The Revolution is Not a Dinner Party

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Breaking News!!!: Pitchfork jumps shark

If you've ever wondered how all the kids you know who are in to music like the same music, look no further than Full disclosure: I've found out about many, many bands I truly love from Pitchfork. Plus, I think its cool that they can take an unknown band like Broken Social Scene and turn them into The Next Big Thing.

Sadly, however, Pitchfork has grown fat on its own power. Its true that they are probably never going to give a good review to a bad album (although I find their fascination with The Fiery Furnaces totally baffling). My problem is how small minded they are becoming. The rule at Pitchfork seem to be: if its on a major label, bash it...ESPECIALLY if its by an artist who used to be on an indie. The problem is that outfits like Pitchfork have become so entrenched that the line between indie and major label (especially in artistic output) is becoming so blurred that this formula leads to absurd results. I'll give three examples.

#1: The Killers album Hot Fuss- This is a great album that everyone seems to love. Look, I'll admit, I'm probably not going to listen to this a year from now, and some of the songs are genuinely annoying (for example "Mr. Brightside"). But, the album works...its catchy pop music. Pitchfork gave Hot Fuss a 5.2 (out of 10). My problem isn't really the score (although I think it should be a bit higher), my problem is the review itself. The review's chief criticism is that, "The Killers have made a record more concerned with artifice than artistry." Fair enough. But, the support for this claim comes from the band's artifice...its press releases, its story, the reviews from the UK press. That, friends, is circular logic, and its just plain disappointing in art criticism. Grown some balls, Pitchfork, tell us you hate these guys cause they have an MTV deal. That's cool, its even a fair criticism...especially if you can show how this makes them sound worse. But, hiding behind lines like, "Where are they, besides their wily references to past pop pros and a vague sense of Sin City cynicism?" is amusing, but just a tad immature.

#2: The new Beck album Guero- Probably the best album Beck has put out in a couple years. Pitchfork says its a 6.6. Try reading that review, I dare you. Its uninformative garbage. I just refuse to accept that an album that SOUNDS GREAT is bad because it sounds like similar music by the same artist. Can imagine these fuckers trying to review Bach or Shostakovich? "Dimitri really broke ground with the Fifth Symphony, but now, with the Tenth, he just sounds old and tired."

#3: The two new Bright Eyes albums- Pitchfork pretends like Digital Ash in a Digital Urn doesn't really exist. In reality, its the much more interesting of the two albums.'s my biggest gripe with Pitchfork: its spawning a whole slew of out-of-their-league reviewers who suddenly have "cred" because they write for this rag. Case in point: Nick Sylvester, who published this review of Mail Order Wife in The Village Voice. I saw the movie, I read Sylvester's review. I'm convinced he didn't actually see the movie. You'd think someone who usually reviews music would put a little more effort into his first movie review. Go to his blog (a collection of faux interviews) and tell him I say he's a worthless hack.

P.S. Does anyone else find it incomprehensible that blogger's spell check does not include the word "blog?"


At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're using spell check now? wow. wow. that's hot.

about pitchfork, it's main goal has always been to give music nerds an outlet for their pent-up rage over being picked last in gym in the seventh grade, by being scornful of major labels (rightfully so, usu.) and artists who start off their careers dropping serious science, then rest on their "cred" and churn out the same old (though, "good") shit. Indie rockers think their music is smarter than pop music and want it to keep growing, pushing the envelope. I like Beck, but I think Guero is a step back from his last couple of albums to, like, Odelay. That doesn't mean I don't rock out to Guero, but I expect innovation from him.

I think he's slowing down cuz he's got a wife and kid- don't let their "love" drag you down, man!!
ha, kafui


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