Not entirely surprised that Pitchfork Media has handed our dearly beloved Fleet Foxes an exceptional 9.0 rating and "Best New Music" tag for their fantastic debut released on Tuesday, given the amount of attention they've already put on the band this year. Fleet Foxes whole-heartedly deserve it. And they deserve to play the Pitchfork Music Festival happening next month. But I wonder if these sort of arbitrary ratings are meant to reflect their already confirmed PMF line-up as a "See, I told you we know what's good" response. Where is the conflict-of-interest line drawn between the ratings and the festival bookings? Before we answer that, let's look at some of the headliners and see how well their most recent release(s) have rated:
Mission of Burma (9.5 for the reissue of Vs., which they will be playing live for the "Don't Look Back" series on Friday)
Animal Collective (7.3 for Water Curses EP/ 9.3 for Strawberry Jam)
The Hold Steady (7.5 for Live at Fingerprints/ 9.4 for Boys and Girls in America)
!!! (8.0 for Myth Takes)
Vampire Weekend (8.8)
Dizzee Rascal (8.4 for Maths and English)
Fleet Foxes (9.0)
Spoon (6.7 for Don't You Evah EP/ 8.5 for Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga)
Dinosaur Jr. (8.4 for Beyond)
Spiritualized (8.4 for Songs in A & E)
M. Ward (7.4 for She & Him's Volume One/ 6.9 for Duet For Guitars #2)
Ghostface Killah (8.0 for The Big Dough Rehab)
Les Savy Fav (6.4 for After The Ball Drops / 8.3 for Let's Stay Friends)
Total amount of reviewed records in my evidence: 18.
Sum of ratings: 146.2
Average rating. 8.1222222.
Obviously, Pitchfork doesn't want to book bands they don't like for the festival. But maybe it wouldn't feel so conflicting if they actually stepped out from behind the computer monitor and had the balls to put someone like the 0.0-rated Jet in Pitchfork Media Festival line-up.
What does the number rating mean, anyway? It's like those bands who got an 8.0-8.9 were basically being told by Pitchfork, "I love your record a lot, and it will be in my music poll top ten at the end of the year, but you still only get a B." The bands nonetheless still take it as praise.
At least Fleet Foxes were able to squeeze an A- out of those fuckers.