Monday, August 8, 2011

"David Comes To Life" By The Numbers

I caved yesterday and bought Fucked Up's David Comes To Life (my listening priorities have been elsewhere). I loved Fucked Up, and I love this beast of a record, perhaps as much as I did the last one.

I haven't necessarily loved the reviews, many of which seem pro forma. I set about determining how standardized reviews of DCTL have been, by picking out commonalities among the 28 reviews available online through Metacritic. If I had to spend another afternoon doing this, I might track occurrences of the phrases "arena," "pop," "American Idiot" and "ambitious." Extra demerits to Rolling Stone for describing Pink Eyes' vocals as a "barf-yowl." Here's the data, with the number of reviews out of 28 noting:
  • That David Comes To Life has 18 songs: 13 (46%)
  • That David Comes To Life is nearly 80 minutes: 19 (68%)
  • That David Comes To Life is a concept album: 24 (86%)
    • With a plot that is difficult to follow: 16 (57%)
  • That quote lyrics: 3 (11%)
  • That the album has a companion release, David's Town: 2 (7%)
  • That Pink Eyes' real name is Damian Abraham: 16 (57%)
    • That Abraham is physically a large man: 3 (11%)
    • That Pink Eyes shouts/growls/barks etc.: 22 (79%)
  • That Fucked Up have 3 guitarists: 12 (43%)
  • That Fucked Up have 2 guitarists: 1 (4%)
  • That Fucked Up's band name is explicit: 6 (21%)
  • That David Comes To Life is a magnum opus: 5 (18%)
  • That The Chemistry Of Common Life was the previous LP: 11 (39%)
  • Similarities to Tommy, Quadrophenia or The Who: 9 (32%)
  • Similarities to Zen Arcade or Husker Du: 8 (29%)
  • Similarities to the Hold Steady: 3 (11%)
  • That the album deserves four stars or equivalent: 17 out of 33 (52%)
Obviously, the craft comes in choosing which of these datum belong in a review, and how to describe a band's sound. Of course, listening to a record six times and reading the EPK lends itself to similar reviews, and a solid majority of the 28 reviews that I read were basically indistinguishable. I think the next step is a David Comes To Life review generator.

An album like this should inspire strange, intense writing--as I imagine it will in coming months and years--rather than the narrow range of responses that greeted it.

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