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Early ’00s? Try mid ’90s. This has Archers of Loaf written all over it.
I don’t know about Tool. They were a band I loved in high school, but that seemed to be the limit of how far they followed me. Like, they’re an entry-level weird band. They’re great until you find the really weird shit like the Melvins, King Crimson, and Nurse With Wound, then they just seem sort of average in comparison. Even amongst their MTV contemporaries, I don’t think their music has held up as well. White Zombie, Helmet, and Type O Negative (Bloody Kisses in August, maybe?) still sound essential.
But seriously, I think Bowie preference will break down into two camps when regarding his albums: fans of traditional rock music vs. fans of art rock, avant garde, electronic music, etc. The former will gravitate towards his glam period, as shown in the love for Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and Hunky Dory, while the latter will talk up his Berlin era work. Neither is necessarily right, but both will try to claim so. I think it’s more about your general outlook on music because Bowie’s catalog encapsulates such a wide range of styles and ideas.
There is Low, and then there’s every other Bowie album.
“Step” is making a bid for that pop radio money. Expect it to score heartfelt moments on a dozen or so TV dramas.
“All the Time” and “Chances” are boring because they’re The Strokes going through the motions. Everything else is uniformly amazing. If this is what they intend to do, I hope they never return to guitar rock.
Also, Michael, I forgot a point I wanted to mention: certain careers attract certain personality types, account for gender and racial differences, and various other sociological explanations. It’s why the military is something like 80% straight white, conservative men. It’s also why creative industries see a drop in that same group. Your industry might attract a disproportionately lower number of straight white men. This could explain why you’re “the minority” wherever you work. It’s not because of systemic discrimination but because of much higher interest in the field on the part of people who don’t match your genetic and psychological make up.
You’re both ignoring the other person’s points.
Shuffles: While Michael is obviously oblivious to macro-level disadvantages for being a non-white, non-male individual, he’s speaking on a micro-level. In certain industries, such as fashion or certain areas of the art world, it actually can be advantageous to be part of a minority group as those industries tend to rebel against the homogenous “average” white masses. If he’s working in one of those fields then he might feel a certain sense of resentment from co-workers because he represents what they’re trying to distinguish/distance themselves from. It doesn’t justify his blanket generalizations, but it accounts for his hostility.
Michael: While your specific job seems to cast you down, it’s an extremely rare occurrence. “Average” white males were hit hardest by the recession because they worked in and dominated industries hit hardest by the recession, i.e. banking, financial services, retail, etc. They still haven’t recovered because many of these fields either didn’t recover to the extent of where they originally were or they learned to get by with less. By and large men still dominate most career fields. I’m currently pursuing work in PR. Women outnumber men in the number of total practitioners in the field by a fairly decent margin, but men still earn disproportionately higher salaries for the work they do. It’s sounds like the career you’re pursuing is niche, which is probably why you’re experiencing resentment. It doesn’t justify your treatment (if that’s actually what’s happening), but it also explains the reactions of your co-workers.
I’m sorry but this argument is flat-out wrong. Private mail carriers CAN compete with the USPS because their lobbying arms have spent millions of dollars over the past twenty years to affect legislation that PREVENTS the USPS from competing. This is why the USPS doesn’t offer overnight or mail tracking services in a fashion similar to UPS or FedEx. UPS specifically has launched massive campaigns to fashion the USPS as the antiquated service it has become. Why? Because now UPS can use the USPS as its own remote delivery service, saving the company millions of dollars by not having to deliver to areas that are too far out of the way.
Don’t blame the USPS for this. Blame crony capitalism and a willful, systematic destruction of public properties, which has tied the organization’s hands on this, for creating an environment where labels suffer.
Sorry if this comes across as a personal attack, it’s not intended to be. I’m just tired of the Libertarian argument of “government bad, because it’s government” when many fiscal Libertarians and conservatives have intentionally gutted the organization, and other government agencies, so it was destined to fail.
This isn’t meant to be a shill, because I’m not affiliated with this site, but it goes into far greater depth than I ever could: http://www.savethepostoffice.com/
Evil Dead II is almost the exact same movie as The Evil Dead, plus some comedy. Everyone acknowledges this, even the director. It’s the same lead actor, same general plot, but given a slightly new purpose. Artists tend to rewrite or rework their greatest successes. Sometimes the rewrite/rework is better than the original because they’ve matured and can refine the original ideas. Room On Fire was written by a young band that didn’t know where it wanted to go musically so it decided to work within the framework of what they had already constructed. That isn’t a criticism. I like the album more than Is This It because they refined and elaborated on some of their earlier ideas. So I’m not sure why you’re so angry. I’m not arguing that they’re lacking in originality or anything like that. That argument is pretty much irrelevant today. I’m arguing, they said what they wanted to say in that area, now they’re saying something else. I like it. That’s all.
They basically wrote Is This It twice. There was the original version, and then the much better reboot with Room On Fire. Why would you want them to do early ’00s garage rock? Seriously though, this song is great. I thought the last album was underrated and deserved more attention. Glad they’re going even further out there.
This is both a brilliant attempt at trolling AND a brilliant song.
To bring back things to what’s really important, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Losts Ghosts is fucking epic.
I mean, they’ve won multiple Juno awards, consistently topped Canadian sales charts, and they were chosen to perform at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, so clearly a large part of your country disagrees with you.
Guys, to people somewhere in the world Nickelback is considered fun (probably Canada); somewhere else, Kid Rock is considered fun (the South?); and somewhere else yet still, Ke$ha is considered fun (I really don’t know where, god help me). The point is, fun music still sucks. Calling a band fun doesn’t automatically shield them from sucking. This is also why fun. sucks, although, I give them credit for trying.
This album sucks. That’s my personal opinion. I’m not commenting on the lack of originality, because I listen to dozens of bands that also lack that quality. I’m also not attacking it because it’s self-consciously uncool, because, fuck, I occasionally like Phil Collins and couldn’t reconcile that sort of criticism with my taste in music. But, I still think the album sucks. If you like it, then more power to you. You’ll probably still like it, as you should. Stop giving knee-jerk defenses for bands when they get bad reviews. It happens. Lou Reed made a career out of it. Buy the album, support the artist, and they’ll be fine.
I feel like music criticism over the past five years has devolved into a sort of anti-intellectualism where acts that were previously established as “talented” or “challenging” or whatever are now ridiculed in favor of easily digested, non-confrontational pop like No Doubt. Instead of trying to make an argument for why we should pull those pop artists up to that higher level, critics make cynical swipes at the elevated artists to pull them down to the level of the pop acts.
I find people who make the obvious Cookie Monster joke at Waits’ expense haven’t listened to anything beyond his post ’00s work, if they’ve even listened to that. Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs, and Bone Machine are all amazing works, and each is extremely diverse beyond the typical Cookie Monster caterwauling criticism. Try “Cold, Cold Ground” or “Hang Down Your Head” if you need an entry point. The former leans more towards a bluesy ballad, while the latter is something that’s more accessible for an alt-rock/indie audience.
Also, you should probably, at the very least, give The Songs of Leonard Cohen a listen. I can’t say it’s the best thing he ever did, because people seem to be in love with his later work more, but it’s my personal favorite.
Completely agree. Haven’t gotten too into Baroness, but Pallbearer’s album is one of the most beautiful records I’ve ever heard, across any genre. The fact that everyone is raving about it but can’t be bothered to put it on any Best Of list besides Best Metal albums bothers me. The new Swans record comes from a vary similar place, and it’s cleaning up on critical lists because “it’s not metal.” Sadly, I think metal still has the neanderthal association stuck to it.
But what was more interesting about a post-punk revival act like The Strokes than say D’Angelo at the turn of the decade, to such an extent that they focused squarely on the former and completely neglected the latter? They’re all over his dick now, and I don’t have a problem with that, but why weren’t they there the first time? The Strokes were/are great, but their music wasn’t revolutionary. In their recent review of the Voodoo reissue P4k argues that D’Angelo was.
Conversely, why are those genres more interesting? There were a number of great to amazing rock and metal albums that came out in the past year. Does the guitar-drums-bass-vocals set up immediately disqualify it from being interesting?
Anyone else catching a weird Pitchfork is the new MTV vibe? They’ve followed eerily strange trajectories. Granted, P4K started in the late ’90s, but it only started gaining real traction in the early ’00s in comparison to MTV’s rise in the early ’80s. Both focused almost exclusively on rock-oriented music and gave voice to underground artists and scenes a lot of people wouldn’t have heard otherwise (hardcore, thrash, college rock, etc.). Both started receiving criticism for a lack of diversity in their focus towards the middle of their first decade; by ’92 MTV was still featuring rock artists but grunge was really the last gasp of rock music as the main focus of that station, as was lo-fi in the late ’00s for Pitchfork. Popular focus eventually turned to new jack swing, gangsta rap, and dance music for MTV, while Pitchfork’s focus has shifted towards neu R&B (a spiritual successor to new jack swing), blog rap, and…dance music.
It’s just a really bizarre correlation I noticed.
…and don’t feel bad about your grammar. English is my native language and I just realized that this paragraph has atrocious use of grammar.
Everything works in cycles. Sincerity is hot now but there will be a backlash against the idea of top 40 artists being given positive critical attention in a few years, and people will start mocking the past few years for the type of stuff we’ve been praising. But I obviously agree with your point. I think what it comes down to is that it’s much easier to manipulate music journalists today. The top-40-pop-as-legitimate argument has as much to do with record labels’ marketing machine as it does any writers legitimately thinking Taylor Swift or Carly Rae Jepsen is good. Marketing and journalism are interchangeable today, so a Pitchfork can slip in some copy for a new Rhianna single without anyone knowing. But there’s a very clear difference between what Rhianna does as a pop star and what someone like Kate Bush did as a pop star. I would argue that none of what Rhianna does has ever really been musically adventurous as she’s more the type of person to co-opt R&B and underground EDM trends just as (or just before) they’re taking off.
No, I’m saying they want to expand her audience in every way possible. Marketing isn’t just about putting someone famous on TV. It’s about finding ways to convince as many people as possible to buy things they don’t need, even if they don’t like the thing being sold to begin with. Repeated exposure to something negative has an effect on many people where over time they’ll start to accept it. Indie music has been co-opted over the past decade by marketing to accept artists like Taylor Swift or Carly Rae Jepsen because “they’re fun.” More than many groups, indie fans have an attraction to a hivemind mentality which allows sites like Stereogum or Pitchfork to disseminate trends, real or created (hey, chillwave!), to their audiences.
I certainly believe a lot of people listen to Taylor Swift. I just don’t think her audience would be Stereogum’s without the little nod being given by the writers of this site. I also don’t think she’d place on a list like this under normal circumstances. How many of her previous albums placed on Stereogum lists?
I’m curious about something. Would the people arguing FOR Carly Rae Jepson’s inclusion on a list like this also be arguing for C&C Music Factory’s inclusion on a list in 1990 alongside something like Stone Roses’ self-titled debut, or Debbie Gibson in the 1988 alongside Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation of Millions? Because that’s what Carly Rae is in comparison to some of the artists on this list.
Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t like fluff pop. I’m saying that it doesn’t warrant critical attention because it’s a now fad that isn’t going to be remembered beyond kitsch ’12 nostalgia. In fact, I suspect that was it’s intended purpose — kitsch. Probably marketing, more likely, but no one seems to care when a song that would be a radio jingle a decade ago is now considered a pop song anymore.
Guys, sometimes earworms are just earworms and shouldn’t be looked at as anything beyond that.
I’m sorry but I cannot trust any Best of Clash list that does not include “The Card Cheat”, “Career Opportunities”, or “Radio Clash”.
I mean, guys, this site is a business. It’s owned and staffed by a media company. It’s a trendsetter music site which targets a specific demographic for advertising dollars. Payola on the radio clearly isn’t the way to reach new audiences. There’s been a push over the past decade, for better or worse, to reevaluate pop music as a legitimate form of expression, but that’s partially from keen PR reps with labels and advertisers who rely on those artists for sales and realize the power of taste-maker sites like Stereogum and Pitchfork. Blog hype is the brave new world of advertising, which can either build mainstream pop stars out of nothing as in Lana Del Ray or tear them down as in Lana Del Ray. These aren’t really sites that explore new music; they’re content farms collecting what’s currently hot (or what could be) while subversively slipping in artists that this audience wouldn’t normally touch, which has the effect of wearing down that audience after repeated exposure on sites such as this.
I’d like to see a valid argument for Taylor’s inclusion that didn’t leave thinking it was a cynical swipe for money because ‘gum has had a series of fairly obvious attempts at product placement in articles they’ve written over the years, for example hyping Doritos every other paragraph in one of their SXSW write-ups a year or two back. Which is fine if that’s what it is. I just don’t want to then see someone defending Taylor Swift’s craft when she’s a product that’s been market-tested to success.