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") *
I'm sure if I write long enough, eventually someone will quote something dumb I said.Resisting urge to paste the usually astute Tatum's review of House of Balloons only because I still owe him for Cartagena! (Maybe F-cked Up too, or was that Joey?)
Joey -- I wasn't really defending Christgau so much as preparing you for your future vocation. Also, there is a difference between comforting someone you know because they're hurting (i.e. being empathetic) and pointing out the lameness of what someone says in print.
Also, if person x says person y hurt them in print, person x gave them power to do so, no matter how awesome a public figure person y is. Bottom line.
Critics dish it out; they should be able to take it. I myself have quoted annoying things I've found in print.
Tom Hull -
I noticed that on the Xgau website you have Destroyer's Kaputt as an Aminus. The EW review gave it a B+ so I'm sure that's just a typo.
Also - the EW reviews for Talk That Talk and Watch the Throne were for the Deluxe Edition versions of those albums. (Talk That Talk specifically stated as such while Watch the Throne's preference for deluxe was implicit in the review I've been told.) So you may want to note Deluxe Edition on the website for clarification.
Regarding Joey's comments about Hyden/Beck.
Critics dish it out; they should be able to take it. I myself have quoted annoying things I've found in print. When apropos, I've said something like "the normally astute John Doe said..." (which is what I did when Jody Rosen claimed a Jamey Johnson track reminded him of Steve Wonder) and sometimes I won't pull any punches when I think the writer is a tool (the Pitchfork crew). I'm sure if I write long enough, eventually someone will quote something dumb I said. Sometimes they'll say I'm usually pretty smart; sometimes they'll say I'm a complete moron. Kind of like life, actually. Ain't no big thing -- I'd rather put my thoughts out there for people to judge rather than not at all.
Sure, comedy can be great art as can film, fiction, etc. To me, the point would be is Louis K pazz or jop. Isn't that the criteria for the list?
In addition to agreeing that Richard Pryor and Bob Newhart records were a riot, I'd point out that Negativland's Helter Stupid sounded a lot like a Firesign Theater record, at least as far as I remember it. The difference is the former's presented as music and the later as comedy; pazz and/or jop as opposed to not pazz and/or jop.
Matos' vote would seem to be some sort of "protest vote" and, if so, not a terribly eloquent one at that.
Change of subject: what's the difference between Zappa's Bat Chain Puller over the one the Capt. released? Is is that different or even better? (I've yet to hear something that Zappa ever made better...)
But for me, that's the snag -- I think comedy recordings work better as a judiciously applied spice on radio than they do as part of a home soundtrack. (Indeed, if you play comedy albums daily at your place you can stand way, way -- way, way -- over there and I'll just stay here.) There is a select set of comedy albums, esp. ones with much music, that belong near the front room of the front hall. Still, how often will they get played? And that's an important factor in Best of the Year.
I know Zappa's reason for never releasing the original Bat Chain Puller was because he thought the music was not up to par for the Captain, but it always sounded like bs.
The posthumous Zappa albums are always over-priced. So expensive that I've never bought one yet. I know Zappa's reason for never releasing the original Bat Chain Puller was because he thought the music was not up to par for the Captain, but it always sounded like bs.
Hairy Irene's name reminded me that I heard about a release of the original Bat Chain Puller from the Zappa Family Trust - just looked it up and it's available for pre-order (20 bucks??) At that price I'll have to compare the tracklist when it is provided with the unofficial one I already have.
Just read that piece and it was pretty painful - went for too much. If there's an easier target than Pitchfork, it's "indie" music in general and its followers. The overused "cultural capital" does sound like something from a sociology thesis.
He should have at least cited Lady Gaga - as her whole stage concept personifies the paradox of being overtly materialist and image oriented while defacing it (blood all over a $20,000 dress, etc), and taking yourself very seriously while being really, really stupid.
Thank god for digital music is all I can say.
Ever have that horrifying moment when you opened a CD case and found no CD?
That moment is no longer horrifying to me because putting things where they don't go is my default mode of operation. :-/ Thank god for digital music is all I can say.
Joey, I know it's different because I'm not a pro, but if I ever started worrying about what Xgau thought of my postings I doubt I'd ever do more than lurk here.
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.