What Is Rockism ?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
What is rockism, what's so bad about it, and why is the term only ever used by English people ?

I like Tom and Robin's writing a lot, but there's often an undercurrent of "take that, you rockists", a kind of lashing out at a perceived classic-rock hegemony (I'm guessing). But unless I've been missing something and there's a huge groundswell of enthusiasm for Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company among people under 30, wouldn't indie purism/insularity/superiority-complex be the bigger cancer among the kind of music fans likely to read FT ?

Patrick Hould, Thursday, 14 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

It's a set of biases (critical, which means that they can be held and practiced by anyone who asserts their tastes) which are in favor of various things that are priveliged in discourse abou rock music. Albums over songs. "Feeling" over, uh, other stuff. Individual performance and "real" performance over the "fake" (think synths and drum machines). A focus on lyrics. Narrative. "Development". Um... that's a start maybe.

Josh, Thursday, 14 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

It's liking drab music, to put it more concisely ;) Or: it's an apparent presumption that rock is the centre of music and that the ways in which rock gets talked about are the best ways of talking about it and music in general (which is what Josh says). Pitchfork is pretty rockist, so it takes into account indie purism too. But rockist writing is certainly not always bad, and we all have our rockist sides. It's a silly word really.

I dont know about Robin, but I picked up the word from early 80s NME discourse, or rather from reading *about* early 80s NME discourse - it was used a lot by people writing about post-punk and the New Pop.

Tom, Thursday, 14 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I think that was a very popist thing to say of you, Tom. Down with isms. Or up with all of them.

Josh, Thursday, 14 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

the word "rockism" came from a saying of Pete Wylie of Wah! Heat, who announced the "race against rockism" [deriv.obvious, I assume] - and the word was then grabbed by bored crits wanting to summarise everything wrong with rock routine. Wylie later insisted he'd been totally misunderstood: not surprisingly, as Wah! Heat were one of the first groups to be denounced as "rockist".

Other despicably rockist acts included using the words "album", "track" and "group" - better were "LP", "cut", and, oh, this last one I forget.

mark sinker, Thursday, 14 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Rockism/ Rockist - was a term used in the late 80s in Britain - it indicated people who don't listen to experimental music or diverse music, but only like straight ahead rock/metal music hence the term rockist

someone was rockist if they only listened to hard rock music: AC/DC, Black Crowes, Judas Priest/ Gun/ Tesla/ Guns N Roses/Little Angels/ King Swamp/The Almighty/ Def Leppard etc

and their favoutite music night - was "rock nite" - with long hair/leather jacket/ Guns N Roses patches/ jack daniels/ headbanging/ skinny black jeans - ie all the rock cliches - I am not going there it is to rockist

I used to refer in a derogatory manner to someone in University in the late 80s for being to rockist, i.e they use to read only Raw magazine and their music tastes were too rockist.

While I listened to a wider variety of music Talk Talk/Spacemen 3/ Cocteau Twins/ Yello/Colourbox/ The Fall/ Happy Mondays/ My Bloody Valentine/ arkane/ Front 242/ Husker Du/ Mary Margaret O'Hara/ Kate Bush/Detroit techno/ Wire/ Lowlife/That Petrol Emotion/ Throwing Muses/ Sonic Youth/Phillip Boa & the Voodoo Club/ The Young Gods/ The Chameleons/ Blue Nile/ Voivod/ Sisters of Mercy/ Skinny Puppy/New Order/Killing Joke etc

DJ Martian, Thursday, 14 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I think I took the phrase "rockism" from its reuse by the mid-90s MM (in a similar context to the early 80s NME: the dadrock vs. modernist pop debate, etc.)

Lutra Lutra, Friday, 15 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Alright then. What is dad-rock and why is it inherently bad ? Is the Clash dad-rock ? How about King Crimson ? Ozzy Osbourne ? Beck ? Billy Bragg ? Hootie & The Blowfish ? Jerry Lee Lewis ? Howlin Wolf ? The Velvet Underground ? The Byrds ?

If I were to take the term literally and think "music that males with children listen to", I would think dad-rock would be Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Pink Floyd, Sting and Chris DeBurgh (at least around here). But I don't get the feeling that that's what you're referring to.

Patrick, Friday, 15 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

dad rock

is Reef, Paul Weller, Cast, Oasis, Shed 7, Kula Shaker, Ocean Colour Scene - all retrogressive music - that took their influences from the sixities and early 70s - hence the old reference - of dad - i.e dadrock.

Dadrock - focuses on dull conformity of their retro influences, it refuses experimentation and new ideas.

Dadrock, was what brit pop morphed into from 1996 onwards.

Ocean Colour Scene - have often been labelled dadrock. For their ghastly plodding music. A truly disgusting horrible vile dadrock outfit, and the english equivalent of the bland Hootie & the Blowfish, Matchbox 20. Music so horrible- just hearing their music can induce vomitry.

Dadrock values are little englander, warm beer, laddish behaviour, loaded magazine, music conformity, waving the union jack while abroad looking for fights, conservatism, thinking Chris Evans is with it etc

in 2000 dadrock is on the slide - with only Toploader emerging, and they were utter shite.

Artists as diverse as Killing Joke, Six by Seven, Mogwai, Rico and Asian Dub Foundation - have been very critical of dadrock and the narrow cultural & musical agenda they promote.

DJ Martian - djmartian.blogspot.com the dadrock/britpop hater since 1994

DJ Martian, Friday, 15 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Does it have to have a British context, though ? If I remember correctly, Tom has referred to more than once to Steve Earle as the Epitomy Of All That Sucks About Dad-Rock.

Also, when the rockism debate started in the early 80s, who was getting praised by the anti-rockist side ? I'm hoping Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa, but guessing Spandau Ballet and the Human League (who were all right one song at a time on the radio, I guess).

Patrick, Friday, 15 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Dadrock is an even worse term than 'rockist', to be honest, and it holds some implicit and slightly dodgy assumptions about fatherhood and age and so on. But anyway, in its generally understood sense ('boring music, or music which it requires no connection to the pulse of music to 'get'') all the bands previously mentioned were Dadrock. Especially Beck.

And yes, as I understand it everyone you mentioned would have been anti-rockist. It was a term that let in chancers like Spandau Ballet, probably, though for three albums the Human League were at worst interesting and at best brilliant.

Tom, Friday, 15 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

if the byrds and velvets are dadrock what does that make the smiths and mary chain?

sundar subramanian, Saturday, 16 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Beck is dadrock? Hmmm, I'd been reading that word as more stodgy than that, even. Id est Beck is too hip (imagine) for dadrock.

Josh, Saturday, 16 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

ALL boring music is dad-rock ? Even something like Korn ??

Patrick, Sunday, 17 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Beck is merely the hip (with impressionable ironists) face of dadrock.

Aquemini, Sunday, 17 December 2000 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
Q: in the early 80s, who was getting praised by the anti-rockist side? A: Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, Dollar

mark sinker, Tuesday, 20 February 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Alternatively: A: Fire Engines, Raincoats, James White and the Blacks, ABC, Channel 1

You can sneer at it, but it always seemed to me that the term rockist was pretty useful to describe a kind of person (mostly a kind of journalist) who saw their fundamental roots in rock music - white, male, serious, guitar-based - and other musics as an entertaining diversion. I remember thinking Jamming! - for example - was depressingly rockist because I wanted to see them write about reggae and funk alongside the Jasmine Minks. But Jamming! was much happier writing about Billy Bragg and the Alarm. And the Redskins, for that s- o-u-l flavour. Oh yes. I mean, I enjoyed Jamming! but considered it distinctly rockist.

Now I understand that I should expect niche-marketed narrowmindedness. I have learned that it is unreasonable to expect publications to contain a genuine babble of competing voices and tastes.

'Rockist!' was an insult used, it seems to me, to imply that the recipient had seen punk and post-punk as a shot in the arm for rock music, rather than pick up on the various threads of much more interesting music which seemed available at the time. To fall back into a Great Rock Heritage in the shape of, say, the Bunnymen, or U2, or even Magazine (who I love) still seems lazy and tasteless to me. Even though I no longer see either of those terms as valid. Hm.

There's still a great article on the hip hop wars to be written, by the way.

Tim, Tuesday, 20 February 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Tim, how is that lazy and tasteless (lazy I can kind of understand, but the tasteless part baffles me) ? I mean, it's customary to dismiss punk and new wave as old-fart music by now, but back in the early 80's in North America it was pretty bold to even pay attention to the stuff. It was damn near non-existent commercially, you really had to dig to find it. The mainstream was dominated by people like REO Speedwagon, Journey and Alabama, which were somewhat, uh, unsatisfying to anyone who gives a shit about music.

Patrick, Tuesday, 20 February 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
Sometimes I feel that the one thing that irritates me more than 'guitar-music-snobbery' is 'anti-guitar-music-snobbery'.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 14 March 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Really Foxy? *The* one thing? Goodness.

Tim, Thursday, 15 March 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Heavens.

the pinefox, Thursday, 15 March 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
"Anyone who likes [Television] is irredeemably rockist" (Guy, elsewhere).

Is rockism the liking of rock or the preference for it? Should we distinguish between anti-rockism and pop separatism? ;)

Tom, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

It's, uh, interesting when "rockism" is used in the same tone that one would use, say, "pedophile", which is pretty much what Guy did there. Hmmm, I don't know. If rockism = blanket dismissal of all non- rock music that doesn't fit *stereotypical* (I can't emphasize that word enough) rock values, then saying you have to be an irredemable rockist to enjoy Television is just a ludicrous display of attitude.

A lot of the anti-rockism mentality seems to imply that the only way someone can possibly dislike, say, Destiny's Child, is by filtering their music through an outdated set of rock-dude values - I say it's entirely possible to listen to both DC and Television with the same open ears, come away prefering Television by miles, without being a ideologically-rigid pop-hating wet-blanket.

Patrick, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

This might be a bit intra-Derrida twisty even by my standards, but isn't the ESSENCE of anti-rockism the kneejerk redemption of the currently irredeemable? Whatsoever that be...

I'd kinda like to quote the original Pete Wylie interview in which the term arose, but you know what — I lent my copy of NME that week to Matt Black of Coldcut (then Matt Cohn of the Jazz Insects), because it contained a review of the first A Certain Ratio LP — and he THREW IT AWAY instead of returning it!! When I complained — noting that Ian Penman had written said review — Matt replied: "Mark, you ARE Ian Penman."

So can I be Everett True yet?

mark s, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

My "irredeemably rockist’ comment was aimed at Tom because rockist is one of his favourite terms, and there seemed some irony that he was extolling Television who are obviously part of the modern rock canon – as of course are the Clash, Pistols et al.

The origins of the term don’t matter too much. For me rockist means an approach – current irredeemable rockers include U2, Primal Scream, Manic Street Preachers, Pearl Jam. If you can air guitar to it, it’s rock. Whether you care for redemption is a separate issue.

Guy, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"If you can air guitar to it, it’s rock."

Best definition of rock. Ever. :)

Omar, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Maybe so, but it clearly includes great scads of disco: you can air guitar to Chic.

mark s, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Which makes sense: see Chic - Television debates (threads). Ah, this all starts to make sense now :)

Omar, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

You could air guitar to The Carpenters... but no-one does. I suspect Chic fans practised nifty steps (do you remember when dancing involved the feet!), rather than air guitar - whilst Talking Heads, who employed the same sound, always attracted air guitaring fans.

Guy, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Air guitar is dancing for people who are frightened of the middle of their bodies.

mark s, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Absolutely!

Guy, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ergo: rockists are afraid of the middle of their bodies.

Who says ILM debates never get anywhere?

Nick, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

do you remember when dancing involved the feet!
I think everyone decided to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground after seeing Brother Beyond dance. Yikes!

Stevie Nixed, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
rockists are afraid of the middle of their bodies

Surely this would mean that Smiths and Belle & Sebastian fans = rockists, and Rolling Stones fans = non-rockists ?

Patrick, Tuesday, 21 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

If only all Rolling Stones fans were as unafraid of the middle of their bodies as Mick was, this would be true.

Tim, Tuesday, 21 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(if unafraid of middle of mick's body, then surely unafraid of middle of ANY body)

Stones = MOST INAUTHENTIC ROCK GROUP OF ALL TIME BAR NONE, and that's what's GRATE abt em of course. Rockists SAY they like em, but when you go deeper, it's all talk.

(Patrick, is that you moved and back and settled in? Or are you another anti-anti- rockist Patrick joined forces with the first?)

mark s, Tuesday, 21 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Mark S - correct-o! If I had a quid for every 'rockist' who tried to tell me that Van Halen was better than the Stones (faster guitar player, of course), I could afford every Stones bootleg ever.

dave q, Wednesday, 22 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Mark - same anti-anti-rockist Patrick as before, new e-mail address, new country.

Patrick, Wednesday, 22 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
"rockist" was a term coined by Melody Maker journalists in the early 80s to denote a sort of attitude that is obsessed with authenticity, worships the canon (ie only likes things if they have/will "stand the test of time", favours albums over singles, mind over body, moralism over materialism.

Jan Geerinck, Wednesday, 6 November 2002 22:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
Is it time to revive this discussion? Some possibly contentious points and questions then: Is 'rockist' as a term only relevant in debates over the value of particular forms of popular music of the late 20th (now early 21st century)? Because it seems most useful to me in describing how most critics' only reference points exist in that span. Rock criticism is cut off from much understanding of all the kinds of music that have come before and often those that coexist. The very idea of 'rock' is itself a phenomenon of rockism.

Amateurist (amateurist), Monday, 23 December 2002 06:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Is it time to revive this discussion? Some possibly contentious points and questions then: Is 'rockist' as a term only relevant in debates over the value of particular forms of popular music of the late 20th (now early 21st century)? Because it seems most useful to me in describing how most critics' only reference points exist in that span. Rock criticism is cut off from much understanding of all the kinds of music that have come before and often those that coexist. The very idea of 'rock' is itself a phenomenon of rockism.

Amateurist (amateurist), Monday, 23 December 2002 06:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

four months pass...
Is it time to revive this discussion?
I say YES

Lord Custos Epsilon (Lord Custos Epsilon), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:16 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Rockist!

Aaron W (Aaron W), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Rockism is great!

Johnney B (Johnney B), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Rockism = everyone should like what I like because what I like is OBJECTIVELY great.

Did I get that right?

Frühlingsmute (Wintermute), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:28 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Okay, let me explain. "Rock" (big word, only 4 letters) is a cool thing. I'm sure most of us agree with that. Now, rock usually works with or within the things that anti-rockists take umbrage with :

Albums over songs. "Feeling" over, uh, other stuff. Individual performance and "real" performance over the "fake" (think synths and drum machines). A focus on lyrics. Narrative. "Development".

says Josh.

AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH IT!

As a side point, I don't think that the world is rockist at all. It only turns into a rockist review when a reviewer who's only used to reviewing rock tries to review somethign else - not equipped with the tools maybe? If you're used to talking about how an album flows from song to song (which is often, for me, an element in the enjoyment of music) how do you cope if there's only 1 track? Or 12 indistinguisble tracks? How do you give a drum machine a mark out of ten for the drumming?

P.S. I'd like to append all of this by saying that I really don't knwo what I'm talking about. Thank you.

Johnney B (Johnney B), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I've always found that American "indie" people have a far deeper appreciation of rock music than their British counterparts. You know that Thurston Moore not only grew up listening to Kiss and Foghat but probably still digs them whereas someone like Stephen Pastel would piss his pants if you turned his amp up above 3 let alone 11.

Dadaismus (Dada), Monday, 12 May 2003 12:11 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

He loved/loves maybe Sparks, too

Andrew Thames (Andrew Thames), Monday, 12 May 2003 12:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

...and you count Sparks as a rock band?!?!?!

Dadaismus (Dada), Monday, 12 May 2003 12:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
Rockism is;

Privileging of received wisdom over new discourse
Privileging of credibility / authenticity
Privileging of numbers and categorisation / lists

Mythology making the arbitrary appear necessary / essential

Making the cultural appear natural by making it appear to be invisible

The pursuit of objectivity

Jimmybommy JimmyK'KANG (Nick Southall), Thursday, 16 September 2004 08:16 (twelve years ago) Permalink

xp

136k compared to what?

almost the entire world has access to youtube

136k is a small number (ie not popular)

i n f i n i t y (∞), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:08 (two months ago) Permalink

compared to the 8,000 views in the same period of time of the other stuff he's posted. that subreddit is the same way - i sort by most recent and i get 1, 1, 1, 0, 98, 8, 0, 0... like, where the fuck does the "98" come from?

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:12 (two months ago) Permalink

136K in a month is pretty popular

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:12 (two months ago) Permalink

like, not Taylor Swift popular, but certainly jazz fusion popular

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:12 (two months ago) Permalink

and then on the front page there's that parekh and singh video posted yesterday which has over 3,700, apparently because the video is a homage to wes anderson and people really like wes anderson? or something? god knows the music is wholly unremarkable.

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:17 (two months ago) Permalink

Bonnie McKee is a great example. Why is she much less successful than Katy Perry when she writes so many of her songs and has a better singing voice? As far as I understand it's because (1) Katy Perry had a big novelty hit which got her in the public eye and had her pick of collaborators after that and (2) Bonnie McKee has one of those faces which, while attractive, just doesn't look particularly striking and therefore doesn't get the prerequisite clicks. None of that seems fair, but it sort of makes sense in its own way. What I don't understand is why nobody round here seems to get behind BM.

Camaraderie at Arms Length, Friday, 12 May 2017 21:18 (two months ago) Permalink

That dragon king shit is great!

usually I don't fuck w Japanese folk jazz fusion jawns that have less than a milli but I'll make an exception

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:21 (two months ago) Permalink

or it's because Katy Perry's topline writers have a better grasp on tight melodies and the songwriting's less diffuse? when i listen to bonnie mckee i hear well-crafted pop songs that nevertheless feel a little more "cluttered," especially when held up against something like Teenage Dream. image crafting has something to do with the disparity in popularity, sure, but it's annoying to see people make these assumptions about pop listeners that imply they literally don't listen to the music.

austinb, Friday, 12 May 2017 21:22 (two months ago) Permalink

if most clicks/views are coming from that subreddit i wouldn't say he is popular, but more like he, because of that dude posting the music to yt/reddit, has a niche following

popularity to me suggests mass appeal, and if you're referring to local fame as mass appeal, sure, he has it, but in terms of comparing popular mainstream music and non-mainstream, he seems to be pretty clearly on the niche side

there are yt vloggers with more views than this guy who appear to be nobodys

i n f i n i t y (∞), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:23 (two months ago) Permalink

it is good shit, totally, but if i'm going to try to explain why that's up to 136k in a month and, say, sister irene o'connor's "fire", which i remember back from when wfmu featured it on their blog and which got upvoted to 750 when it was posted to /r/listentothis last week, is still only at 30,000 since january of 2014... i can't do it. it's completely and totally arbitrary. as far as i can tell the reddit zerg rush pushed something on youtube's back end where it started randomly recommending that record to people, and that's had a snowball effect, and sister irene o'connor never hit that trigger? god, the whole internet is a fucking invisible rube goldberg machine.

and yes i'm aware that audio-only posts of albums from 1979 don't compare in the number of clicks to man-babies cursing at video games.

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:27 (two months ago) Permalink

I find cluttered often = rough edges, which is the appeal of a lot of music, surely? But yes, it's obvious on every level that she has much less monetary investment behind the writing / production (and marketing, etc.), but that's surely a symptom rather than a cause.

Camaraderie at Arms Length, Friday, 12 May 2017 21:29 (two months ago) Permalink

i just think of it in terms of my own experience

one year one of my bands made it into billboard's top 200 albums and top 100 requested songs in canada

nobody knew our first or last names or recognized us. metrics for our album/songs i'm going to assume were extremely low (no idea how we made it in, but apparently people were listening)

and this is a conventional measure (billboard) and it was over a decade ago

it's not something i studied or ever looked into but either something was rigged (i'm willing to go with this theory), the bar to make it into these billboard lists were extremely low or there was just a lot of bad music that year

i n f i n i t y (∞), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:36 (two months ago) Permalink

do people know about d.a.'s "ready 'n' steady"? this was a record that appeared for three weeks in 1979 on billboard's "bubbling under" singles. problem was that while the song was recorded, it was never actually released anywhere. drove the whitburn junkies crazy for decades trying to find it! (it's a pretty good song!) in fairness to billboard, it is the only record to appear on their charts that was never actually released, which is a pretty good record all things considered, but man, the story of "ready 'n' steady" is so much of the story of popular music.

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:44 (two months ago) Permalink

To Austinb's point, Father John Misty put out some "pop songs" on SoundCloud, just as an art prank (barff) to show how "easy" it was, and sure he's talented enough that he did a bunch of the au courant production tricks and got the surface level stuff pretty on I couldn't remember any of them the minute I flipped to the next thing

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 12 May 2017 21:50 (two months ago) Permalink

@Camaraderie: i think rough edges are part of the appeal for lots of music, but when you're trying to create a "pop hit" i feel like part of the point is to buff out those edges. it sounds "expensive" (to crib from Justin Bieber, pop critic), but it also just sounds more "perfect," which is where, i think, the concept of a "perfect pop song" comes from. the best pop, to me (subjectively speaking, as a listener) embraces its commodity status both structurally and in production.

austinb, Friday, 12 May 2017 22:23 (two months ago) Permalink

or it's because Katy Perry's topline writers have a better grasp on tight melodies and the songwriting's less diffuse?

bonnie mckee IS katy perry's topline writer. dr. luke and benny blanco are producers.

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Friday, 12 May 2017 22:27 (two months ago) Permalink

i didn't know that, my bad @katherine. i shouldn't have collapsed all of her co-writers and producers in what i was saying.

austinb, Friday, 12 May 2017 22:30 (two months ago) Permalink

an auteur like Prince for example (i could use recent rappers but then the thread would devolve into controversy from ppl who haven't paid attention to rap since Bush I) was ripped off left & right (likewise there was a counter-pressure from the Jam & Lewis-produced electro R&B of the era which was also ripped off) so people in the music industry made lots of money. Pointing to the fact that Prince is seen an "auteur" isn't to suggest we should buy into some uncritical cheerleading narrative (which tbh is the status quo right now lol but i dont mind) but also points to his centrality to the musical conversation and the way that it drives the entire *economy* of pop. And there are other examples who never achieve his level of fame, who toil in the industry and are ripped off but through the objective nihilism playground (or w/e) of that industry are under- or never recognized for their contributions. Much of my experience has been that the further i go into writing about music, the more i'm trying to identify those tributaries where innovation and trends really take place, and how they flow, and what inspires them; and explaining the context for it, because no one from The Industry managed to swoop in and A&R than innovation so that you didn't *need* context to "get it."

― Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 12 May 2017 18:46 (three hours ago) Permalink

I think dance music criticism (or at least the kind that I tend to like) has frequently tried to be nuanced in its treatment of the "flow" of innovation between apparent leaders and followers - the primary difference being that how this happens within given sub-genre X tends to escape late capitalism's Eye of Sauron unless and until someone troubles the charts with it.

By the same token those scenes aren't as conducive to the deep investigative profiling work you like to do vis a vis rap.

Tim F, Friday, 12 May 2017 22:35 (two months ago) Permalink

as far as "buffing out those edges" I think this too is confirmation bias -- a lot of hits are messy, full of seams, rush jobs, etc. if you listen to them as songs. "expensive" and "perfect" are pretty indicative I think because they don't actually mean anything

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Friday, 12 May 2017 22:38 (two months ago) Permalink

i didn't know "ready 'n' steady" actually got recorded! just assumed it didn't exist at all. lemme search

dyl, Friday, 12 May 2017 23:34 (two months ago) Permalink

that should have said "A&R that innovation so that you didn't need context to get it" but i'm assuming you guys read that correctly

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 12 May 2017 23:42 (two months ago) Permalink

I think dance music criticism (or at least the kind that I tend to like) has frequently tried to be nuanced in its treatment of the "flow" of innovation between apparent leaders and followers - the primary difference being that how this happens within given sub-genre X tends to escape late capitalism's Eye of Sauron unless and until someone troubles the charts with it.

By the same token those scenes aren't as conducive to the deep investigative profiling work you like to do vis a vis rap.

― Tim F, Friday, May 12, 2017 5:35 PM (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

which dance music do you mean here? the heyday of pop dance in the 80s/early 90s is a rich, rich text for examples of the poptimist stars banking off others innovations. (I of course don't think ilx poptimists are ignorant of Madonna's "inspirations"/co-options, nor do I think that they're wrong when they point out that she did something w/ those innovations that many of the innovators would not have thought to do. However, a poptimism that focuses on the story of madonna at the expense of jellybean benitez because he wasn't 'scalable' misunderstands the history of music. Madonna is a funny example, I guess, because appropriation is so baked into her story at this point, but i guess what i'm saying is that the logic of capitalism taking innovations and making them as big as possible isn't a neutral good

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 12 May 2017 23:47 (two months ago) Permalink

i feel like that last post im just saying stuff everyone already knows. i certainly don't think tim doesn't know these dynamics

but i have also watched people malign 'rap for rap's sake' in poptimist context that ignores that sometimes genre cornerstone artists have actually shaped the sound of things; there are multiple forms of genre-ism & its not all an authenticity chase, black american music has a weird path going from underground phenomenon to accent in a katy perry video and the many stages in between.

like there was def a phase where the critical apparatus of [major publication here] would fuck with rap that existed to counteract the dominant idea of 'ignorant' rap music, or would fuck with the insanely popular pop rap, but stuff that didn't fit into those two boxes was by & large ignored as for "purists" unless it hit the hipster fetishization jackpot

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 12 May 2017 23:51 (two months ago) Permalink

this works with songwriters too -- to pick one example, a lot of britney's topline writers, at least before the 2010s, were black women, the britney-before-britney was jessica folcker, etc

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Friday, 12 May 2017 23:52 (two months ago) Permalink

(and of course purists do exist, although they've largely become a phantom boogieman/strawman to help drive lil yachty's PR dreams)

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 12 May 2017 23:55 (two months ago) Permalink

this works with songwriters too -- to pick one example, a lot of britney's topline writers, at least before the 2010s, were black women, the britney-before-britney was jessica folcker, etc

― sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Friday, May 12, 2017 6:52 PM (two minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yes—the entire industry is like this btw

i mean sometimes it makes sense, like I definitely think the Industry can often make smart decisions by looking at the bottom line, I'm not sure Skillz ever would have had a huge rap career even with tons of resources behind him, and it was very smart of Jive to not let Tribe put out "Georgie Porgie" lol

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 12 May 2017 23:57 (two months ago) Permalink

Lol @ "boogieman"

Οὖτις, Friday, 12 May 2017 23:59 (two months ago) Permalink

I mean there are plenty of white dude writers (certainly the majority of producers) so it isn't the *entire* industry

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Saturday, 13 May 2017 00:04 (two months ago) Permalink

I don't really consider most writing about (any era of) Madonna to be dance music criticism precisely.

Tim F, Saturday, 13 May 2017 00:08 (two months ago) Permalink

"pooh bear snapped" after the release of justin bieber's 'what do you mean' is my best tweet

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Saturday, 13 May 2017 00:50 (two months ago) Permalink

I don't really consider most writing about (any era of) Madonna to be dance music criticism precisely.

― Tim F, Friday, May 12, 2017 7:08 PM (forty-two minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yah i dont disagree i think i went off on that tangent just cuz i was curious what you meant specifically. obv i don't think matos writing about kompakt for minneapolis city paper applies lol

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Saturday, 13 May 2017 00:51 (two months ago) Permalink

Me trying to read this thread like:
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRvMXOrCmaBd-VewLmVqH-2yPcUyqeBLDYIaPnogrwK4un5eTtoTg

Austin, Saturday, 13 May 2017 01:26 (two months ago) Permalink

The forum for that kind kind of trash contribution is twitter

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Saturday, 13 May 2017 01:50 (two months ago) Permalink

Me trying to read Twitter like:
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRvMXOrCmaBd-VewLmVqH-2yPcUyqeBLDYIaPnogrwK4un5eTtoTg

Austin, Saturday, 13 May 2017 02:13 (two months ago) Permalink

me trying to watch family guy like

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Saturday, 13 May 2017 02:19 (two months ago) Permalink

lol

dyl, Saturday, 13 May 2017 03:16 (two months ago) Permalink

that osamu kitajima is fuckin great, tyvm rushomancy

People like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, and (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Saturday, 13 May 2017 12:10 (two months ago) Permalink

he's one of the worst music writers in the world

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 13 May 2017 17:47 (two months ago) Permalink

How integral his personal story is to his music.

*barfs*

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 13 May 2017 17:52 (two months ago) Permalink

his everyman persona

nomar, Saturday, 13 May 2017 17:57 (two months ago) Permalink

Guys, guys. . . guys, do you, like. . . are you, like, into bands or. . . ?????. . . do you like, like, listening to records. . . or. . . ???????

Austin, Saturday, 13 May 2017 18:06 (two months ago) Permalink

who are you

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Saturday, 13 May 2017 18:12 (two months ago) Permalink

I love all you music critic guys

Treeship, Saturday, 13 May 2017 18:19 (two months ago) Permalink

Just a guy that's into bands and likes listening to records.

Austin, Saturday, 13 May 2017 18:20 (two months ago) Permalink

And posting words

duped and used by my worst Miss U (President Keyes), Saturday, 13 May 2017 18:40 (two months ago) Permalink

Enh.

Austin, Saturday, 13 May 2017 19:06 (two months ago) Permalink

lol

Odysseus, Saturday, 13 May 2017 22:43 (two months ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.