XGAU VS PITCHFORK – THE POLL

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Poll Closing Date: Tuesday, 1 December 2020 00:00 (in 2 days)

That's right, you *must* choose one.

Robert Christgau | Dean of American Rock Critics
Pitchfork | The Most Trusted Voice in Music


pomenitul, Monday, 9 November 2020 20:27 (two weeks ago) link

The Needle Drop | The Internet's Busiest Music Nerd

Whiney G. Weingarten, Monday, 9 November 2020 20:28 (two weeks ago) link

This poll's victor will take on Fanta in due course.

pomenitul, Monday, 9 November 2020 20:29 (two weeks ago) link

I mean, at least Pitchfork has moved to being much more inclusive and mostly gotten rid of their earl misogyny and I can't say that same about Xgau, so...

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 9 November 2020 20:39 (two weeks ago) link

"early misogyny" that should be

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 9 November 2020 20:39 (two weeks ago) link

theyve scrubbed most of earl misogyny's reviews from their database iirc

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Monday, 9 November 2020 20:41 (two weeks ago) link

damn -- my favorite Odd Feminism rapper

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 9 November 2020 20:42 (two weeks ago) link

Where's the historicist pro-Xgau take that stresses generational differences and focuses on his status as *checks notes* the Dean of American Rock Critics?

pomenitul, Monday, 9 November 2020 20:43 (two weeks ago) link

and ... 2010 misogyny

Ginger: She looked sort of like a tranny and couldn't sing but she was the Betty Hutton of the 1990s: Her brassiness and Union Jack dress best articulated what the hell the Spice Girls were supposed to be about.

Whiney G. Weingarten, Monday, 9 November 2020 20:45 (two weeks ago) link

I haven't subscribed, but before he went to that, seemed mainly to be grading for lyrics, esp. anti-Trump, but I still check his site, and am tempted to say that, like many music artists, he gets better the further back you go, though the Esquire columns have def. not improved with age, but stop short of those, and you'll be okay (or jump past them to '66--think that's pre-Esq., and read his Times story of the young woman who starved herself to death on a macrobiotic diet, really a different kind of topic for then, and he handles it well).
I don't keep up with Pitchfork all that well, but random reads over the past few years usually turn out better than prev.(though the review of AngelHeaded Hipsters seems ronger the more I listen).

dow, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:06 (two weeks ago) link

"seemed mainly to be grading for lyrics": might well be inaccurate, and I hope it is, but that was often my impression in the last few months before hitting the paywall (and mainly why I haven't signed up).

dow, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:08 (two weeks ago) link

So I'm still Undecided.

dow, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:09 (two weeks ago) link

Writer vs website is an odd poll tbh but I voted for Christgau. He's funny sometimes and, if he is saying nothing, he only takes a few sentences to do it.

I guess I'd be lonesome (Sund4r), Monday, 9 November 2020 21:20 (two weeks ago) link

I'm just here for the Earl Misogyny discography

DJP, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:21 (two weeks ago) link

Writer vs website is an odd poll tbh

I may in fact be trolling a little bit here.

pomenitul, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:22 (two weeks ago) link

Also, if we're talking about "moving towards being inclusive", this was his Dean's List for 1986: https://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/pnj/deans86.php 2xp

I guess I'd be lonesome (Sund4r), Monday, 9 November 2020 21:24 (two weeks ago) link

if he is saying nothing, he only takes a few sentences to do it.

counterpoint: ive spent longer trying to parse wtf xgau is trying to say in a 12-word review than its taken me to read entire pfork features

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Monday, 9 November 2020 21:25 (two weeks ago) link

this is like choosing between having my left testicle or my right testicle stomped. throw fantano in the mix and i will pass out as a result from the physical pain. hopefully to wake up in a much better off world.

so idk, pfork i guess?

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Monday, 9 November 2020 21:25 (two weeks ago) link

Just doing his part to keep close reading alive in the age of distant reading.

xp

pomenitul, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:26 (two weeks ago) link

so idk, pfork i guess?

lol I genuinely did not expect you to say that.

pomenitul, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:26 (two weeks ago) link

Austin said "fuck you, left testicle"

DJP, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:34 (two weeks ago) link

Literally Hitler.

pomenitul, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:36 (two weeks ago) link

On the third day Xgau rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right nut of God the Father Almighty.

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 9 November 2020 21:37 (two weeks ago) link

B+

I guess I'd be lonesome (Sund4r), Monday, 9 November 2020 21:40 (two weeks ago) link

Lol

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 9 November 2020 21:42 (two weeks ago) link

I think "Earl Misogyny" might be my most proud moment on ilm.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 9 November 2020 21:46 (two weeks ago) link

it is a stellar contribution to the canon

DJP, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:47 (two weeks ago) link

(which, given the thread, is very appropriate)

DJP, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:47 (two weeks ago) link

I love reading his Consumer Guides on his site, fun tracking the evolution of music over such a long time frame. Personally, I prefer Stereogum.

Bjork’s lawyers just would not budge, Monday, 9 November 2020 22:01 (two weeks ago) link

so this is basically a deathmatch between the Dean of American Rock Critics and the Duke of Earl Misogyny, did I get that right?

kiss some penis reference (breastcrawl), Monday, 9 November 2020 23:32 (two weeks ago) link

Yepperoni.

pomenitul, Monday, 9 November 2020 23:35 (two weeks ago) link

"Nitsuh"; "Katherine"; "Brad"; "Philip"; "Alfred" ✂

flamboyant goon tie included, Monday, 9 November 2020 23:47 (two weeks ago) link

. . .but what about earl's early misogyny?

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Monday, 9 November 2020 23:57 (two weeks ago) link

Earl Misogyny’s Top 50 albums of all time

The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band L
The Beatles, The Beatles’ Second Album L
Chuck Berry, The Definitive Collrction L
Blondie, Parallel Lines L
James Brown, Star Time L
The Clash, The Clash
Culture, Two Sevens Clash
DeBarge, In a Special Way L
DJ Shadow, Endtroducing DJ Shadow
Bob Dylan, “Love and Theft” L
Bob Dylan & the Band, The Basement Tapes L
Eminem, The Marshall Mathers Album
Eno, Another Green World L
The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
Franco & Rochereau, Omona Wapi (Shanachie version)
Girl Group Greats L
Gogol Bordello, Super Taranta! L
Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead L
Al Green, I’m Still in Love With You L
Guitar Paradise of East Africa L
Michael Hurley/The Unholy Modal Rounders/Jeffrey Fredricks & the Clamtones, Have Moicy!
The Indestructible Beat of Soweto L
Latin Playboys, Latin Playboys
John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band L
Jerry Lee Lewis, “Live” at the Star Club, Hamburg L
Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
Little Richard, The Very Best of . . . Little Richard L
M.I.A., Kala
Joni Mitchell, Blue L
Van Morrison, Moondance L
New York Dolls, New York Dolls
Orchestra Baobab, Specialist in All Styles L
Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back L
Ramones, Rocket to Russia L
Otis Redding, The Immortal Otis Redding L
The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street L
The Rolling Stones, The Rolling Stones, Now! L
The Roots, How I Got Over L
The Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols L
The Shirelles, The Very Best of the Shirelles (Rhino)
Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation L
Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis L
Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic L
Television, Marquee Moon
The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground L
Kanye West, Late Registration L
Wire, Pink Flag L
Wussy, Funeral Dress
Neil Young, After the Gold Rush L
Tom Zé, Brazil Classics 4: The Best of Tom Zé L

P4K’s Initial Release 10.0 albums

12 Rods - Gay?
Walt Mink - El Producto
Amon Tobin - Bricolage
Radiohead - OK Computer
Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - I See a Darkness
The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
Radiohead - Kid A
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Source Tags & Codes
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters

✖✖✖ (Moka), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 01:49 (two weeks ago) link

💣 vs 0.0

Master of Treacle, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 02:21 (two weeks ago) link

I mean, if newspapers in the '70s had the technology, would xgau have embedded a video of a monkey pissing in its own mouth for a review?

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 02:24 (two weeks ago) link

Christgau, flaws and all. (Unfair vote--Pitchfork came along after my interest in reading any kind of rock criticism had narrowed to a few people I'd been reading for years.)

clemenza, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 02:27 (two weeks ago) link

My taste probably overlaps about evenly with both (ie not that much), but Christgau is reliably more interesting to read, IMO.

o. nate, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 03:02 (two weeks ago) link

idk if this counts as a hot take but I read music writing to learn of music I think I will enjoy and will enrich my life, not (primarily) to delight in sparkling prose or whatever, and for all its flaws Pitchfork has been a good resource over the years. I mean, Wussy are fine and all, but.

it bangs for thee (Simon H.), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 03:19 (two weeks ago) link

Essentially my position as well.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 03:24 (two weeks ago) link

Pitchfork I've been reading loyally since Ryan Schreiber/Brent Dicrescenzo days, but they've consistently improved, and they've aged right along with me.
And as for Christgau, I've never understood his shtick. Is he still alive?

enochroot, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 03:28 (two weeks ago) link

Real poll options:
Are you closer to 60 or closer to 40?

enochroot, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 03:29 (two weeks ago) link

but I read music writing to learn of music I think I will enjoy and will enrich my life

Exactly why I read Christgau (discovering Wussy being a perfect example); actually not that big a fan of the way he writes. (By which I simply mean the way he puts words together.)

And yes--much, much closer to 60!

clemenza, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 03:48 (two weeks ago) link

enchoroot - he is alive

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 03:54 (two weeks ago) link

in terms of sourcing music to enjoy, I find having a variety of writers more useful than having one guy whose sensibility/interest set seems to rarely overlap with my own

it bangs for thee (Simon H.), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 04:21 (two weeks ago) link

This must surely be a joke but xgau for his stubbornness and tenacity. p4k has some good reviews but the institution of "p4k" amounts to less than the sum of its parts- obsession with consensus is nauseating.
both execrable tbh

the idea of sourcing music through reviews seems a bit old fashioned.

Cabo Weibo (卡波微博) (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 07:35 (two weeks ago) link

obsession with consensus is nauseating
^ goes for this board too (ducks)

Cabo Weibo (卡波微博) (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 07:38 (two weeks ago) link

hipster canon building is tedious but horny old hippies are worse

a nice person (Left), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 08:51 (two weeks ago) link

I had seen Christgau's name before and, of course, had heard Lou Reed calling him a toefucker on "Take No Prisoners" but I had never read a word of his, so when I joined ILX (quite a while ago now) and his name kept being brought up like he was the fucking Pope I was quite taken aback. Then I realized I had fallen into a den of music critics.

Boring blighters bloaters (Tom D.), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 09:28 (two weeks ago) link

Christgau's Rock Albums of the 70s book did get fairly widespread distribution in London bookshop at least, and iirc was even remaindered at one point. So that plus the Lou Reed and Sonic Youth mentions put him more on my radar than most US rockcrits.

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 10:07 (two weeks ago) link

Still waiting for someone to poll ILM vs The Needle Drop. I'm afraid it's beyond my meagre guts.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 17:48 (two weeks ago) link

ILM vs Seanbaby

Lover of Nixon (or LON for short) (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 17:49 (two weeks ago) link

Earl Misogyny gave all Broadcast albums he reviewed a dud score and P4K gave always gave them scores between 7 and 8.

Speaking as a Broadcast fan I know who I’m going to ax.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 20:29 (two weeks ago) link

seanbaby!

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 20:29 (two weeks ago) link

I voted Christgau largely on the strength of his writing up to about 1990. In the mid-80s, his 70s record guide was the only book in the entire library to mention at least half of those artists, and you leapt at opportunities to learn about records. It was also a good preparation to read someone whose taste differed in so many ways from mine - it taught me not to get upset when people disagree with me about music. Some of my favourite of his reviews are pans of records that I love.

His ability to crystallize an insight about an entire record in a few sentences was nonpareil. In the later writing, it sometimes feels like the aphorism is for its own sake. I noticed this when reading Wikipedia articles on albums that quote him, and seeing how terribly mannered his words seem when removed from the original context. You need a paragraph of exegesis in the article for a quote of a few words. Also, to be fair, I'm interested in progressively fewer records he reviews from then on.

I've read good and bad reviews on Pitchfork, but they just aren't a discrete entity for me in the same way.

The best records that each has led me to are maybe Virgin Beauty by Ornette Coleman and Blueberry Boat by Fiery Furnaces .

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 04:03 (two weeks ago) link

Seanbaby... that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 04:08 (two weeks ago) link

before he simply dismissed everything he didn't like, his descriptions could be more appealing than he meant them to be

Some of my favourite of his reviews are pans of records that I love.

otm. there was a period (perhaps msn-mandated) after his firing from the voice where he barely wrote anything at all about albums he wasn't giving an A, and that's when i stopped keeping up with him.

I noticed this when reading Wikipedia articles on albums that quote him, and seeing how terribly mannered his words seem when removed from the original context.

lol i often imagine i perceive this seething editorial incomprehension in these quotes, like the person writing the article hates him.

difficult listening hour, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 04:22 (two weeks ago) link

(know yall are referring to an earlier shift, towards the lil scissors and bombs and the maximally gnomic honorable mentions, but he burrowed even more completely into his own taste later. tho not in his actual listening i think.)

difficult listening hour, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 04:25 (two weeks ago) link

Even xgau could be attracted by his put-downs---at least here:
Astor Piazzolla: Tango: Zero Hour [American Clavé, 1986]
Until Piazzolla, I never gave a thought to tango, which I conceived vaguely as the music of displaced Europeans slumming their way through an American limbo, compounding angst and self-regard into ridiculous sexual melodrama. But now that I put all that down on paper, it seems both kind of interesting and ripe for destabilization. Piazzolla has been exploring both possibilities since 1946 and claims this is the best of his 40 albums. True semipop, dance music for the cerebellum, with the aesthetic tone of a jazz-classical fusion Gunther Schuller never dreamed. A-

Description of emotional subtext is plausible, description of album is half-assed, but I know that because I bought it after reading this (from the first note, first beat, it builds like the best of whatever genre or subgenre you would more likely be buying). So, another example of how the closer he sticks to reportage, usually (not always) the better---which is why some descriptions (better written than this one) appeal more than he might mean them to (look at those, not the grades, is what I've always done, incl. in school).

dow, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 16:44 (two weeks ago) link

However, as more of a critic, philosopher, listener, he can be otm sometimes--dig the last two sentences, and the build to those:

Born Again [Warner Bros., 1979]
This has more content and feeling than
Little Criminals. But as with Little Criminals its highlight is a (great) joke--"The Story of a Rock and Roll Band," which ought to be called "E.L.O." and isn't, for the same reason supergroupie radio programmers have shied away from it. Hence, the content comprises ever more intricate convolutions of bad taste; rather than making you think about homophobes and heavy-metal toughs and me-decade assholes the way he once made you think about rednecks and slave traders and high school belles, he makes you think about how he feels about them. Which just isn't as interesting. B+

dow, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 16:48 (two weeks ago) link

Twenty bucks says if Xgau were a Very Online Millennial he'd be peppering his reviews with references to 'Eurofags'.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 16:48 (two weeks ago) link

I feel like you're confusing Christgau with Carducci there.

I guess I'd be lonesome (Sund4r), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 16:55 (two weeks ago) link

Until Piazzolla, I never gave a thought to tango, which I conceived vaguely as the music of displaced Europeans slumming their way through an American limbo, compounding angst and self-regard into ridiculous sexual melodrama. But now that I put all that down on paper, it seems both kind of interesting and ripe for destabilization.

The only part of this that even has the potential to be "kind of interesting" would be hearing him explain how he arrived at his vague (and absurd/pathetic/self-revealing) conception.

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 16:56 (two weeks ago) link

Who's Carducci?

pomenitul, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 16:57 (two weeks ago) link

Joe Carucci, author of Rock and The Pop Narcotic, used to get a pass for rockism, incl. from xgau.
xxpost, At least tango diagnosis got him and me to check out the album!

At his most appealing, xgau, like Newman, can or could lead me past just thinking about how *he* feels about something, and I think that's what he might be trying to do w some of the more cryptic or tricky comments---which sometimes seem like doors to nowhere, but not always. The more journo side, incl the appealing descriptions of what and why he don't like, work best, or did when he allowed for them (also some of the longer journo stuff, like when he went to visit Peter Stampfel and his wife, also the visit w John Prine and Iris DeMent, when they were on tour).

dow, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 17:00 (two weeks ago) link

Who's Carducci?

Joe Carducci, author of Rock and the Pop Narcotic (a book that's half brilliant and half bullshit) and Enter Naomi (a shorter but better and more focused book that filters the history of SST Records and the LA hardcore scene through the biography of Naomi Petersen, who photographed most if not all of the bands in the 80s).

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 17:01 (two weeks ago) link

Christgau himself on it: https://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/bkrev/carducci-91.php

I guess I'd be lonesome (Sund4r), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 17:01 (two weeks ago) link

Ah, thanks (x3).

Anyway, I wasn't expecting this thread to turn into an Xgau discussion chamber over and above its poll rival, but it makes for an interesting development nonetheless.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 17:02 (two weeks ago) link

That's all from me. Somebody tell more about Pitchfork, please.

dow, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 17:04 (two weeks ago) link

Carducci did fill the lacuna in prog and hard rock appreciation among rock writers but took the Europhobia and machismo into cartoonish overdrive.

I guess I'd be lonesome (Sund4r), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 17:06 (two weeks ago) link

over and above its poll rival

Tbf, there's a perpetually-updated thread dedicated to Pitchfork, or at least its dumbness.

I guess I'd be lonesome (Sund4r), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 17:09 (two weeks ago) link

Carducci is a genuine kook libertarian

I haven't read Rock and Pop Narcotic in years. He's a rockist, but like he owns it, he likes a certain strain of rock music and thinks that it's the best music ever made.

Can be a really amazing writer about the things that he loves. Can be ugly at times.

Enter Naomi: SST and All That is by far is great work, really touching and kaleidoscopic reflection on LA punk, California itself through the lens of one of the great (and overlooked) rock photographers of all time. But it was written much later than R&tPN and feels more elegiac and wistful. he talks about a lot of the people who didn't live, a lot of the people who got lost on the way.

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 17:11 (two weeks ago) link

he makes you think about how he feels about them. Which just isn't as interesting.

Those two reviews side by side are a funny comparison.

Astor Piazzolla: "I dont know or care an iota about this kind of music. That being said, I happened to hear it, so here's my opinion.
Born Again: "Why should the world be so fascinated by what THIS guy thinks about? Boooring!"

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 18:19 (two weeks ago) link

I'm a 78-year-old white man who favors radical police reform and hopes you in particular get everything you want from politics and life. But I'm also a veteran editor who knows an unfortunate turn of phrase when he sees one. "Defund the police" does more harm than good. Period. https://t.co/dIwyiUDwX8

— Robert Christgau (@rxgau) November 11, 2020

Well, I'm certainly glad the dean has weighed in on this one.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 20:49 (two weeks ago) link

78? Damn, I hadn't realized.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 20:51 (two weeks ago) link

has this guy’s political outlook changed even slightly since he was chiding funkadelic for letting the black community down or whatever. entitled liberal dickhead

a nice person (Left), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 20:55 (two weeks ago) link

what is even he doing there, pairing or opposing his whiteness/maleness with his seniority & supposed lefty credentials. gross attempted power move

a nice person (Left), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 21:02 (two weeks ago) link

"radical police reform" uh huh

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 21:07 (two weeks ago) link

What he disliked about Funkadelic were their ties to the Process Church of the Final Judgement, a quasi-Satanic occult group. He wrote a review of Ed Sanders' book on the Manson Family and other cults of the era, and swallowed a lot of the author's dubious claims about these occultists.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 21:22 (two weeks ago) link

I didn’t know about that, I was just going off his fymayawf review which seems to epitomise his weird race politics

a nice person (Left), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 21:34 (two weeks ago) link

Lefty cred not very impressive, and he was pretty soft on Bush Wars (as Merle Haggard called them, and not as a compliment), at least when they started (incl. First Gulf War), but I have heard liberal Dems saying that "defund the police" was a gift to Republicans--"radical police reforms" is not much better, just not as catchy, not as likely a gift: if he means something about police unions, who tend to defend even the worst police, then yeah, but he should say so (lots of investigative journalism on this subject, esp. in past year or so).
However dangerous they may or may not have ever been, The Process were (hopefully mostly past tense) Satanists, yeah, though with their own take. a few years ago, I got a promo of one of their songbooks performed by Wooden Wand and friends: hymns to Jesus and to Satan, like If you love X, give Y a try. No idea how closely or how long any of Funkadelic were ever tied in with them, but it was worth mentioning in the post-Manson era, when several cults were becoming more noticeable via bad behavior.

dow, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 22:54 (two weeks ago) link

George Clinton apparently read Process Church literature when he was living in Toronto. The church members, hooded and robed, would hand out their pamphlets to passers-by on Yonge Street. Clinton reprinted some of their writing as the liner notes to Maggot Brain and America Eats Its Young; I don't think he was really a hardcore adherent of their philosophy.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 23:09 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, think you're right, judging by the records.

dow, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 23:12 (two weeks ago) link

The Process were more like a Scientology knockoff, manipulating the malleable; their "theology" was not Satanic so much as a warped Christian bothsidesism:

The Process Church preached the existence of four gods, who were regarded not as literal entities but as inner realities existing within each human personality. Accordingly, these deities were not worshipped. The names of its deities were drawn from traditional Judeo-Christian religion. They were known as Jehovah, Lucifer, Satan, and Christ, and were collectively referred to as the "Great Gods of the Universe." The Church stated that "Jehovah is strength. Lucifer is light. Satan is separation. Christ is unification."

There's a good documentary about them, Sympathy for the Devil; I have the DVD. They were really good at marketing, which made their public profile much larger than their actual membership deserved.

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 23:20 (two weeks ago) link

Xgau, no shame

I can understand someone with different taste not enjoying his takes but in terms of inclusiveness he was way ahead of the curve with pop, soul, r'n'b, hip hop, world music and yeah, female artists. there are great writers on pitchfork but in general the pitchfork perspective is incomparably duller and shallower than his. i'm closer to 40 btw

g simmel, Monday, 16 November 2020 09:31 (one week ago) link

enjoyed rereading this 1976 longform piece abt rockcrit+springsteen (courtly overdecoration of its essential my-colleagues-are-dangerous-naifs thesis and all) this morning while listening to wild+innocent

In the early-'60s tradition of Del Shannon (a closer analogy than Roy Orbison even if he isn't named on Born to Run), Springsteen is a rather operatic rock star. Years of touring have formalized his histrionic tendencies, and now he risks getting tripped up in his own self-consciousness. Further, as Langdon Winner puts it, "Bruce has a real problem with rhythm"; when John Rockwell extols Springsteen's phrasing, I recall uncomfortably that Rockwell's roots are with Caruso rather than Ray Charles. For unlike the R&B-and-blues-influenced titans who are invoked as his predecessors--Presley, Dylan, Van Morrison--Springsteen shows no aptitude for the relaxed scat; he is obviously attracted to rhythm-and-blues as teen rather than black music. But this in itself is far from fatal. It simply means that in these respects the great rocker he resembles is John Lennon...

It was an assumption of most early rock critics, who tended to be young litterateurs on a paying gig, that rock and roll was in hibernation in the years preceding Beatlemania. This was flat-out wrong. The early '60s were a rich if somewhat silly period that nurtured both the soul style (irrelevant here) and a wealth of not-so-ephemeral pop rock and roll, consummated in the enlightened hedonism of the Beach Boys and the great production machines of Motown and Phil Spector. This is Springsteen's era--he may talk Berry and Presley, but his encore is Gary U.S. Bonds....

Like the early '60s, the mid-'70s are a myopic time, but they lack hope and innocence; our rock hero is Elton John, who makes up for his visionlessness with overwhelming studio perspicacity. I'm sure it will seem willful to Jon Landau, who can't stand Old Four Eyes, but on mornings when I feel like playing Born to Run real loud I often opt for Elton's Rock of the Westies as well. Both answer my need for monolithic, full-sounding, produced rock and roll--a need I indulge freely because I know I have other very different ones.... For like so many of the best American popular romantic/primitive formalists, Spector was a unique but very narrow artist. He had a vision, yes--but it was romantic to the edge of camp, barely adequate to his more innocent and hopeful time.

It's fine for Springsteen to set himself up as the boy Darlene Love is gonna marry, or to vouchsafe the Beach Boys some East Coast hustle--but only if he can transform the high fantasy content of those images into something more than another of the doomed-loser myths that have littered America's artscape since the frontier closed. Early rock and roll was energized by the class mobility and material transport of a genuinely expanding economy, and the fact that those stimuli have dissipated doesn't mean people don't still hanker after them. Springsteen does, and so do his fans. His aesthetic strategy on Born to Run is to duplicate that energy and then add a patina of tragedy, just to remind us things aren't so expansive anymore. His rebel adolescent hero can be jubilant or mournful, defiant or driven to self-deceiving, but one thing is certain--he can always feel sorry for himself. This is a high grade of sentimental escapism, indulgence of a sort that is anything but wise. There is nothing tough or new in it. The future, rock and roll version included, is going to be tough, and it had better be new.

American popular romantic/primitive formalism challenges moribund notions of culture and limns a psychological dynamic that anyone who wants to affect this country (or this world) had better not only understand but harness. Nevertheless, it misses an awful lot. Most significant, its purview--just like our establishment, fancy that--is entirely male. I'm not being prissy here; I'm not suggesting that Springsteen write songs to Susan Saxe or give up male chauvinism for Lent. But he might try to defeat the stereotyping that afflicts even Terry in "Backstreets" and Crazy Janie, both presumably people he has known. The women of Dylan, or Ferry, or Fagen and Becker are hardly heroic sisters, but they are at least considerable rivals; their autonomy goes beyond that of Peggy Sue and the ladies of "East of Eden."

Admittedly, the politics of class and sex are a tick of mine, one that may well disfigure my analysis of an artist who has moved my colleagues so profoundly.... Springsteen... has always played a winningly articulate kind of loser, and now he is rich as well as smart. And so my colleagues both thrill to a fellow winner and identify with his loser rebel persona, forgetting in the rock and roll moment how much the winner in them shares with what the fighter was fighting against....

Welles theorizes that Springsteen's success reflects "the psychological needs of those who operate the media" more than it does "the desires and interests of those to whom the media is [sic] directed," but this is massculture theory cant, the kind that can be plugged in anywhere. Obviously, Springsteen does fulfill the fans' needs and desires--that's why they buy him and not Randy Newman. This does not mean, however, that their experience of the artist doesn't differ from the critics'. For the most part, Springsteen the winner can provide them strictly vicarious delight; what they need and desire--ominously, I think--is an artist who romanticizes and even celebrates a defeat that is a lot more likely for them than it is for any establishment, rock and roll version included.

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 14:57 (one week ago) link

I like parts of that a lot, though it's got the condescention towards both the audience and his peers that turns me off on him

I guess I should read more of his long form stuff, the capsule reviews he's known for probably exaggerate the smug, cryptic side of him

this is uhhhh o_O

he is obviously attracted to rhythm-and-blues as teen rather than black music

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 15:17 (one week ago) link

For the most part, Springsteen the winner can provide them strictly vicarious delight; what they need and desire--ominously, I think--is an artist who romanticizes and even celebrates a defeat that is a lot more likely for them than it is for any establishment, rock and roll version included.

^this is kind of interesting given we know what's coming from springsteen - darkness, the river, born in the usa, springsteen felt the same I guess

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 15:19 (one week ago) link

Admittedly, the politics of class and sex are a tick of mine, one that may well disfigure my analysis of an artist who has moved my colleagues so profoundly

"Sometimes it can be a burden, this gigantic brain of mine..."

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 15:54 (one week ago) link

lol

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 16:01 (one week ago) link

tick

Indieland Phil and Indieland Don (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 16:39 (one week ago) link

78? Damn, I hadn't realized.

― pomenitul, Wednesday, November 11, 2020 12:51 PM (six days ago)

I thought he was older tbqh

Destroy (or Defund) both options in the OP

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 17:03 (one week ago) link

To be fair, Christgau is about as defunded now as a rock critic can be.

Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 17:16 (one week ago) link

he says he's making more from his subscription model than he ever suspected.

Thus Sang Freud, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 18:15 (one week ago) link

I'm glad to hear that, but I assumed the previous poster meant that he should be "deplatformed" (without an official soapbox, since no-one is publishing him in a regular forum).

Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 18:18 (one week ago) link

orig included a note loling at how unfortunate “tick” is so close on the page to prissily [sic]ing another writer over using “media” in the singular— but ended up having to admit that the monolithic concept the latter solecism betrays is actually relevant to building a case that a guy thinks in microwaved adornoisms. lol tick tho yeah

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 18:35 (one week ago) link

^booming post

Indieland Phil and Indieland Don (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 18:56 (one week ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-dpqVdKG9I

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 19:05 (one week ago) link

I can't remember which critic wrote about this (it was dated before 2006), but it was someone unaffiliated with the Village Voice and apparently Christgau called him up and badgered him to use a thesaurus. It was probably in response to a Pazz & Jop ballot.

birdistheword, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 19:19 (one week ago) link


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