‘Maxim’ Was Right — the New Black Crowes Album Deserves Exactly Two and a Half Stars

Photo: Courtesy of Silver Arrow Records

After much controversy over Maxim magazine's speculative two-and-a-half-star review of the Black Crowes' new album (written by a critic who had apparently heard only its first single), Warpaint finally arrives in stores today. How is it? Well, it's the funniest thing — it's definitely a two-and-a-half-star record.

It's the Crowes' first album since 2001's Lions, and it's pretty much exactly what you'd think — the same well-played, inoffensive, mostly forgettable refried bar blues they've been peddling since 1990's Shake Your Money Maker . On a five-star scale (with one being poor and five being a classic), Warpaint isn't poor, but while it comfortably surpasses fair, it definitely falls short of good. As far as reunion albums go, it's better than some, but even Black Crowes fans probably won't really ever listen to it. Deep down we sort of half-expected there to be one or two great songs that might've earned it that coveted third star, but they never really materialize. And now, having heard Warpaint, we find it almost hard to think of another album more emblematic of everything a two-and-a-half-star record should be. Sure, they flouted a few critical ethics, but in the end, Maxim made the right call and saved themselves 54 minutes.