I just think the articles argument is weak. The main critiques are that Part 2 wasnt as good as Part 1. That he was embroiled in controversy with Take Back the Night the feminist organization. No mention that several weeks later the organization dropped the lawsuit charges, he wasnt sued. So thats a win in my book. Another critique is that Blurred Lines was censored by YouTube while Tunnel Vision wasnt. Not sure how thats a loss for JT. And that JT is viewed as “conservative” as a result. Not sure if Chris is aware of any pop culture in 2013, but from where I sit, the whole fancy dress, suit and tie, look is the popular thing right now. From Barney Stinson, to Don Draper, to Suit and Tie the song, to AF’s tour dress policy. Not to mention Tom Ford being mentioned in more songs this year than I can ever remember. Being fancy and conservative in your dress and style is in right now. Not sure I’d look to NY TImes to be the arbiter of whats hot in terms of style and fashion!
The critique of Holy Grail also shows Chris’ complete ignorance on the subject. How was Holy Grail the album received? How was it received critically? From my standpoint it wasnt his strongest and critics agreed. What I did here often was how great the production was, and then how great JT was on the album, specifically on Holy Grail the song. Theres a reason that song is a hit on the radio. And the song essentially plays as a JT song featuring Jay.
And I guess we do know something you dont know Chris. You aware of who the Coen Bros are? This isnt just another film. Any film they do is a big deal and big event. Its guaranteed to be nominated for multiple awards. How a Coen Bros film is somehow turned into a negative for JT is a thing of wonder in this article.
So what do we have? We have Part 2 which didnt do well. And…. And….?
The article reads like a person wanting to come up with reasons to tear JT down a notch.
Anyone who had a pulse in 2013 can surmise pretty easily that JT had an incredible year.
Iron Fist, what other pop music have you been listening to in 2013?
I feel the same way. I almost feel like 20/20 changed my life. 2013 has been outrageously high quality in terms of pop and r & b music. And ive spent the majority of the year listening to those genres nearly exclusively.
His performance on the VMA’s was critically and fan acclaimed. Chris doesnt know what he;s talking about.
This article is among the most ridiculous Stereogum has ever published. It feels like a obit for someone still very much alive. The guy will have the best selling album of 2013. Will be nominated for multiple Grammies next year and has a legitimate shot at winning Album of the Year. Has one of the most successful tours of 2013 with the Jay coheadline tour, and the tour he’s on now that stretches well into next summer will undoubtedly be one of the most financially successful of this and next year. Did Timberweek on Fallon and created multiple video short classics-Hashtag being one of them. Is GQ’s man of the year. Got the VMA video vanguard award and did a 15 minute performance on the VMA’s.
I fail to see how overexposure hurt him, or takes away from his massive accomplishments this year. Part 2 got mediocre reviews. Big whoop. Its not overexposure. Nor is it a massive dent in JT’s armor. Its one album thats not received as well by critics. Beyond The Social Network has any of his films been big hits with critics?
The guy has a part in a Coen Bros film that will undoubtedly be nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globes.
Anyone who thinks JT is crying in his milk over this is mentally ill. All artists want their work to be received well, but in the long run, this doesnt even register.
Part 1 is album of 2013. and JT is the biggest pop star in the world. No senseless doomsaying article has any credibility to claim otherwise.
All artists have projects that fail. The Beatles had failures. You make the best art you can, and you move on. Sometimes critics love it. Sometimes they dont.
The article is silly and seems to assume a completely asinine and poppycock idea that a guy who well into September was the biggest story of 2013, that somehow an album that didnt hit well is somehow his downfail,
Shame on you Stereogum. Shame on you Chris.
Its like if Adele released 21 and then during that year released a song that didn’t do as well. You really think Adele gives a damn!
Come on man!
I think part of being a creative person is you are restless. You move on. You are constantly searching. Thats just being an artist. You are inspired by Scorsese for one album, then a breakup happens and you write about that for the new record. Thats just being an artist.
However some artists arent willing, or cant do the Radiohead or Bowie thing. Changing it up every album is tough. Its scary. its experimental and its risky.
Once you throw in money you also throw a wrench in the mix. If a band hit it big and made millions off a certain sound and style, it makes complete sense why theyd feel pressure to remain as they are and put out status quo albums that sound the same.
The whole reason why Radiohead is sacred is because few bands pull off what they did. Most bands dont do it. And cant. Or wont.
what does thom mean when he says ” I don’t subscribe to the whole thing that a lot of people do within the music industry that’s ‘well this is all we’ve got left. we’ll just have to do this.’ I just don’t agree.”?
im the same way, I came of age in the indie world having my life changed by Good News, Translatlanticism, Moon and Antarctica, Im Wide Awake, Endless Numbered Days and Funeral.
But I feel like the music that most interests me right now is r&b and pop like you mentioned Disclosure, JT, Daft, Drake, Weeknd, Miguel, The Dream.
I feel the same way about 2013 in rock. Most of my top albums of the year will most likely be non-rock albums.
Maybe you and I have changed? Its possible we have moved on. I know ive disagreed with pitchfork this year, more so than in any other year that I can remember. Most of my favorite albums this year didnt get rave reviews from Pitchfork.
For me the most exciting sounds in the music right now are pop and r&b, and not guitar based rock music
much of these death of indie articles always ignore real trends. The major trend in indie music from 2003 onwards was the increasing mainstreaming and popularity of the genre, starting with Death Cab being mentioned by Seth Cohen, and including things like Arcade Fire and Bon Iver and Frank Ocean winning Grammys.
The idea of abandoning a band because they get popular isnt reality. Which is bizaare since even in 2013 the defining stereotype of a hipster and indie fan is “I only like obscure bands that no one else loves”.
Whats happened in the 2000′s is the mainstreaming of indie and the popularizing of a style of music. And the willingness of a generation to accept ALL styles of music, whether dubstep or indie folk, or straight up pop.
People nowadays dont care if its mainstream pop or a band that has 20 fans total. If the music is good thats the only thing that matters
I dont know. Are HAIM really the band that changes everything? I can think of a ton of other major events from this year alone, as I stated above, that were more important and groundbreaking than Days Are Gone.
Blurred Lines, Pharrell, Miguel, JT, Daft, Disclosure, etc….
I dont really see HAIM as these cultural warriors either intentional or unintentional. I dont see Days Are Gone as changing the music world or the world in general as Nevermind did
alot of it is the commercialization and popularization of indie. As recently as 2002 or so I remember being into underground hip hop. Aesop Rock, El-P, Anticon, Sole, Mos Def, Talib. All those guys were unknown to those in the mainstream. Now in 2013, every single on of them is mainstream. Everyone knows who they are.
Same could be said for the hipster lifestyle, Billysburg, skinny jeans, and indie music including pitchfork.
In 2013, pop is indie. Indie is pop. The lines are indeed blurry. TI and Pharrell both worshipped in the indie sphere, appears on a Thicke song thats the biggest song of the year. JT creates 2 albums, critically acclaimed and becomes an avatar of “cool” and “hip” culture. Get Lucky features Pharrell and is the big hit of the year. Miguel teams up with Mariah to create the song of the summer.
People in 2013 are willing to like ANY music. Tribes and sectors and genre boundaries dont exist. Good music is good music. iPods and iPads rarely are filled with one genre entirely. And often encompass a mish mash of pop, rock, indie, hip hop etc…
Indie become pop. And pop is cool right now
I love In Utero and worship Hendrix but I dont think you can make a determination like that about Iconopop. Bon Iver’s For Emma will be looked back on 20 years from now, and Bon Iver Bon Iver the 2nd album most likely will be as well. For Emma is as minimal as it gets. You arent getting Fenders and amps turned to 11 on it, yet its a modern day classic. Or take more recent examples. Trilogy by The Weeknd. Intimate avantegarde and cutting edge R&B. Again, no amp or guitar used. or Sufjan’s Illinois. Expansive, wild, crazy, but it isnt a rock record at all. More folk than anything else. The XX’s first album. James Blakes first album. Every album I listed will be remembered 50 years from now.
Minimalism is in. I think our generation realizes we can be creative and pour out our feelings just like Hendrix or Zep or whoever did, but we can do it in a variety of ways. Fender isnt the only gateway to honest, raw, and emotional musoc.
The articles discussion about cost and the economy I think is a huge part of it. We all have ipod/ipads/laptops and smartphones. Makes sense we’d make music reflective of that.
Another thing the article should have mentioned is the type of music thats become popular in the last half decade. From Bon iver, to the Indie R&B scene, to James Blake, to the XX,. Minimalism is in. Its easier than ever to record an album on your laptop. Expensive recording studios really arent needed. Im thinking specifically of Bon Iver and How to Dress Well. We as a generation have the power to record albums cheaply and by ourselves. Or the rise in mashup DJ’s like Girl Talk is another example.
The article rightly points out, guitars and amps are expensive and a luxury item. We dont NEED them the way we do a smart phone or a laptop. We dont even need a record contract. We can just record stuff on Garage band or Protools, put it up on Youtube or post it to a torrent site. Or put it on our website for free.
Guitar music will always be around. But I do think our generation is way more open to varying genres than our parents or grandparents were. As the article says, just look at any major festival. The array in musical genres at each festival is astounding.
I think more so what happened is, with the rise of Napster, Itunes and filesharing, our generation got exposed to way more genres and styles of music and therefore isn’t tied into just one genre to express ourselves. We dont have to grab a strat and amp to get hyped. There are many other options.
I think the bottom line is, people expected DG to do something. And expectation is art kryptonite. DG has never done ANYTHING, labels, the masses, or critics expected them to do. Thats just not them.
People came to a show, expecting DG to play in person. Evidently, not aware of the fact artists can do whatever they want. And evidently not aware they spoke about doing this for years.
Id be disappointed to if DG were my fav band and I traveled to see them and paid money, or if I was the venue and had booked them expecting them to play in person, but the fact is an artist can and does whatever they want.
If DG wants to record a rockabilly album and release it via their website in 5 months they can and will do so. If DG wants to disband tomorrow they can and will. If DG wants to never make an album again, they can and will.
As fans of a band, or any artist of any medium we deserve nothing. An artist can be on hiatus for a decade, and promise year after year, new material is coming out soon. They have no obligation to deliver on it. At all. As I said the signing of a contract with a venue does change things, but, they essentially followed the contract. They played, its just they played in a manner that the venue didnt even consider.
I think its a mistake to feel like artists owe us something. I want Damien Rice to record a follow up to 9, but he doesnt owe me or any of his fans a new album. Nor does he owe fans any concerts.
And beyond that, as I said, the bands entire MO can essentially be boiled down to this performance art piece. If you are a fan of DG, then you should be aware and cognizent of their entire way of being since 2011.
Its like going to see Tool, and expecting them to play songs that YOU want to hear. I mean seriously. You follow and are a fan of Tool, yet, you get pissed when they dont play songs you want? You know anything about how Tool has operated since, oh, I dont know, 1992?
im not really sure what the big deal is. Venues and whatnot do deserve a show if a contract has been signed, but taking the point even further, an artist really has no obligation to put on any type of show. The contract was for them playing at the venue. They did. basically. Its just not the performance fans or the venue expected. This is a performance art piece. We know for a fact the band is very concious of how they are marketed, percieved, and viewed. I have no doubt all their videos are carefully crafted. Its clear Zach and Ride aint just spewing out nonsense. The whole band is carefully constructed, every message is carefully constructed. They know what they are doing,
Death Grips seem to not give one damn about fans or the media. Its like going to see a Dylan or Neil Young show. If I go see either I know i aint gonna see them placate and make fans and audiences happy. Their whole careers have been based on doing what they want to do. Anyone who listens to DG and doesnt view DG in the same light is out of their gourds.
I think the performance had many layers to it. Maybe a statement on the fans suicide. Its clear they feel the set was art and a performance unto itself, and as the article states, they;ve been planning this, and publicly for years. They’ve done nothing in their 3 albums worth of dischography or their professional lives to indicate they give a damn about anything other than their art. Pleasing fans or critics, labels, seem to be the anitheisis of the MO of the band.
I definitely miss this show, and that time period in indie. It doesnt feel like “these are my special bands that I like and few other people like”. And as I said, being exposed to a new and blossoming musical scene during its ascent is pretty damn cool. I miss the intimacy of the music. It felt like you were in on a secret. And even though millions of people were watching, it felt like the
Bluest Light as Tre is riding in the greyhound. Chasing Cars as Marissa dies in Ryans arms. Eastern Glow as Marissa calls Ryan and they sit in silence. Luke Ward trying to sing Shakin and Seth telling him “lets leave the singing to the band”.
What made the OC great was as I said Alex Patsavas. She seemed to get music and images on screen can work together to convey an emotion or idea. The music and scenes were married. And flawlessly.
the indie landscape was vastly different in 2003 than in 2013. In 2003, few people outside Barsuk knew who Death Cab or Modest Mouse were. Iron and Wine was still the guy who put out the lo fi Creek. Bright Eyes had put Lifted. A great album, but its hardly the accessible and more pop sound that is Im Wide Awake. The indie bands had a “you are liking them before they break” feeling. Tribes and genres still existed. There was still a sense of being in on the ground floor of a new genre and movement.
Nowadays, in 2013, the idea that tribes exist is laughable. As the article points out, everyone, hipsters included, love all types of genres and styles. Indie and Pop are indistinguishable at this point. People seem willing to allow a band to go mainstream. If they dislike the artist, its not based on commercial success or pop sensibilities, its because they dislike the music. Selling out is antiquated. People seem less possessive of these small indie bands who suddenly get recognition on this site or P4k. You can still be cool and hip in 2013 and like both JT and Taylor, and also The National. Boundaries dont exist.
What The OC did, was made indie a worldwide sensation, when previously it had been a small local thing. And it made superstars out of the bands it shone its light on.
the oc changed my life, and I dont think im alone. I became Seth Cohen. 2003/2004 was such a breakthrough year. You had all these new indie bands that were being mentioned on one of the biggest shows on tv. And the audience of course was teen girls. The montage music thing was revolutionary, Alex patsavas deserves as much credit as P4k and Stereogum and whatnot, for exposing the masses to indie music. Indie music became mainstream that year. The OC turned indie into a household word, and it was right around the time Trans and Float On were blowing up
What Ive never been able to comprehend is how indie hasn’t died off in the 10 years since. We have had few indie rock bands implode or die out because of drug use. Selling out seems not to mean anything. Codes and Keys may not be viewed as revolutionary, but indie hasnt turned on them.
Theres no precendent for it. What other genre blew up, went mainstream, went commercial, became widely known and commercialized, and still remained a vibrant, important and thriving scene for a full decade AFTER the breakout?
So many great moments. The Phantom Planet opening, The Bait Shop, Chrismukkah, Imogen Heap, TJ, Johnny’s funeral and For the Widows and Fatherless. Zach and Che. Summer. Coop. The guest house. Seth;s indie starter kit. The Valley.
What was so great about the show was how music clearly was a central character on the show, and the cool pop culture references. Everything from Yakuza to Blankets.
Signs should be higher. Incredibly beautiful song. “At your funeral I was SO UPSET, SO UPSET”.
So Here We Are Should be included.
This Modern Love.
Also, Compliments is one of their all time best songs.
post should read: author fails to discuss the depth
to discuss the depth of Mercer’s writing. To me, he’s best when describing what it feels like to be a 20 something and completely lost. Caring is Creepy to me isnt a happy love song that describes the heights and highs of love. Its a depressing song describing a person who is lost and confused “hail to your dark skin, hiding the fact your dead again”, and a person who feels their life is going nowhere and is desperate to change. The naked in the snow line seems explicitly about regret and not taking chances in life. He’s staid, bored, and lives a monotonous life.
His lyrics are brilliant because they have so many layers. The main author of this article can seem to view his lyrics as love songs and statements on love. What Zach Braff and myself and others would say, is that his lyrics are depressing and describe accurately what it feels like to be confused and not know what to do with your life.
One song that should have been included is Split Needles. “its like im perched on a blind mans bike, no straws to grab just the rushing wind, on my rolling mind”.
And Pink Bullets. The saddest song about cows you will ever hear.
And A Comet Appears.
whats troll like about acknowledging fact? Mashups and Grey Album and napster were hugely important and influential in all this.
i agree donnytella,
stroke of genie.us and grey album and napster had NO impact on music and culture at large the last decade plus.
Their impact is nil. I completely agree.
You listen to yourself?
the generational divide i refer to I think is a direct result of being exposed to such a diverse amount of music. Musical genres and genre preferences dont exist. Look at Stereogum. They cover Beyonce and Animal Collective. Sufjan and JT. people our age dont think twice about mixing the music up. Whether thats on our ipod while we take a run. Or whether thats in the studio. Barrows generation wasnt raised like that. If that cant be seen or acknowledge we will get nowhere.
The fact that alot of the remixed and mashed up songs since 2000 have been so amazing, Stoke of Genie..us being the prime example is only a bonus.
Theres an accessibility and “this music is mine too” power in the way music is consumed now. We own the music. We all do. Artists deserve the credit and money. But id much rather live in a world where you can mashup Beyonce and Sufjan, than one where everyone is prevented from doing so