A reader writes in:
Did you happen to see this comment on The Village Voice review of Icky Thump by Nate Cavalieri? It seems like reviewer Mr. Cavalieri has worked with Jim Diamond in the past (Diamond famously sued Jack White). It is difficult to say what Mr. Cavalieri’s relationship with Diamond is like now, However it seems to be bad journalism on the part of the village voice to have a potentially biased person (whether it be positive or negative bias) review an album. I can’t help but feel reading the review that there was sort of ulterior motive since it was so malicious. It is interesting to note that Cavalieri has worked with Diamond in the past and he essentially says in his review that Jack’s best work are essentially in the days when Diamond engineered his albums. It is a bit suspect, they essentially gave the album a score of 30/100 a score that seems remarkably low even if you didn’t enjoy the album.
Of course bias is an inevitability in journalism, but it seems like you might be able to do something it either with your blog or by making a phone call to the Village Voice asking for a comment. Whether or not the village voice is aware of the potential bias, perhaps they should be made aware. I would do it myself but i don’t have an influential blog or anything like that, and this seems to be important. The sad thing is that the metacritic tabulation of nationwide reviews for the album are absolutely fantastic, however the Village Voice review pulls down the weighted average score of the album to 80 (Generally favorable reviews) as opposed to Get Behind Me Satan’s status of “Universal Acclaim”. Let me know what your thoughts on this, if you’d like.
“Nate, are you being totally honest here? Is this album really that bad? Or do you have close personal ties to someone who sued the White Stripes last year, and lost?
Something (Diamond v. Gillis, Case Number: 04-73889, U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Eastern Dist. of Michigan) tells me it’s the latter.
I would be more prone to believe your scathing review of Icky Thump if you were not so blatantly compromising your integrity. You seem to be hiding something and you are misleading your readers.
Fellow readers, in the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Cavalieri was a former organist/ keyboardist with The Sights, who were produced at Ghetto Recorders studio owned by Jim Diamond, who sued the White Stripes for royalties just last year. Mr. Diamond lost his case in a jury trial. He was awarded nothing.
In Detroit, the music scene is a small world, and Mr. Cavalieri’s path often crossed with Mr. Diamond’s, beyond a Sights connection.
Mr Cavalieri, you are not in the position to be judging this album. As a critic, you are obviously not expected to like all albums you come across. And as a native Detroiter, it’s actually refreshing that you don’t just toss 4 stars in the general direction of every Detroit band that releases an album. The problem with this review is that you are knowingly vulnerable to a serious bias, yet you failed to clue in your loyal readers to your potential (likely?) sway.
Perhaps your next review will be more honest and accurate. In the meantime, you have denied your readers an honest review of a (damn good) album.
Do you cry foul also?