Historical Alienation Reconsidered
Mekons: Ancient & Modern: 1911-2011 (Sin)
I had to play this two dozen times on faith before it came clear‑-too many, don't you think? What kept me on it was the ingrained musicality of a bunch of jokers who've evolved into a sonic organism even though they never see each other anymore, defined by "afar and forlorn" Welshman-for-life Tom Greenhalgh, who three decades in is a singer you love or you don't. Having given up on changing the world and without much hope of comprehending it before it kills them, they convene here to record 11 obscure, fraught, forlorn songs written, near as one can tell, from the POV of middle-to-ruling class Britons negotiating the political turmoil before World War I. There will be victories for a working class that's called by its rightful name. But they won't be enough. They never are. Near as one can tell. A MINUS
Destroyer: Kaputt (Merge)
With Daniel Bejar's latest band sound already compared to everything from Aja and Avalon to late New Order, I'll take, um‑-Pet Shop Boys! Forgoing the rock expressionism he lacks the heart or chops for, Bejar bends Neil Tennant's bemused calm toward an acerbic subtlety suitable for deflecting one's historical anomie. Mix in a smoove groove suitable for deflecting others' disinterest in one's historical anomie and you have intelligent lounge music for 21st-century depressives. The X factor is trumpeter JP Carter, who no one will mistake for Chuck Mangione because he's there not for jazz cred but to stick it to the guitars Bejar lacks the heart and chops to stand up against. This is how the pleasure principle feels to an alienated unbeliever resigned to engaging the world on his own perverse terms. B PLUS
I sent a query to the Pazz and Jop email addy on Dec. 10, reminding them I was alive and working and did not get a notification. Nothing. So I emailed my ballot using the old form (voter number the same as always) on Dec. 22. To no avail. I decided that was the limit of my efforts.
I'm still annoyed that I sounded the alarm as soon as I could and nothing happened.
Even if you had been wrong, you can get away with a lot just riding on confidence. 95% of the people you email probably don't know the definition of paucity.
You're probably right, but I don't like taking chances:)
P.S. I probably should have wrote "I had used it correctly," not "I did"
Isn't that where all the beach bums try to visit with their girlfriends after they've been to Surf City?
Anyway, with further research I've concluded that my failure to get into P&J this year was a tech hiccup (though invited, James Hunter, for instance, ended up not voting). So I'll forgive that because of chaos factor. I'm still annoyed that I sounded the alarm as soon as I could and nothing happened.
I hesitated for a second, but sent the message anyway, and then I checked the dictionary to make sure I used it correctly. I did.
Even if you had been wrong, you can get away with a lot just riding on confidence. 95% of the people you email probably don't know the definition of paucity. I don't even know what that means off the top of my head. :)
I learn words from reading, derive the meaning from context, and sometimes fail to look things up -- which sometimes leads to the occasional snafu.
I have to be careful sometimes as well. I just sent an email to someone in which I used the word "paucity" (a word I first learned from Xgau--in his review of Brian Wilson's SMiLE from Rolling Stone). I hesitated for a second, but sent the message anyway, and then I checked the dictionary to make sure I used it correctly. I did.
Though thank god I wasn't the one who pronounced ennui as "ENN-yoo-ai."
There there Nicky. My day-to-day speech is peppered with high-risk word choices...I prefer to maintain a connotative attitude toward language. English is still evolving! We are the future! ;)
who brought up Alabama Shakes around here? thanks! their EP is awesome! talk about delivery! brittany emotes so convincingly over a surefooted band pushing her even higher that it elevates these simple statements to something like gospel
Lipsitz has been writing about (and framing Otis's importance) for a long time--probably first in Time Passages, which is more than 20 years old. Lipsitz also wrote the intro for Otis's very interesting autobiography, Upside Your Head! as well as a new edition of Listen to the Lambs, which Otis wrote about the Watts riots...
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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