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Absolutely no sarcasm here: the esoteric National facts you’ve dropped for this post are most welcome. Thanks
After the popular breakthrough that Boxer was, I feel like they would have already Coldplay-ed it by now if they were going to do so. I think were safe (please let us be safe).
I figured either Purple Toupee or Ana Ng would be number one, but no love at all for Purple Toupee! I know it seems like a lazy pick, but that’s because it’s one of their absolutely catchiest songs.
In a similar line with the “Punk Rock is Bullshit.” article, all the negativity thrown at the Mumford and Macklemore’s of the world feels like a shitty misappropriation of punk ethics. It seems like we’ve thrown out all the good bits of punk (not giving a shit about what’s popular, freedom, individuality, independence) and just kept the crap bits (puritanical righteousness, us vs them). The original response of punk or any underground music to shitty pop was not to bitch about it, but to make an alternate reality where it didn’t matter, in other words a positive/creative response, not a negative one.
File the bands in question under “Mostly Harmless”
I agree, but it’s hard to firmly convince some people that Mumford is not very good while something like Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, TMoE, Frightened Rabbit, etc. is genius when they hear a lot of aesthetic similarities. However, these similarities are the kind that the Pandora algorithms notice, i.e. a clinical checklist of parts of music that often have fuck all to do with the whole. I think the real distinction is not about authenticity, which is hilarious considering the statistics how much the average person lies in a day (answer: a lot), or corporate influence (I’m sure there are polls also showing most people accept more money when its offered), but rather about risk. I can hear a song by Mumford or .fun and have to admit its a catchy earworm, but after actively listening to it, I can hear all the reasons why its catchy. In other words, none of their appeal is subtle or risky. The real distinction for me between these seemingly similar acts is the level of surprise their music offers, the fact that they take chances by adding a touch of uniqueness or imperfection that could easily derail the whole thing, but instead makes it perfect (the Japanese terms wabi and sabi come to mind). It’s hard to express all this because what makes great music great defies language; that’s why it’s great! That’s also why good music critics will remain fed.
I had a similar experience seeing Wampire/Foxygen/UMO in New Orleans. Wampire seemed alright, but nothing to write home about. The Foxygen show seemed completely forgettable either because it actually was or was I just a little too sauced. Then UMO came out and were phenomenal and well made up for the preceding mediocrity. I think a lot of folks at the NOLA show were also there to see Foxygen, but UMO got a hell of a lot more reaction. We didn’t get shit for an encore though and a Jay Retard cover would have been the cherry on top.
Also, even if the story behind Wampire’s name was something like “a burning bush spoke to them and told them to name their band Wampire,” it would still be a weak band name.
Thank you for interrupting my plans to check out some new albums this morning by forcing me to listen to half the GBV catalog in order to verify my opinions about this list. Arbitrary or not, these lists are indispensable solely for triggering discography dives. And honestly, what album that came out this month could make me happier than listening to Under the Bushes, Under the Stars right now.
Completely agree on all the similarities with Built to Spill. The two used to be compared pretty often, but it’s interesting to see how differently they ended up. I think the likelihood of at least one more mind-blowing Built To Spill record is greater than a mind-blowing MM record.
I mean ‘their most ambitions.” Ugh
Pink Floyd list on here would be a shit storm and a lot of fun. And I’m not usually such an asshole about things like this, but pretty much any Gilmour Floyd albums go straight to the bottom of the Pink Floyd list.
“THAT GUY” needs to be here. This is serious shit we’re dealing with.
How is it that only two of these song list has The Stars Are Projectors?! It contains some IB’s best one-liners, it’s possibly there most ambitious song, and it’s the cold, cold, heart of their greatest album!
Agreed on Spitting Venom! Finally realized how great it was a couple of years ago. Like most of We Were Dead…, it takes a long time to grow on you, which is why I think that album doesn’t rank as high among fans
I don’t hear a lot of objections to the ordering of their post-Tattoo You albums, so either Stereogum got it right or no one really cares. Despite heavy Stones listening for half my life, I can honestly say I have not listened to any of the albums after 1981.
Should I consider this list a good guide for diving into to the later stuff or should I not even bother? Any personal, empassioned recommendations for the post-81 material would be appreciated
Indeed. I need to run home and console my copy of In Rainbows and talk King of Limbs down off the roof
I think you’ve successfully delineated the four major sub-specialties students will be able to choose from when majoring in “Radiohead Studies” in the future. This assumes Radiohead will assume some sort of “Wild Stallions” status in said future (fuck it, why not)
Great, so I guess I’m not getting my hash now. Thanks a fucking lot Fionna. You owe me 50 bucks
Also, can we get an extra downvote button for people who come to a music blog and make a comment under a list about how making lists is arbitrary or not worth their, I assume, very precious time. Maybe a double-thumbed gonzo fist turned upside down.
An impossible list to make. I’m shocked I haven’t seen anyone throw out some of the other greats from Trompe le Monde (Planet of the Brine, Letter to Memphis, Distance Equals Rate Times Time, and especially ….MOTORWAY TO ROSWELL) They lack the great nastiness of some their more iconic songs, but still, no love huh?
I might just be in a Trompe le Monde phase right now.
Indeed. That phrase speaks volumes
The order in which I heard their albums throughout high school is the exact reverse order of this list,.No shit.I feel extremely lucky that my introduction to Pavement was Brighten the Corners, which is probably why I like it more than most. I then found a cassette copy of Terror Twilight in a friend’s glove box with a few older tracks on the end and so on. The joy of getting into a band long after the fact.
Also please disregard all whining about these Worst to Best or anniversary posts. I’ll gladly take reading about how awesome Pavement is over reading about small time music biz gossip and pissing matches.
So much of the opinioneering and critique of acts is based on presentation and image, but with Santigold, this just seems secondary to, who guessed it, good tunes. No matter what her image, or role-model qualifications are, she just makes solid music. And her fusion of genres seems seamless compared to the car-wrecks we often hear.
“As a person with little knowledge of her growing fame, I found little connection to this article and what I’ve perceived and continue to perceive about Grimes as an individual, an artist, or the intentions of this individual/artist.”
As someone who uses this site frequently, but not thoroughly or religously, and does not read many other blogs, I have said some variation of this same thing to myself a lot of times. There is a lot to say about music and the blogosphere hidden in the line from your comment quoted above. Music has always been beholden to its context and the personalities of those who make it, but now this seems completely out of hand. I try to be strong-minded, but its damn near impossible to separate yourself from the shit load of hype and commentary and bickering about music (especially music that has been around for less than a year), before you give it a full listen. If I could labotomize myself to remove the “knowledge of her growing fame” before hearing a new artist, I’d seriously consider it. Picture me with headphones and a power drill in an homage to the closing scenes of Pi.
P.S. – I still love music criticism (I’m here arent I), I think I’m just fucking overwhelmed.
btw, enjoyed your comment (article?)
Boy she really stuck it to everyone. After this bold, anti-establishment statement, I wonder how long she took to cash her massive check from the corporate sponsers of the Super Bowl. Also does she know that in America we will allow gruesome violence and borderline profanity on primetime TV, but people (and the Supreme Court) think their children will turn into nymphomaniac anarchists if they see a boob of half an ass on TV. By this measure, the “wardrobe malfunction” was way more subversive.
I think a lot this hype-boom-let down cycle with LDR and lot of other artists is due to a clash between a singles-driven pop world and an album driven indie-world that are constantly becoming more intertwined. If people who like original, challenging music are also going to like pop stars and if bands who make solid critically-acclaimed albums are also going to have singles that appear on the radio, we need recalibrate some shit. I think the expectations for a great LP from a pop artist with a few good singles (both to make one and for it to be any good) needs to be lower or , here’s a thought, don’t make an album’s worth of material if you only have a few good songs. Who says you need LPs anyways. I think a lot of artists would be better off just releasing singles and having their LPs be ignored like so many Top 40 artists. If LDR had done this, many of the people on this blog would still be happily listening to Video Games and not switching off this album after 5 tracks. In the meantime, she could be polishing up the best material on said album for an EP release later this year just as the first wave of hype wears off and everyone has forgotten about her SNL performance.