so tell me, why is Kaputt better or worse than Let England Shake?

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position omar describes is totally cool, imo. being open-minded doesn't mean you have to embrace everything. you still get to dive deep into the stuff that excites you and more or less ignore the rest, if that's what you want. nothing wrong with dodging a canon that doesn't interest you. that's very different from sneering at canon because it's "too easy" or the wrong people like it or w/e.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

i don't want to get into this too deeply but the problems with canons is usually not what they include, it's in what they exclude. they lead to a really boring and shallow way of talking/thinking about music when taken on their own--an effort to avoid them is what led me to ilm among other places.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

When I avoid things, whether currently hyped or canonized for ages, it's usually done not at all as a matter of principle but the opposite--it's because it feels wrong to engage with it at that time. If I have the sense that I won't be able to engage with something in a relatively unmediated, unclouded way, I don't want to force myself to do it. I get flak from some of my pals about not knowing about so-and-so a current musician or recently relased record, but the moment keeping up with music starts to feel like a chore or a checklist to be monitored is the moment it starts to lose its allure and magic.

Clarke B., Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think people have an idea of me as way more dogmatic than i am! i don't have principles or rules

lex you just said !

i'm anti-canon as a matter of principle
― first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Thursday, February 9, 2012 8:06 PM

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

i change my mind all the time! i don't do consistency

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

hahahaha

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Chuck Pretend?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

i don't want to get into this too deeply but the problems with canons is usually not what they include, it's in what they exclude. they lead to a really boring and shallow way of talking/thinking about music when taken on their own--an effort to avoid them is what led me to ilm among other places.

this is a very good point, and it's what clarke was getting at a few posts back. problem, as clarke said, is that principled opposition to a suspect canon can quickly harden into thoughtless, knee-jerk tribalism.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

better to champion that which you think should be included than to elevate yourself by sneering down at what you don't care for - unless, of course, you're really fucking funny about it.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

which no one ever has been

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

I mean, the most exciting discovery I made last year was Iron Maiden, for God's sake. I kept up with electronic music fairly well because it's fun and dizzying to do it, but I basically ignored most rock and indie because I wasn't feeling it. I rekindled a love of old jazz and discovered some new-to-me artists. I got deep into Theo Parrish and Moodymann and Omar-S (yep, real late to all three parties!).

One of the advantages old-ILM had was that it felt like basically a group of people who had a lifetime of listening-via-one's-own-lights behind them, who had developed their tastes in eras that weren't so rigorously dictated by keeping up with the furious pace of new releases, finally having room and a captive peer group to make sense of the highly personal mazes of taste they'd built up over the years. I don't ever want to lose the feeling of control I have over my tastes and my pace of exploration of music.

Clarke B., Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

one thing that drives me fucking nuts about canonization is the idea that i should listen to (or worse) should have listened to thing x because it's part of a canon. if you want to demotivate me re: listening to something please just give me a version of that as if it's a good reason.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

i change my mind all the time! i don't do consistency

Lex, even your inconsistency you express as a principle! ;-)

Clarke B., Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

which no one ever has been

well, oscar wilde maybe

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

but isn't the canon for people who are not as much into music as most people on this board? a starting point not to lose too much time in finding good music. that's how i always interpreted it. a time-saving tool for the masses. as a music lover i am not particularly against canons. there is lots of good music in canons. but i don't think i need a canon. i am looking for persons with similar tastes to mine who tell me which new music they like. and some of these people are around here.

alex in mainhattan, Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

nah i think it's a tool for people who are pretty into music but also want to tie everything up nice and neatly.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

Interesting point, Alex, and I too rely on the recommendations of specific individuals moreso than any sort of larger hype bubbles or broad-scale canons. I think canons are almost a natural, organic feature of a community, though, don't you? I mean, I'd say ILM is old enough and established enough to where it can be said to have its own canon...

Clarke B., Thursday, 9 February 2012 20:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

ilm canon = new order at the top

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

one thing that drives me fucking nuts about canonization is the idea that i should listen to (or worse) should have listened to thing x because it's part of a canon. if you want to demotivate me re: listening to something please just give me a version of that as if it's a good reason.

Listen to Destroyer, they're as good as the Beatles.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

maybe it's a mistake to look at canon primarily as a concrete thing intentionally made, like a tool? i'm more inclined to view it as an artifact or by-product, this ever-shifting perceptible phantom created as a result of human communication and the categorical impulse. of course, once perceived, it does begin to be a concrete thing, like a tool, and people do work at and with it directly. chicken v egg, i guess.

or what clarke just said :/

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

a lot of people think canons are made by tools

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

Listen to Destroyer, they're as good as the Beatles.

― Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn)

otm

omar little, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

Listen to Destroyer, they're as good as the Beatles.

― Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, February 9, 2012 4:01 PM (2 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

lol you truly know the path straight to my heart

call all destroyer, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

clarke and cntnrdrzr are right about how canons are developed in communities like this one. but there is a large, well-known, and pretty unchanging "rock canon" that totally sucks and extends beyond the bounds of any one community.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

maybe it's a mistake to look at canon primarily as a concrete thing intentionally made, like a tool? i'm more inclined to view it as an artifact or by-product, this ever-shifting perceptible phantom created as a result of human communication and the categorical impulse. of course, once perceived, it does begin to be a concrete thing, like a tool, and people do work at and with it directly. chicken v egg, i guess.

This ties back to my earlier comments about hating to see critcs straining to build or add to the canon. In doing so, they're fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of canons, the fact that we don't choose our canons so explicitly and with such willpower, that they evolve complexly and sloppily over time and space.

Clarke B., Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

the funny thing abt this is that the internet has totally helped to shake up the canon -- pitchfork saying destroyer released a great record has less power today than if they said it 5 yrs ago, and says less abt the state of music than pazz & jop circa '80

lex's criticisms feel really outdated to me. At this point, there are too many rival voices proclaiming canons; if you want to influence ppl on your worldview, you need to make convincing/widespread/viral arguments that resonate w/ people. not to sound like BH Ideas, but its all networking & connections & shit. railing at some huge canon is totally irrelevant any more, b/c its way more diced up now

D-40, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

there is a large, well-known, and pretty unchanging "rock canon" that totally sucks and extends beyond the bounds of any one community.

Why is this such a big deal...? English lit has a canon. It's helpful in a way to know that if you're interested in 19th century country life then Jane Austen or Tobias Smolley wrote novels about it. No one forces you to accept them. It's just a list.

Whenever RS publishes one of its umpteenth GOAT lists and spot What's Going On I remind myself, 'Oh, right, I need to own it.' Yet I own and love (among others) the decidedly non-canonical In Our Lifetime.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

*Smollett

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

in my perfect world its nothing but goregrind and latin freestyle on the radio 24/7.

scott seward, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

clarke and cntnrdrzr are right about how canons are developed in communities like this one. but there is a large, well-known, and pretty unchanging "rock canon" that totally sucks and extends beyond the bounds of any one community.

same thing & process, just on a larger scale and over a longer period of time. i wouldn't say the semi-official rock canon "sucks", just that it exists and that it has certain qualities, some positive, some negative. i mean, i like the beatles and the stones and the velvet underground. this isn't to say that there isn't room for other voices and visions.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

It's helpful in a way to know that if you're interested in 19th century country life then Jane Austen or Tobias Smolley wrote novels about it.

i don't feel like pop/rock music canons are presented in quite this neutral a fashion!

"if you're interested in music in the 60s the beatles and the stones wrote some records then"

call all destroyer, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

and i should be careful and say i don't think the stuff in there nec. sucks, but it's more how ppl use it/talk about it that can suck. does that happen with the lit. canon? idk haven't been in that game in a while.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

people really do seriously rep for the enduring importance and quality of like shakespeare, joyce and dostoyevsky, though. it's really no different than putting leadbelly and led zep up on a pedestal.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

the beatles and rolling stones are not presented as 'part of a canon' to most people, they're presented as bands that millions of people across the world liked, important historic figures in the history of pop music, etc. etc. whereas, idk, big star are 'part of the canon' but relatively few people listen to or care about them. being on lists probably increased the # of people who listen to them, but pretty marginally in the big picture.

I think the general public 'canon' is pretty far from what people who care a lot about music think is the 'canon'. most of the world considers coldplay 'canon'.

iatee, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

xp yeah true, also gets into things like scope and scale and how lit vs. music gets consumed etc. etc.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

ftr i am slogging my way through kaputt again trying to figure it out while positing itt

call all destroyer, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

the canon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_albums_worldwide

iatee, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think the general public 'canon' is pretty far from what people who care a lot about music think is the 'canon'. most of the world considers coldplay 'canon'.

I think that's stretching the notion of canon way too far... We should be careful to differentiate between canon and consensus, and between those notions and large-scale popularity as well. I maintain that canon implies some temporal distance and involves the notion of serious enduring popularity/meaningfulness beyond just being widely enjoyed.

Clarke B., Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah but that's the navel-gazing critics canon which really isn't v. important to many people and if it were the public canon would look more like it

iatee, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

that canon is 'consensus', all canons are, it's just the consensus of a smaller group of people

iatee, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

the canon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_albums_worldwide

― iatee, Thursday, February 9, 2012 3:23 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this is actually really incorrect. Lots of incredibly popular stuff gets forgotten, and stuff that was extremely marginal in its day can gain popularity even after the artist has died

there's actually a big book about this http://www.elijahwald.com/rjohnson.html

D-40, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

alright so whatever the universal itunes 'most played list' is canon today.

iatee, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

Is certainly is important to many people! Popular music critics still have lots of power, and it's not as if the public operates in this separate sphere. I see what you're getting at, but I think it ignores the huge ways in which critics and critical discourse informs what the public consumes and is exposed to. This points to the fact that canons are necessarily tied into notions of cultural control, tastemaking, and influence.

Clarke B., Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

(My first sentence there refers to iatee: "yeah but that's the navel-gazing critics canon which really isn't v. important to many people "

Clarke B., Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah but that's the navel-gazing critics canon which really isn't v. important to many people and if it were the public canon would look more like it

― iatee, Thursday, February 9, 2012 1:24 PM (31 seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

^ disagree. the fact that one particular critical canon (and there are TONS of them out there) isn't precisely the same as overall popularity does not suggest that canons are unimportant and/or the product of "navel-gazing". critics are engaged in a dialogue with popular taste, and they do help shape it, especially over time. the rolling stone not only documented the shifts of a musical culture, it helped define and shape that culture, it sold not just purchasable objects but a collective aesthetic and cultural vision to a popular audience. pitchfork is doing the same thing today, and so is the wire, though the audiences aren't identical.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

there's a weird, shrugging anti-intellectualism to a lot of what iatee posts.

"canon" is obviously not the same thing as "whatever happens to be popular". a dictionary would tell you this.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

this entire conversation about the musical canon is making me want to post this:

I spend a lot of time thinking about apricots (DJP), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

'most people in the world don't look at music the same way a site filled w/ music critics who look at 200 'best of lists' every year do' = anti-intellectualism

iatee, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

let's apply that line of thinking to the lit canon while we're at it

call all destroyer, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

anti-intellectualism = pretending not to understand what a simple word like "canon" means while taking lazy swipes at "navel gazing" critics in general

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:38 (2 years ago) Permalink


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