Virtual XI: individual album judgement by yours truly


Ancient Mariner
Explanation -> here

Virtual XI (1998) by individual members:

9,3 Stallion Duck
8,9 Perun
8,5 Jeffmetal
8,5 LooseCannon
8,5 Vap
8,3 Albie
7,9 Zare
7,8 Eddies Wingman
7,8 maidenhead1996
7,4 Forostar
7,1 bearfan
7,1 mckindog
7,0 national acrobat
6,9 Fugazi
6,5 Black_Thunder
6,4 NightProwler666
6,3 taker64
5,9 Donner
I had got the feeling that Virtual XI was going to be added to the voting list soon, so I have been listening to it a lot lately, so what has happened as a result?... well it has gone up in my estimation, which I am pleased about. The whole voting process in general has made me go back and rethink my opinions on all the albums... which has been 100% positve.
Perun said:
I finally got around to voting for the rest of the VXI songs. My comments are very shallow, but you have to forgive me. You guys know those energy bars that go from green to yellow, orange and red? Mine is closing in on black, currently.

Added Perun. No prob with the comments, mate! I sure see that you need all the energy for the studying (I read your post in the 100,000 replies topic).

Thanks for taking the time, you're "complete" again, just before the last album finishes.  :ok:
The Clansman 10
When Two Worlds Collide 9
Como Estais Amigos 8
The Educated Fool 8
Lightning Strikes Twice 8
Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger 7
The Angel And The Gambler 7
Futureal 6

Average: 7,87
Futureal - 7
The Angel and the Gambler - 4
Lightning Strikes Twice - 8
The Clansman - 8
When Two Worlds Collide - 7
The Educated Fool - 8
Don't Look to the Eyes of A Stranger - 5
Como Estais Amigos - 8

VXI is my #16 album.
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01. Lightning Strikes Twice 9/10
02. The Clansman 9/10
03. Futureal 9/10

04. The Educated Fool 8/10

05. The Angel and the Gambler 7/10
06. Como Estais Amigos 7/10

07. Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger 6/10
08. When Two Worlds Collide 6/10

Based on these ratings:
- Virtual XI album score: 7,63
- Virtual XI is my #15 Maiden album.
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Futureal - 5
The Angel and the Gambler - 6
Lightning Strikes Twice - 7
Clansman - 10
When Two Worlds Collide - 9
The Educated Fool - 5
Don't Look To - 1
Como Estais Amigos - 6
Average: 6.13
I think that's a fairly fair rating. OK "Don't Look To" has a rating that basically equals total shit. But according to Mosh the rest of the songs are all average to above average (which I agree with) with two high climbers in Clansman and Two Worlds...
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Here's what happened with Virtual XI: I heard it for the first time just a few weeks before TFF came out, so it was like getting two new Maiden albums around the same time. I had very low expectations because I had heard bad things about Blaze and this album in particular. Turned out it wasn't bad at all, in fact it was pretty good and there were several songs I wasn't even aware of that I really enjoyed (namely When Two Worlds Collide, which I still like). So it was like a brand new discovery, very cool.

Over time that started to wear off and the flaws of the album became more apparent. One thing that really revealed itself to me first is how bad the production is. Not just the mixing and mastering, but the performance itself. The songs really feel lifeless. As I mentioned in a separate thread, I'm starting to get more into bootlegs lately. I know they played most of these songs live and I'm really curious at how they translated. The lack of energy in Virtual XI makes it a chore to listen to for me nowadays. I vividly remember listening to the album and by the end being a bit disappointed that this album wasn't as good as I thought it was.

Ironically, I discovered The X Factor around the same time and didn't like it. They've sorta switched places since then. I wouldn't give X Factor a 9 (would be more like a 6.5 or 7) but I definitely like it a lot more now, while I enjoy Virtual XI significantly less.

With the ratings, the dramatic changes are for two reasons. The first is, of course, I don't like the album that much anymore. Overall 6 seems appropriate for me. I like it but only a little bit. The second reason is that I took a new approach to rating the songs this time. I tried to be less extreme with my ratings by only handing out 10s and 1s to songs that really deserve it. Even 2s and 9s I was careful with. As a result a lot of my ratings fell and a lot went up. I've found that these new ratings is closer to how I would actually rate them. The only ones that aren't accurate at first glance are POM, AMOLAD (both 10's), and FOTD (4).

I also didn't revisit the songs for the 2011 ratings, whereas I rate while listening now. However, even for back then, an 8 seems really exaggerated for how I felt about the song. I don't remember ever being particularly fond of it.

Re: Daily Song: Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger

This is a hard one. I like it musically, but the repetetiveness is much worse than Angel. There is some great riffs and that guitar sound that I love through the whole album is in there too. So I think I'm gonna give it an 8.

Yea, 2016 ratings might be a bit more honest. :p

As for the 1, I couldn't find anything in the song to enjoy. Even Weekend Warrior got a 2 because I at least found a really enjoyable harmony toward the end of the song. My criteria is that a 1 would be the least amount of enjoyment I could possibly get out of a song. I didn't think I'd give any songs a 1 but I honestly couldn't find anything about it that I liked. This is also relative to other Maiden songs. Sure I'd still probably rather listen to Don't Look To than a lot of other music, but Maiden is my favorite band and as such I hold them to a much higher standard than most other music.

Moral of the story: 2011 Mosh didn't know what he was talking about.
Futureal 8
The Angel and the Gambler 7
Lightning Strikes Twice 6
The Clansman 9
When Two Worlds Collide 5
The Educated Fool 7
Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger 5
Como Estais Amigos 7

Virtual XI 6,75
Futureal - 8
The Angel and The Gambler - 3
Lightning Strikes Twice - 8
The Clansman - 10
When Two Worlds Collide - 5
The Educated Fool - 7
Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger - 5
Como Estais Amigos - 6