creative I can be, with a set of keys in my hand -and let the Intriguer take the blame!

That was 3 years ago! I could still say a$$ in those days, without being censored. Sweetman is still writing reviews and influencing the music-buying public -and I'm still spitting chips.(Sigh!)


Roger Ebert wasn't that well known outside the US, but he was perhaps the only film critic that many Americans would be able to name, and did a show with Bob Siskel that made reviewing less academic and more personal. He had no credentials however: he started off in journalism, happened to be handed the movie review column to cover at the Chicago Times, and flew with it. He did get slack for just just going on things whether he liked them or not regardless of genre (he might give a glowing review to a popcorn film, or a damning one to an intellectual one and vice versa). Still, you got a feeling for what he liked. 
He wasn't as controversial as Sweetman ever was, but he was adamant in whether *he* liked it. And he did get slack for not lowering the standards of reviews! 

While I do wish someone would rein Sweetman in a little in terms of his disparaging remarks (yes, the 'Linda' comment was too far), he is fairly consistent in what he likes regardless of popularity, which I give him props for.

I quite liked this review.  It made want to listen to the Finn album again.  I like that Sweetman knows what he likes and knows what he doesn't like.  To me, that's no big deal.  Nobody said you had to like the entire Finn catalog to be a fan.  And come, it is academic that Neil is the better tunesmith.  Tim himself would probably even admit to that!  And I don't think it's because Neil is just naturally more gifted than Tim.  I think Neil legitimately works his *** off when it comes to writing songs, whereas Tim is more likely to stick some pretty words to a pretty melody and call it a day.  That's seldom good enough for Neil who has to labor over a song for months or even years before he's finally happy with it.

Ha ha, you tried to say naughty word and got censored! 

Ok, got my coffee, now I can think straight at 6 in the morning. No, I'm not going to take the bait. I could, but I won't.

One thing I can say for Sweetman's review, it sure livened things up around here!

Oh, who am I kidding? "Stick some pretty words to a pretty melody and call it a day", that is just insulting! I have to say though, some of my best work has come to me very quickly. It's almost as if it's coming from another place and I have to write the damn thing down before I lose it.

I refuse to engage in another battle of "who's better?" It's a dead argument, because there are no winners, only opinions.

Well, I actually signed up to stuff.co.nz, so I could ask SS a question. If he answers in the affirmative, I am going to politely tell him what I think of him. It's a moderated site, so I'll probably just get kicked off, even if I am polite.

I'm actually surprised I didn't get in the sh!t here, for the comments I made about SS's weight.

What good would that do, afinnity? I know he's said negative things about an artist you love, but why waste your energy on being vindictive. I'm sure he's heard far worse and you're not gonna change him, you'll only compromise yourself. And yes, making fun of someone's weight is a low and petty path to take.

 

Besides, it wouldn't reflect well on the rest of us Frenz...

I'm very sorry. I knew I'd gone too far and was fully expecting a stern word from Deb. I was p!ssed that SS can't even write a positive review of a FB album, without putting more sh!t on Tim and I went into auto-bitch. It won't happen again.

Who's Amanda Palmer? Should I know? Please don't tell me. I'm with Neil when it comes to popular culture, ignorance is bliss, though I have been exposed to the gangnam dance.

I liked that bottle of absinthe remark. I was drunk on that particular drop the 1st time I heard Intriguer. I fell asleep on the couch, thinking, what a crappy album! I changed my mind after I sobered up and played it again. 

Were you here, unilooney, when SS slammed Intriguer? Things got pretty feisty and Deb closed the thread before I'd even had a chance to sober up and listen to the album.

Fans feel protective, I think it's only natural, especially when they've copped their own flack for being fans, or for the level of their fandom. SS made a remark about Tim years ago, that I can neither forgive nor forget, though it had nothing to do with relieving oneself on stage. Make hateful comments and people are going to hate you.

I don't think SS cares, he probably gets off on it! Maybe I should take a leaf out of his book.

Yeah, he really doesn't, though he is surprised at how quickly any intelligence can disappear from the comments

 

No, I am not bothered by what people say. Fans are—by definition—fanatical. It’s not their job to see through the hype. That’s my job. And if they want to take their frustrations out on me because I said something that didn’t sit well with them about their favourite artist, then I understand that. …I’ve had people pick at my weight, my appearance, I’ve had people tell me they will throw bricks through the windows and set my house on fire. And the fact is none of this will ever happen.

People get upset. People don’t like being told they have bad taste. They strike out. They accuse me of getting personal, but if they have that much of themselves invested in the music then they’re the ones that have made it personal from the get-go. This is what happens with music and arts-related experiences and products. I invest a lot of myself and my time in music and arts too. I love far more music than a daily blog can ever explain. And yet I’m very lucky to have that platform, that forum to at least have a go at expressing some of it. But I don’t want it to be the only thing I do—express love for music. If you love everything then that creates very little actual value, if everything is five stars then it might actually all just be three stars too.

 

Personally, while I don't like everything he says, I on the whole enjoy Sweetman's stuff and On Song (though I'm gutted it seems to have disappeared somewhere while moving house). He knows his stuff, and if prepared to damn an artist for one album and then give a rave review the next, which is pretty much all you can ask for in a reviewer (as opposed to that infamous NME reviewer who had a pathological hate of Neil after his artsy uni flatmates played Woodface to death).

 

[EDIT: OK, reading some other reviews, the second comment may not be true, as he's been accused of making up his mind before going to some gigs. Never mind] 

 

Speaking of the review, international people will be happy to know that Finn is on Spotify (I have a copy on CD but it's in a box in my parents' house on the other side of the world.)

I like to think that we're a mature fanbase capable of accepting criticism and responding to it in an intellectual way.  I agree that attacking Sweetman's weight or personal life only makes us look bad.  He's a critic and he likes to rile people up with his reviews.  That's his shtick and he's good at it.  I mean, sure it's just his personal opinion, but that's all reviews ever are, and while I don't always agree with his assessments, he has made some good points and provoked some interesting discussions from time to time.

 

So maybe he thinks some Tim Finn albums stink.  Hey, who doesn't?  It's nothing to cry over.  There is no artist who can win over every critic.

As someone who's never heard of Sweetman, I read that review and didn't find anything offensive about it. He clearly loves the album. The digs were very slight, and, actually pretty spot on. Neil IS the better tunesmith, and Tim is more likely to throw out a lightweight song than the OCD Neil. Most of Tim's songs are great, but he is more likely, at least to me, to have a few misses on his albums than Neil. Not a slam at all, because his highs are VERY high!

Again, this is read in a vacuum, not knowing what else he as written/said about the Finns.

Right.  Let's not behave like Taylor Swift fans.  Watch this video and tell me you don't think this young lady was just being childish.  This is what happens to a company when they criticize or make fun of Taylor Swift.  So, there is no need to go that overboard when someone decides they don't like either of the Finn brothers.  It just makes us look stupid.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOmOb_wcSKE

 

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