These artists have certainly proved popular with their audience, yet, not so popular with Pitchfork.
As you’re perhaps well aware, Pitchfork is an American online publication which has risen to such prestige. Since their origins in 1995, they have gone on to become one of the leading brands in music journalism, with their reviews of new releases often eagerly anticipated. They are considered hugely influential and are well known for establishing and forecasting musical trends, being able to ensure an artist more exposure almost overnight; negative or positive.
Although these artists are undeniably popular, Pitchfork has found fault with their otherwise admired projects. This isn’t to say that they have disregarded their entire career, but they have been surprisingly critical of certain releases. So, here goes:
Kings of Leon (Lowest Rating: 3.6)
Southern rockers Kings of Leon have had an overwhelmingly successful career and continue to go strong today. They’ve released some terrific albums, making it pretty surprising that Pitchfork hasn’t really taken to any of them. Their most recent album – Walls -received a 4.5, which actually surpassed the publication’s score of the band’s most applauded release – Only By the Night – which only received a measly 3.8.
The group’s highest-rated studio album by Pitchfork remains Because of the Times, which still only managed a 5.4. Thankfully, their reviews have failed to determine their success.
Childish Gambino (Lowest Rating: 1.6)
The multi-talented Donald Glover has seemingly captivated the globe in recent years, thanks to his acting career and his career as rapper and musician Childish Gambino. He released his debut studio album – Camp – in 2011, with Pitchfork quickly declaring him someone to shrug off.
Camp received a shocking 1.6, despite many fans of Glover’s continuing to praise it to this day. It’s actually a pretty fantastic album. Since Camp, Pitchfork has clearly warmed to him. They awarded Because the Internet a 5.8, which many still see as a low score, and then finally arrived at a 7.2 for his third commercial release “Awaken, My Love!”.
Tool (Lowest Rating: 1.9)
American rock band Tool are certainly an oddity but have permeated the landscape of rock music since their inception. They’re incredibly well regarded within the genre for their innovative approach to the medium; yet, their third studio album Lateralus didn’t exactly strike Pitchfork positively.
Although giving the group’s most recent record – 10,000 Days – a 5.6, they really went against the popular opinion with Lateralus, shackling it with a 1.9. Strange, indeed.
Post Malone (Lowest Rating: 4.5)
After riding with the success of popular artists such as Ariana Grande and Lil Peep in recent years, one might have expected the publication to similarly the back the accessible and marketable grandeur of Post Malone. However, this wasn’t exactly the case.
The musician is one of the biggest on the planet right now, but his debut studio album Stoney did little to impress Pitchfork, who gave it a 4.5. It’s not exactly condemning, but for the buzz surrounding the artist during its release, it was a little underwhelming. They did consider his follow-up effort Beerbongs & Bentleys an improvement with their rating of 5.6. However, most expected them to ride the waves with Post; instead, they’ve stuck to the shallows with the minority.
Yung Lean (Lowest Rating: 3.6)
Swedish rapper Yung Lean took off with the release of his debut studio album Unknown Memory in 2014. The record boasted a sound many of us couldn’t quite put our finger on, with most who began to enjoy it ironically declaring it something genuinely special in the end. Undeniably, the young producer had something special; with Pitchfork, they felt he had a 3.6.
They argued that Lean was making “…cheap copies of his role models.” With the performer, there has always been a sense of overt reference, but in his defence, he borrows from the greats in a way that is surreally comical. There’s something admirably dweeby about his earlier work; like a kid living out his dreams… Lean has always been a kid living out his fantasies, even before they materialised. Pitchfork has since come around, giving his 2017 effort Stranger a 6.8.
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