Matt Cole

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I don’t know if you can call the marketing campaign a success just because it yielded a #1 album in a week where the only significant competition was a Katy Perry album that had been out for half a month. “Reflektor” actually sold slightly less than “The Suburbs,” and given the intense marketing campaign – to say nothing of the massive profile boost garnered by the AOTY Grammy – I would call that a pretty clear insistence of under-performing, commercially.

That’s just my inner chart geek talking though. My inner Arcade Fire fan doesn’t care how the album performs commercially because it’s awesome.

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November 10, 2013 on Inside Arcade Fire’s Over-The-Top Reflektor Marketing Campaign

Well put.

But think about it from an NME writers perspective: if you start including acts from places like Africa, Asia, or South America, where like 80% of the world’s population lives, how would you ever find room for albums from every sad-sack Brit-Pop warbler and wannabe-soul-diva to play Top of the Pops in the past four decades?

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October 31, 2013 on NME’s Top 500 Albums Of All Time

Well, you’re still right :P

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October 29, 2013 on NME’s Top 500 Albums Of All Time

Multiple people have expressed this exact complaint already.

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October 28, 2013 on NME’s Top 500 Albums Of All Time

Ranking Vespertine over Homogenic is common enough for Bjork fans, even if its not orthodox. Ranking Debut as her best isn’t just strange, its completely bizarre, and I really don’t know anyone, even other Bjork diehards, who would consider it a Top 50 contender on a list like this, It’s not an especially ambitious album, and the songwriting is good but still weaker than anything she did up until Volta/Biophilia.

Like you said, it just doesn’t show any understanding of her progression as an artist. It’s like putting “The Bends” over “OK Computer” and “Kid A” — maybe not *indefensible* as a matter of personal preference, but neglects what made the artist special to their fans and significant to the evolution of popular music as a whole. And yeah, if you’re going to argue for “pop Bjork” over “avant garde Bjork,” “Post” is the obvious choice, since the songs have more depth and also it has her biggest hits.

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October 28, 2013 on NME’s Top 500 Albums Of All Time

Agreed. Love the Smiths, buts its an awful choice for #1.

think “The Queen is Dead” gets overrated on albums lists because it seems wrong to snub such a great band and I guess that’s their masterpiece if you’re inclined to agree that any Smiths album is a masterpiece. It is the best album by one of the best bands, but that doesn’t mean its one of the best albums ever. IMO Smiths singles > Smiths albums.

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October 28, 2013 on NME’s Top 500 Albums Of All Time

Interesting piece. I suppose my major objection would be that a lot of the artists you mention just don’t sound like each other at all (what sounds like Yeezus other than Yeezus? Certainly not Haim or Lorde). Also, that pop acts, pop-rock acts, and crossover hip-hop acts would all be dabbling in the same trendy sounds isn’t especially surprising… if you go deeper into a particular genre you’ll definitely find a lot more diversity of influences and sounds, even a willingness to revel in a particular niche (think Savages, the Knife, Run the Jewels). And then you have acts like Sleigh Bells who really fit your account of what the monogenre is like, but also have a distinctive and immediately recognizable sound.

I think part of what’s going on here is that the reception of a new act or a new single now often depends on whether or not people will want to add it to their playlists. Lorde and Haim can go on a playlist with pretty much anything, and their songs are strong enough that they may well steal the show. It’s a good recipe for turning casual fans into converts.

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October 3, 2013 on Deconstructing: HAIM, Lorde, And The Monogenre

Not sure if I’d ultimately put in my top 10 but I kind of love “The Antidote” from the soundtrack to whatever Twilight movie came out last year. I never would have heard it if I hadn’t come across it on Spotify. Takes her genius for awesome guitar tones and channels it into a sick little arena rock riff. One of her catchier choruses too.

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October 3, 2013 on The 10 Best St. Vincent Songs

Yeah, it’s already a solid song, but the live version is a Top 10 for sure.

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October 3, 2013 on The 10 Best St. Vincent Songs

Perfect choice for #1. “On the Bus Mall” has always been my favorite of theirs.

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September 12, 2013 on The 10 Best Decemberists Songs

It was good for a laugh.

Just so you guys know, the staff of Entertainment Weekly – presumably people who write and read for a living – declared that:

-The Harry Potter series is better than any single work by Joyce, Faulkner, Proust or Woolf (suck it, modernism!)
– Dostoevsky’s novels rank lower than Charlotte’s Web. In Search of Lost Time is apparently not as good as Lord of the Rings.
– There’s room in our collective memory for Stephen King and Ayn Rand but not for Thomas Pynchon or Don Delillo.
– Huckleberry Finn, considered by many to be the most significant American novel ever published, lands at #62, below more Oprah Book Club shit than I care to list.
– Fucking *John Irving* is on the list.

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July 4, 2013 on Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Greatest Albums Ever

Ahem. I guess I had a lot of feels about Bjork there.

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July 4, 2013 on Debut Turns 20

Agreed. I like “Debut”, but to me it’s like listening to “The Bends” or “College Dropout” – perfectly enjoyable albums by artists who were starting to find their own voice but still mostly played by the rules of their respective genres. By the time I got into Bjork, “Debut” was already ten years old and it was hard for me to connect it’s club-pixie character to the art-pop banshee that I knew from “Homogenic” and “Medulla.” Does the album hold-up? Totally. And I think it will always hold a special place for Bjork fans because it’s probably the most fun and least intellectual of all of Bjork’s albums… with “Volta” showing what it sounds like when latter-day Bjork tries to recapture that energy. Even though its kind of cool to think about a world where Bjork continued writing club hits and, I don’t know, became the next Madonna, her mature work (I’m also thinking of “Homogenic”-“Vespertine”-“Medulla”) is just so powerful and rewarding. “Unravel,” “Harm of Will,” “Sonnets / Unrealities XI” … those are the kind of songs that gave me chills the first time I heard them and probably will the 1000th time I hear them. When all is said and done, those albums are the real performance, and listening to “Debut” (even a lot of “Post” IMO) is like watching her stretch before taking the stage.

Still, now that “EDM” is “new” and “cool,” part of me does wish Bjork would come back from her avant-garde wormhole and notch one more club-destroyer… just to show the kids how it’s done.

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July 4, 2013 on Debut Turns 20

^that. Plus, Jay-Z has always made fairly traditional hip-hop records. And who are the other producers involved? Timbaland, Neptunes, Swizzz…. that’s basically the roster Jay-Z’s worked with since before the Blueprint. Bo1da and Mike Will Made It should contribute on-trend but far from groundbreaking tracks, as per usual. Really, of those five, only Timbo can be called an “experimental” producer but (1) he takes a lot more risks when doing R&B than rap (exception: Missy, but see #2) and (2) he takes a lot more risks when working on album-length collaborations with an artist who has their own vision (Aaliyah, Missy, Nelly Furtado, J.T.) .

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July 1, 2013 on Rick Rubin Not Involved With New Jay-Z Album

Nice list of T-Rex songs, but one thing – SIR Isaiah Berlin was a British academic (spent most of his professional career in Oxford). He was born in Russia.

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July 1, 2013 on The 10 Best T. Rex Songs

It actually looks better than the one she wore at her Hollywood Palladium dates. That one was less translucent and obscured her face almost entirely. I guess it’s kind of fun watching your musical idols descend into senility…

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June 20, 2013 on The 9 Best Things At Bonnaroo 2013

I think most ‘Gummers don’t listen to rap unless it comes with the Pitchfork seal of approval. So dumb to hear people who probably couldn’t find their local rap/R&B station on the radio but act like Miguel is the end-all-be-all of R&B or like Kendrick Lamar is the same for rap. When there’s better buzz to be had elsewhere, whether that’s in one year or five, they’ll move on. Cole is actually trying to build a fan base from people who like rap.

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June 19, 2013 on Album Of The Week: Austra Olympia

It’s a great rap album, it’s just a shitty week to be a rapper who isn’t Kanye West. And unlike Yeezus, it is actually a rap album (which is also why its not getting love at the ‘gum but is drawing lots of praise at rap-oriented sites).

The way I see it, Cole is an incredibly promising rapper/producer, but he has yet to find a sound that transcends the sum of his influences (Outkast, Wu-Tang, Jay-Z, early Kanye). But since those four are responsible for about 80% of my favorite rap albums, it’s not hard for me to enjoy an album that’s rooted in that sound.

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June 19, 2013 on Album Of The Week: Austra Olympia

Yah, but if you keep clicking through on the widget you can eventually get out of the embedded player and just stream from the band’s website: http://silenceyourself.savagesband.com/ – seems to not have the problem with the even tracks.

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April 29, 2013 on Stream Savages Silence Yourself