Pitchfork Can’t Decide Whether to Deceive Readers, Or Merely Confuse Them

Brian Raftery / November 21, 2006

pitchfork.jpgThose of you who read Pitchfork every day–and, Lord, we feel your pain–probably experienced a strange sense of déjà vu while reading today’s review of Let’s Build A Fire, the latest album from indie-pop act Plus/Minus. “Wait a minute,” you said aloud, much to the chagrin of your cellmates. “Didn’t they review this album last week? And didn’t they give it a lower grade?”

Yep, they sure did. And what’s even weirder, they tried to destroy the evidence. After the click-through, proof of how nothing on the Internet can ever be erased.

So here’s the original review, posted on Thursday (November 16). It’s a fairly innocuous write-up, one that implores the reader to “consider them all but out of the emo closet.” The grade? A 6.8. Not too shabby, but hardly a coup.

At some point after the review was posted, however, Pitchfork decided to pull it off the site, removing all links and mentions; it’s like it didn’t even exist. Today, they replaced it with this write-up, which also deems the album a “heart-on-sleeve, borderline-emo pop record.” The grade? 7.3–only a few tenths of a point higher, but a little closer to “Best New Music” status.

So many questions: Why did Pitchfork replace the write-up to begin with? Save for the increased score, it’s not as though the reviews were so drastically different. They could have simply read the original review, realized that it was more harsh than they wanted, and re-assigned it–a dick move, for sure, but one that’s used by the major music mags from time to time, and one that could have saved them the embarrassment of double-dipping. And why, instead of being upfront with their readers, did they sneak around and try to pretend like the first review never happened?

+/- Let’s Build A Fire [11/16/06 review]
+/-, Let’s Build A Fire [11/21/06 review]