Odds and Ends 005
Pazz & Jop Comments 2011
St. Vincent: Strange Mercy (4AD)
Adele and Gaga watch your backs, lest she take art-rock pop ("Cheerleader," "Dilettante," "Cruel") ***
The Weeknd: House of Balloons (XO download)
If coming leaves your penis feeling that bad, fella, remember that they're not called narcotics for nothing ("Wicked Games," "House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls") ***
Adele: 21 (XL/Columbia)
Part of me likes how many albums this proud white-soul normal has sold, but the part that likes fast ones wins ("Rolling in the Deep," "Rumour Has It") **
Drake: Take Care (Cash Money/Universal Republic)
Musical docudrama proves conclusively that having too much money is bad for you, so how come no one gets the point? ("Make Me Proud," "Headlines") **
Girls: Record 3: Father, Son, Holy Ghost (True Panther/Fantasy Trashcan)
Phil Spector overstated his feelings too, and look where it got him ("Honey Bunny," "Magic") **
Wye Oak: Civilian (Merge)
Rising into exultation, fading into doubt ("Holy Holy," "Civilian") **
Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
Darker and more socially conscious than their escapist admirers or their ideological detractors are equipped to notice ("Helplessness Blues," "Someone You Admire") *
The Black Keys: El Camino (Nonesuch)
With advice from Master of All Soundscapes Danger Mouse, they construct a loud blooze-rawk one, complete with song outlines ("Lonely Boy," "Run Right Back") *
'But I agree with my wife 100% of the time, and that's what really matters in life.'
(I'm not here.) Is she looking over your shoulder? *Snarf, snarf, snarf!*
Jesus Christ, Ryan, that's creepy! I'll eat my hat (if that didn't mean you having to do the same! )! (Can you tell, in which picture am I drunk?)
'If my tastes align with the Dean's 50 percent of the time, and Alex agrees with him 95 percent of the time, what does it matter? Enjoy the music—or not—and let others do the same.'
Agreed! You should probably know, though: Trolls don't use logic!
OK, I'm getting into one of my poast overloads here; I'm out! Peace, guys!
I agree/disagree with him almost 65/35. Was there ever an album he graded a 'dud' that you loved? Or vice versa? There's no proof on your posts or your webpage or your Facebook page.
Congratulations, rocker, on being a certified non-sycophant—although I fail to see how making a case here for someone's mindless devotion to Xgau is a better use of one's energy. Who cares? If my tastes align with the Dean's 50 percent of the time, and Alex agrees with him 95 percent of the time, what does it matter? Enjoy the music—or not—and let others do the same.
'Pitchfork and indie-rock are currently run by people, who behave as though the endless effort to perfect the habits of cultural consumption is the whole experience of life.'
I think, what he means is—and I'm pretty sure he misspoke—that people in Pitchfork and indie-rock need to grow up a little.
Most of all, though, we need new musical forms. We need a form that doesn’t think of itself as a collection of influences. We need musicians who know that music can take inspiration not only from other music but from the whole experience of life. Pitchfork and indie rock are currently run by people who behave as though the endless effort to perfect the habits of cultural consumption is the whole experience of life. We should leave these things behind, and instead pursue and invent a musical culture more worth our time.
Granted, he's somehow comparing music that is merely a "collection of influences" to a music that takes inspiration from "the whole experience of life," which to me again suggests he wants music to be less grounded in past styles (tonality, given the preceding paragraph) and more interested in exploring new styles that encompass more of "life," which would be a style that is less based on the Beatles? I have no idea. When he says "musical forms," is he talking about actual music or forms of criticism? It's not completely clear, though I assumed actual music.
I found this article frustrating, and, unfortunately for me, that makes me want to pick it apart, which then makes me more frustrated. My wife tells me I need to stop doing this, but it's like a drug! Please stop me.
('Not sure if you were being facetious or not...')
Alex, if you are indeed trying to be an Xgau bootlicker, you are doing a spectacularly awful job of it.
'This tit-for-tat is as tiring as your boot-licking.'
LOL, the irony is: You started it! Look, man, I am pretty sure I fair better with trolls, than you do; I have become immune to such stupidity on teh internets. I think it's pretty sad, that you have been snooping 'round my Facebook page for whatever reason—knowing from experience, these things usually stalk from jealousy in some way or another (jealous of what, I don't know). The funny thing is: Your argument is for me to make up my own mind. The irony is: You are trying to stop me from doing so.
Noted: weeble wobble (funny how the name is similar in tone to rocker rocker) may have been referring, to the way in which me and Ryan look similar. To which I would argue, that we don't, but that is up to him/her! If this is indeed the case, and you aren't cocknose cocknose (amiright?! ), I apologise for being so rude!
Anyway, props to Nick, for finding this first: http://goo.gl/wOj59
a worshipping wad of sycophancy
There's a fine line between being a "Xgauphillist" and a worshipping wad of sycophancy. I've been reading Xgau for years and consider him THE master of rockcrit (as well as someone whose increased my vocabulary tenfold) but I agree/disagree with him almost 65/35. Was there ever an album he graded a 'dud' that you loved? Or vice versa? There's no proof on your posts or your webpage or your Facebook page. Forget politics - I'm talking music, baby! If Xgau re-thought his musical ideals and decided to re-grade Wussy as, say a C plus, you'd probably follow suit. You DON'T have a mind of your own for music - you let Xgau to speak for you (of course totally unbeknownst to him.)
By the way, my dick is fine and works spectacularly. As I'm sure you hope Xgau's does. But he's a married m****x. Let it go.
Oh, one final thing. I've made my points. Feel free to make your own, but don't expect a retort. This tit-for-tat is as tiring as your bootlicking.
I sometimes have the utopian thought that in a better world, pop music criticism simply wouldn’t exist. What justification could there be for separating the criticism of popular music from the criticism of all other kinds? Nobody thinks it’s weird that theNew York Review of Books doesn’t include an insert called the New York Review of Popular Books. One of pop music criticism’s most important functions today is to perpetuate pop music’s favorite myth about itself—that it has no history, that it was born from nothing but drugs and “revolution” sometime in the middle of the 20th century. But the story of The Beatles doesn’t begin with John, Paul, George, and Ringo deplaning at JFK. It begins with Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 1722 Treatise on Harmony, which began to theorize the tonal system that still furnishes the building blocks for almost all pop music. Or, if you like, it goes back to the 16th century, when composers began to explore the idea that a song’s music could be more than just a setting for the lyrical text—that it could actually help to express the words as well. Our very recent predecessors have done many important and wonderful things with their lives, but they did not invent the musical universe all by themselves. The abolition of pop criticism as a separate genre would help pop writers to see the wider world they inhabit.
And I'm not sure I'd go so far as admitting that "I Want To Hold Your Hand" is tonal music, even more-or-less. It's tonal in the way Beethoven's sonata's are rhythmic
Oh, I see what you're saying (damn jargon--sorry about that). Yes, Jacob is correct, I meant the Beatles, et al., all write within the tradition of tonal harmony--they are each based on chords you can play on the guitar, and where most notes sung or played remain in a particular key. This is in contrast to atonal music, which is a style contemporary classical composers tend to favor and which is a style that is often used to avoid expected chord sequences and expected melodic gestures.
I think Beck is advocating that pop music be more atonal: modernist music snobs tend to complain that pop music is stuck because it relies on materials that are too familiar to be meaningful anymore. That may make sense in theory (or may not), but in practice I don't find it to be true at all. I don't think pop music is "stuck"--over 100 albums in the Dean's List y'all!--and I find familiar musical materials can help to create meaning rather than avoid it. But you all know that; isn't that why we're at this blog?
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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