Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rock VORP - Sports Guys Making Music Lists

VORP stands for Value Over Replacement Player, and there's an interesting and entertaining essay about computing a VORP (or VORM) for each member of a band at espn.com's grantland.  It's much, much, much more subjective than the similar metric that exists in sports, but that's largely why it's entertaining to ponder.

I thought the most debatable part of the algorithm was part 3 in which the author states:

In order to calculate someone's "Real" Rock VORM (RRV), we need to multiply his or her personal ARV by the "established value" of the group itself. A group's established value encompasses all aspects of its existence (musical and otherwise).

What follows is a list of influential bands with a rating of 1 for the Beatles and something less than that for everyone else, sort of like the BCS standings.  Scroll down to part III to see the band ranking part of the equation.  Unlike some other lists, he nails the top 3 in proper order (see my earlier post for further commentary on the top 3 classic rock bands), but then things get a little nutty.

Pizacatto Five is tied for fourth with Hendrix, The Beach Boys, and VU?  Husker Du is in a mid tier spot tied with Wings and REO Speedwagon.  I just like it that he tried to make an algorithm that could rate all 3 of those bands.  He acknowledges that it's an incomplete list, so The Who, among others, didn't get ranked at all.  Neither did The Jam.  The VORP/VORM equation must not work for mod or mod revival.

The Pixies come in every so slightly behind ZZ Top, and The Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments come in ahead of Journey and The Fall, who are apparently equals.  Aerosmith comes in behind Dokken, ahead of Grizzly Bear, and equal to Black Oak Arkansas.  I guess that's what happens to American Idol judges.  It's just a fun list.  I don't even feel much need to argue with any of it (except Pizacatto Five) because it has such high entertainment value.

If you like The Carpenters or Thin Lizzy, you'll love the list.  They're both way up there.  I assume that's a function of getting regularly name checked by the hippest of the hipsters.  Anyway, check it out yourself.  It's a good read.

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