I think it’s hard to have a one-sided opinion of track-by-track album reviews. For many albums, such as The Wall by Pink Floyd, track-by-track reviews are irrelevant because the album was made to be enjoyed as a whole. However, albums such as Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun are mainly driven by strong singles, so a review of the individual tracks would be appropriate there. It honestly comes down to which album is being reviewed, as all albums are made to be enjoyed differently.
They make me shake my head and say “noob” when I see page long track-by-track reviews in the comments of the iTunes store. Albums are ideally made to be enjoyed as a whole, and reviewing them as a collection of singles, I think, misses the point. How does that work when you rate fourteen tracks on a 5-point scale? Do you sum the numbers and divide by 14 to get the album’s overall score? If so, how do you reconcile weak tracks dragging down great ones? If not, how do you reconcile the overall score being different from the average?
I’ve never really cared for them. While I agree with Brandon that albums should be enjoyed as a whole, and therefore reviewed as a whole, I don’t think that it makes a person a “noob” for reviewing albums track by track. Instead, I see it as “that reviewer enjoys albums in a different way that I do, and that is okay.” As much as I believe that my opinion is the right opinion, it is only the right opinion for me. As I say about most things, different strokes for different folks.
And that’s why Alex is a better person than me.