lex otm about commas and beyonce reviews
i thought scottpl's kanye review was alright
lol @ josephes, though. yeah, he wasn't a great writer, but i still think his Soft Bulletin review is classic, if only because i need a six paragraph memoir appended to my two paragraph reviews every once in a while. not enough writers do this.
― k3vin k., Wednesday, 3 December 2008 20:54 (4 years ago) Permalink
Man wasn't pfork in '97 like schr1eber and a couple of high-school buddies or something?
That's how I understand it, but you'd think they'd be embarassed about it or something. Jason Josephes turned in some particularly ridiculous crap, such as this one and the Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin review, which contains the following text before even mentioning the album:
"Hey, Jason. Where you been?"That's an awfully good question, kids. Never let it be said that I would forsake the fine people of Pitchforkmedia.com, and by "people" I mean esteemed editor Ryan "Come On!" Schreiber, our other fine writers, and you, the reader. Let me fill you in on everything; trust me, this is all going somewhere.
I recently moved out of The Box. The Box was where I lived in Seattle for my first year-and-a-half-- a small room in a terrible house. I had an ogre of a next door neighbor named Richard who didn't like any decibel level that went above a whisper. Another neighbor, a homely looking mama's boy of some sort, had weird nasal problems that forced him to make this really loud noise that sounded like a collision between an orgasm, a yawn, a primal howl, and the deafening roar of a tortured honker.
The morning of my move, I checked my e-mail only to discover a rather unfortunate note in my box. A particular woman whose only flaw was in her geographic location (Jerusalem) told me not to come and visit her this summer, and that it was time for her to "get on with her life." I'll translate that: "bang other people without guilt." I saw it coming, but by e-mail? A year and a half of tortured long-distance amore dissolved via Hotmail? By a certain point, you're worth more than e-mail. A phone call. Shit, a letter would have done. No. Not only am I being broken up with, I also have to look at a banner ad for TalkCity.com. Can my life sink any lower?
Last night, I tried to figure out where my life was going. It seems to be on the course where I'm just thinking about where my life is (or isn't) going. Great. Wake me when it gets exciting.
Well, today, it got exciting. I was at work for about six hours when I decided to call my old number and retrieve my messages. There was my temp agency telling me not to go into work today. I guess the object was for me to find out before I left for work (it was 7:30 when they called), but instead, there I was working when and where I shouldn't have been. I called the agency and they said they'd call me back. I sat at my desk awkwardly. Should I be working? If so, why? If not, what should I be doing? I tracked down my supervisor who gave me two reasons for my termination. One was that the workload had dropped and they didn't need that many people. The second reason, of course, was that five people had commented to him that I didn't seem to love my job.
Well, duh. Sorry to go monosyllabic, but... well, duh. I sit at a desk. There's some asshole who insists on whistling all day, and man cannot live by headphones alone. Even today, before I found out I was already yesterday's employee, I commented to a co-worker, "Pretty soon, I'm gonna stab that guy in the throat." Of course, I wouldn't do that. But sometimes, I think that's my big misgiving in life-- no follow through. "I don't hate my job," I told my supervisor. This was true. Boring? Yes. Hate? No. This was going to be the job that gave me enough money to go on a vacation this fall.
"Well, I noticed it, too," he said. "If five people see it and I do, too, then doesn't that tell you something?"
"Did you ever think of asking me?" I asked.
Of course, there wasn't a good answer for that, so I immediately shifted gears. "Hey, if five people came and told you that I was practicing black magic, would you believe them?"
"That's completely different." When I asked him why it was different, he changed the subject to me leaving.
― kingkongvsgodzilla, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 20:54 (4 years ago) Permalink
eh, i'd much prefer they leave warts-and-all early reviews in the archive than start deleting or editing that stuff way after the fact.
― nutz in a good way, aka bustin (some dude), Wednesday, 3 December 2008 21:02 (4 years ago) Permalink
Two weird things about reading Pitchfork in the mid/late 90s: (a) it was not hard to assume that you were the only person you'd ever met who read it (apart from friends you yourself had pointed it out to, or who'd pointed it out to you),* and (b) you had zero idea what sort of people were behind it; they weren't "proper" critics, obviously, just people talking on the internet in an era before message boards and mailing lists and whatnot had made us all so able to sort people's tastes and rhetoric into predictable camps. Point being it kinda worked for them to do big digressions about temp work, because you weren't necessarily approaching the site for authoritative, useful information -- you were going to this random bit of internet you'd found where people shared opinions about music (many of them amusing or strange or half-assed) almost more as a form of shit-shooting entertainment than anything else,** and I for one recall actually enjoying weird glimpses of who these people were I was going to this place to listen to and be entertained by.
* In fact, for all you knew you were one of two dozen readers, total, and this was true for lots of non-corporate websites you'd look at; there was some other site at the time that did short indie-rock capsule reviews and rated things with, if I remember correctly, between one and five puking-baby icons (?), and I still have zero idea whether I was one of 10 people who looked at it or 10,000.
** Let's not forget that a way-higher percentage of internet use in those days consisted of "I have found this weird and lovable thing floating in the ether," and there was, briefly, an actual level of fun and humor in the idea that people would put up stuff on the internet that would read kinda crazily in print equivalents -- these days, with internet critics, we write that off to Lester Bangs worship, but really I think early internet writing just naturally grabbed onto that same "hahaha I can write this as bizarro as I want" spirit.
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:15 (4 years ago) Permalink
Yeah, as cringe-inducing as it is now, I remember reading that stuff at the time and finding it incredibly refreshing, just in the way it broke through the usual staid models of criticism. I remember telling a co-worker in late 2000 or early 2001 about the site (a guy who was very much into indie rock) and using DiCrescenzo's review of Stereolab's Cobra Phases Group as an exemplar. (I disagreed with the score but was captivated by the outlandishness of the review.)
― jaymc, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:23 (4 years ago) Permalink
(a) maybe in the mid-90s that was true, but by '98 (when I first got internet access at work haha) it was pretty clear that it was being read by quite a few folks (it was linked a lot of places.)
(b) uh what? It seemed pretty clear what it was to me (a couple of guys with some free time on their hands and decent web design skills who wanted have a music website--probably to get promos in those pre-filesharing days--and had some friends who were willing to write for them--promos that is.)
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:28 (4 years ago) Permalink
so basically no one cares about this Pitchfork/Fader thing
― Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:29 (4 years ago) Permalink
I care. But I had nothing to say, so.
― Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:31 (4 years ago) Permalink
Stopped reading that story as soon as the Fader dude said "leverage"
― Peter "One Dart" Manley (The stickman from the hilarious 'xkcd' comics), Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:31 (4 years ago) Permalink
I don't even know what you are talking about.
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:33 (4 years ago) Permalink
Fairly or not, I didn't read Pitchfork for years after glancing at stuff like this. But this was a blessed long time ago.
― Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:33 (4 years ago) Permalink
Pitchfork essentially becoming a marketing dept
― Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:34 (4 years ago) Permalink
- not arguing with the first one
- not sure "guys with free time who want a music website and want promos" is really a very specific sense of who people are or what "sort" of people they are
Yeah, J, this was probably my own failing for not buying more books, but most of the music press available to me back then was glossy-magazine stuff -- which made it fun to see stuff bubble out of the internet that was more just ... talking crap about music.
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:35 (4 years ago) Permalink
and per Alex in SF's appraisal of PFork in the late 90s, I have to agree that even then they had some serious cachet on the internet and it was fairly accepted that if you got a decent review on PFork, it meant your band was gonna get a huge boost in listeners. which was indeed the case.
― Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:35 (4 years ago) Permalink
peep the last line in this PSB review, al
― omar little, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:38 (4 years ago) Permalink
"- not sure "guys with free time who want a music website and want promos" is really a very specific sense of who people are or what "sort" of people they are"
They were dorky white guys who were in (or had just graduated from) college. Is that a specific enough "sort"?
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:39 (4 years ago) Permalink
If you want to be incorrect and/or boring, maybe
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:40 (4 years ago) Permalink
hahahahaha that Nightlife review is amazing
― Black Seinfeld (HI DERE), Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:41 (4 years ago) Permalink
Sunshine on a cloudy day.
― Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:41 (4 years ago) Permalink
xxpost Haha I'm pretty sure none of those statements is incorrect.
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:41 (4 years ago) Permalink
Despite myself, I'll seek solace in my beloved Gay Dad album.- Paul Cooper, Drummer of Gay Dad, December 31, 1999
― some know what you dude last summer (Jordan), Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:41 (4 years ago) Permalink
The one fan.
― Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:42 (4 years ago) Permalink
Yeah Alex I can tell you're confident in your wrongness, but Ryan didn't go to college
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:44 (4 years ago) Permalink
And (wild guess) Samir Khan wasn't white
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:45 (4 years ago) Permalink
Oh no my illusions are shattered!
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:45 (4 years ago) Permalink
Okay exceptions to the rule noted, I think my generalization stands and regardless of race/education level there wasn't much mystery here for most of us.
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:47 (4 years ago) Permalink
I mean, you are basically saying "I'm guessing the people behind an indie-rock website fit what's come to be accepted as the core demographic of indie-rock listeners," which isn't a particularly clever proposition, and did not really answer any of the questions I'm saying I'd have had about the site in the mid-to-late 90s, e.g. where are these people from, are they younger or older, are they nuts or not, why is this person called "Richard-san," etc. etc., and all the elements of constructing an image/personality of a writer in your head as you read
This is a simple point that a lame zinger does not really undermine
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:48 (4 years ago) Permalink
I guess you thought about it a lot more than I did then.
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:51 (4 years ago) Permalink
I mean I just assumed they were mostly around my age, had some time on their hands, were not nuts, called themselves whatever they pleased and wrote about what got sent them.
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:52 (4 years ago) Permalink
^^^this. Especially since a lot of their staff were on the same message boards as me at the time.
― Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:53 (4 years ago) Permalink
It didn't require thinking -- my original point was that if one of the writers went on a bit about moving or temp work, this read not as an annoyance but as a tidbit of information about the person whose reviews you'd been reading blind. This wasn't a point about the writers being fascinating enigmas, it was a point about readers' relationships with the personalities beyond the screen being very different at that stage than they are now.
I find it hard to imagine that I'm the only person who, when reading a given periodical, becomes interested in the personalities and circumstances of the people I'm reading -- especially in a context where it's somewhat non-professional and there's no concrete information available.
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:59 (4 years ago) Permalink
^ make that "when REGULARLY reading a given periodical"
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:00 (4 years ago) Permalink
I do that with ILX.
― Manchego Bay (G00blar), Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:01 (4 years ago) Permalink
I think that REGULARLY is probably key here.
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:04 (4 years ago) Permalink
I would assume that the bulk of Pitchfork's readership in those early days was regular.
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:06 (4 years ago) Permalink
Really? Why would you assume that?
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:09 (4 years ago) Permalink
I found all their digressions stupid and irritating and signs of bad writing more than anything else
― Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:13 (4 years ago) Permalink
cf wizard's cap
Even if you were a regular reader, i.e. clicking on the site every day/week (it wasn't always daily updated was it? I can't recall now) I think how invested even a regular reader was, probably had a great deal of variance.
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:13 (4 years ago) Permalink
xpost - It was a small unpublicized sometimes-amateurish site with a niche audience and a lot of voice/style involved; its selling point was regular coverage of music that wasn't covered a ton of other places online; it eventually put up a reader-mail page that usually contained missives from people who seemed to follow the site. It seemed like the sort of site that people would either click across once and forget, or else start reading regularly because it covered stuff they were interested in (what review outlet isn't kinda like this?), and hindsight/history seems to confirm that this was the case. I'm not sure how, at this point, to imagine some kind of shifting/sporadic readership in those days, but maybe you know something I don't.
xpost - okay, we're either talking in circles or you're just disagreeing with things for the sake of it, given that my whole point was that pretty much anything I read repeatedly over the course of more than a few months will prompt some kind of "I wonder who's writing this" curiosity
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:20 (4 years ago) Permalink
(I'd note also that people still engage in lots of weirdo imagination of who the site's writers are or what they're like, though it's very, very good that no multi-paragraph review intros are answering those questions)
― nabisco, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:24 (4 years ago) Permalink
I'm sure there were plenty of people who read the site obsessively and wondered "who's writing this", but I think there were also plenty of people who clicked on the site, checked if anything looked interesting, glanced at a review or two, and then went on their merry way (hell this is how I still read the site and many others). They didn't care whose name was on a review and they didn't give much thought to who the writers were than I did above.
― Alex in SF, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:37 (4 years ago) Permalink
I don't think I've ever read a music review
― cool app (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 3 December 2008 23:41 (4 years ago) Permalink
Alex in SF you are obtuse.
― BIG WORLD HOOS. WEBSTEEN. (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Thursday, 4 December 2008 01:47 (4 years ago) Permalink
― k3vin k., Thursday, 4 December 2008 01:49 (4 years ago) Permalink
When I wrote this:
Do we need to go back to those PFM reviews that start out with awful academic presumptuousness and opening sentences like "Poor black Americans in 1973 thought that Nixon was..." and other shifting viewpoints and strawmen?
When I wrote that a few weeks ago I had no idea it was such a close parody to an actual PFM review opener. That is, until I saw Shakey Mo's Motown excerpt upthread.
Again, the real thing.
it's instructive to realize that what we figuratively consider "the sixties" is roughly the period from 1965 to 1973, when the United States was embroiled in the Vietnam War and undergoing the paroxysmal changes that made it into a true democracy for the first time in its history.
― Cunga, Thursday, 4 December 2008 04:04 (4 years ago) Permalink
I totally want to avoid getting all Captain Save-a-Prose on this or any other thread, but Cunga, can I just ask what's bad or incorrect or non-illuminating about that statement (the 60s one)?
― nabisco, Thursday, 4 December 2008 19:16 (4 years ago) Permalink
Some will quibble about "true democracy", I suppose. And the "now I'm going to teach you kids a lesson about this" tone never seems to make friends around here.
Somebody was saying something about comma placement.
― contenderizer, Thursday, 4 December 2008 19:29 (4 years ago) Permalink
load all messages nabisco
― Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 4 December 2008 19:38 (4 years ago) Permalink
Oh right, I forgot we went over that. But I get the feeling that Cunga's objection to that sentence is not the same as Shakey's. Cunga seems to feel there's something horrible about it as a sentence (?), whereas Shakey was just making a substantively questionable nit-pick about what constitutes a "true democracy" (a nit-pick I still find completely baffling and silly, sorry).
― nabisco, Thursday, 4 December 2008 19:46 (4 years ago) Permalink