In reading their Top 200 albums of the 2000s list (half of which is now out), I'm annoyed at the way some of the reviews are purposefully written with important pieces of information left out. For instance, this line from the summary of Ryan Adam's Heartbreaker (#122): "Emmylou Harris' harmony on the soul-draining "Oh My Sweet Carolina" recalls her chemistry with Adams' icon". It would be easy enough for the writer to include the words "Graham Parsons" in this sentence, so that the uninitiated could look this Parsons fellow up and see what the fuss was about...but he keeps it purposefully oblique, purposefully keeping YOU in the dark, if you aren't already cool enough to know who "Adam's icon" is. (Besides which, one could argue that Adam's icon at that point in his career could just as easily have been Jeff Tweedy as anybody else).
Or in perennial favorite Pitchfork writer Tom Breihan's review of Mastodon's Leviathon (#126), where he says that it's "a concept album about a Herman Melville novel". Why doesn't he just come out and say Moby Dick? Is he just bored with that straightforward style of writing? Is he hedging his bets because it's equally plausible that this album was about Billy Budd? Or is he just concerned with trying to sound a little bit cooler than you?
I just feel like reviews or criticism should help guide you, and open you up to more possibilities, not hold it above your head that the reviewer knows more than you. Of course they do, they're supposed to, but they're also supposed to help educate you about areas in which you'd like to know more. Maybe these reviews are even doing that, in their own way. Maybe after reading the Heartbreaker review some kid is doing google searches trying to figure out who Adam's icon is...but I'm still annoyed by the fact that such a person would have to put in the effort.