Bryant over at Part Time Music just posted this awesome, in-depth review analyzing Pitchfork’s rating system, due to Toro Y Mois’ obviously underrated Pitchfork review. You can read it all here, but below are the general conclusions:
* All albums scoring 8.6 and higher was automatically made Best New Music.
* If you are a metal fan, you’ve gotten royally screwed over and overlooked by p4k. Only two albums were selected for BNM within the past year: Sunn O))))’s Monoliths & Dimensions and Isis’s Wavering Radiant (both with scores of 8.5). Adding insult to injury was that out of the 15 albums that scored an 8.5, 11 of them made BNM. Two of the four that didn’t make the cut were metal-related records (Baroness’s Blue Record and Converge’s Axe to Fall) — both occurring on days when no other record made BNM.
* Another one of the four albums that ranked 8.5 and was not stamped with a BNM was contemporary jazz musician Jon Hassel’s LP verbosely entitled Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street, supplying another example of a high performing album from a more obscure genre getting the shaft. In p4k’s defense, Yacht’s superb See Mystery Lights was BNMed that day which leads me to my next point…
* If you release a great record, make sure you don’t get reviewed on the same day as another great record. I don’t have an individual statistic for this, but I often saw high scoring albums (8.2-8.5) not get a BNM because another even better (or same ranking, just more hyped) album was reviewed the same day.
* If you are a hyped record or are an established act, you have a better shot of getting a Best New Music when you are on the cusp. Now this seems kind of obvious, but there were some egregious instances where this occurred. Of the 41 albums that scored an 8.1 and 8.2, five were chosen as BNM: Surfer Blood’s Astro Coast, Atlas Sound’s Logos Cass McCombs’s Catacombs, Bill Callahan’s Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle, and Wavves’s S/T
* Yeah, I have no idea what they were thinking BNM-ing that Mos Def record (the lowest score and, out of 36 records that scored an 8.0, it was the only one to get BNM-ed).