pitchfork is dumb (#34985859340293849494 in a series.)

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Donald
Oh my God, what just happened at P-Fork
Mon Apr 1 07:08:25 2002
63.167.209.146

I'm not going to spew any elitist bullshit, but Alanis Morrissette, Kylie Minogue? Oh my fucking God. I'll stay for a little while to see if P-Fork still serves my needs, but with today's front page, I'm not counting on it. I understand the career move, but I just don't think it's going to serve me any more.

jess, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

stu Re: Oh my God, what just happened at P-Fork Mon Apr 1 07:41:08 2002 65.92.243.96

I wonder if it's going to serve anyone's needs. I don't think a web- only publication can attract readers interested in Alanis Morissette and Kylie Minogue. To my knowledge, no one actually hunts down information about such artists. People just hear about it on tv and that's it. Let's give Pitchfork a few months, until the corporate contributors pull the plug.

Mitch Lastnamewithheld, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I am very disappointed. Could they have made it any more obvious? COME ON, PEOPLE.

David Raposa, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't think a web- only publication can attract readers interested in Alanis Morissette and Kylie Minogue.

QUOTE OF THE YEAR.

jess, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

What makes me think that things will be back to normal by tomorrow? ;)

Sean Carruthers, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't know Sean... it would be April 2nd, which would make it one day after...

Andy K, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

You scalawags, you make me laff. Perhaps.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Speaking of which, HEY NED! My Bloody Valentine are finally releasing their new album!

Sean Carruthers, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

We thought about that as one of the news items.

Dare, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

"i for one will not be returning to this site if you're seriously going to be reviewing alanis. like i can't read that shit everywhere and anywhere? the reason i had pitchfork as my home page was because i could actually find out about the shit i care about. i'm glad you can pay your rent now, it's too bad that you sold out your millions of readers for britney fans in body glitter to do it."

Dare, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

pitchfork as your homepage, classic or dud?

the first thing i thought (after, well, this is no all cure all the time) was that i wished they really had "sold out" (what the fuck, is this 93?), because maybe it would mean LESS GODDAMN PROG.

jess, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

he's calling you out, leone. FITE!

Todd Burns, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I think I'd rather read about Alanis and Kylie than most of the stuff they normally review.

Sean, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Their funniest joke came months ago.

Nicole, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't know what all you fools are talking about... I only WISH all of it were true.

Well, the Albini thing practically is...

mr. sparkle, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

We thought about that as one of the news items.

Makes sense, really.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't know what all you fools are talking about... I only WISH all of it were true.

Well, the Albini thing practically is... huh???

Brock K., Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

LESS GODDAMN PROG

So, does that mean we'll write about the next Radiohead album, or not?

dleone, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

And that Flaming Lips thing actually is true. I think.

powertonevolume, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Hein? Is the joke that Pitchfork reviewed some pop musik?? Even their KYLIE review was as dull as www.defra.gov.uk/farm/sustain/default.htm ARRRGHHHHHHHHH!! Then again Pitchfork = dull is a big shocker along the lines of Nelson in COLUMN!!!!!! shocker.

Sarah, Tuesday, 2 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

'On' column? 'HAS' column?! I can see him from my bladdy window but does that help my BRANE I think NICHT.

Sarah, Tuesday, 2 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Dom, how much of the Kylie review was farce? "The song exudes a catchiness that belies its inherent simplicity, so reassuring during an era when chart acts sound increasingly baroque and producers race to see who can ape electronic music trends first" sounds at least semi-serious.

Mitch Lastnamewithheld, Tuesday, 2 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

that is because kylie is, like sophie ellis bextor, going for a retro- mancuso/levan vibe, with all the classicism inherent in such an endeavour.

gareth, Tuesday, 2 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Actually, I did try to write about that record in the same way I would have for anything else at Pitchfork. I thought the gag would be better if people really thought we were changing styles, and Spin may be full of ads, but at least the reviews aren't jokes! As far as I know, anyway. Dullness wasn't intentional though.

dleone, Tuesday, 2 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

best e-mail address ever, eh starbar?

dudley, Tuesday, 2 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Dead right sir. Power shandies all round to the geezer behind it eh?

Sarah, Wednesday, 3 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

From: DWilliams@EQRWORLD.com Subject: NO, Just Admit You Like It Up There

You have completed your learning of life's lessons. Now, you suck ass just like all the other bores before you. Kylie, Alanis? Whatever, bitch. I am sure you already have the defense mechanisms in place so, this will mean nothing but, another exercise in...oh, who cares. Looking elsewhere for reality...or maybe I can pretend to be a rubber worm like pitchwhore.com...here big fishie, look, I rounded 'em up for you in a arrel. A whole demographic!

Not Funny

Dare, Thursday, 4 April 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

five years pass...

Y'know sometimes they really are asking for it:

"White Williams issues a debut album layered with impeccable influences-- including Roxy Music, Beck, and T. Rex-- and a sense of calculated disaffection."

Well shit SIGN ME UP.

lukas, Thursday, 1 November 2007 18:57 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, that was a bit of a repellant blurb if I ever saw one.

Z S, Thursday, 1 November 2007 19:01 (eleven years ago) link

Wait, are you saying that doesn't seem accurate?

nabisco, Thursday, 1 November 2007 19:10 (eleven years ago) link

I read 'White' as 'While' and thought "The Saul Williams album sounds like that?"

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 1 November 2007 19:11 (eleven years ago) link

it's more that they used that as their _hook_

x-post

lukas, Thursday, 1 November 2007 19:20 (eleven years ago) link

The front blurbs are always stripped/condensed summary descriptions from the review inside -- in this case

His songs are thin and languorous, with impeccable influences and the sort of calculated disaffection that comes from an MFA in design and a good weed connection.

nabisco, Thursday, 1 November 2007 19:46 (eleven years ago) link

omg that is horrorshow

The blurb >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the article quote

HI DERE, Thursday, 1 November 2007 20:18 (eleven years ago) link

I assume that's an article quote; nabisco, if you just made that up then SHAME ON YOU.

HI DERE, Thursday, 1 November 2007 20:22 (eleven years ago) link

why would a critic ever try to guess where a song comes from?

Mr. Que, Thursday, 1 November 2007 20:23 (eleven years ago) link

I'm more bothered by beck as impeccable influence

dmr, Thursday, 1 November 2007 20:24 (eleven years ago) link

Wait, are you saying that doesn't seem accurate?

The description of "a sense of calculated disaffection", a combination of words that makes me imagine the shittiest band of all time, followed by "recommended" was repellant for me. I guess I like my disaffection to be natural, not carefully planned, so I would never recommend something like that.

Then again, I've never heard it so what do I know and so on.

Z S, Thursday, 1 November 2007 20:29 (eleven years ago) link

b-but someone at pfork said "hm, how can we get people to read this review? I know! we'll mention the artist's impeccable influences and calculated disaffection! that'll reel 'em in!"

RIP satire etc

lukas, Thursday, 1 November 2007 20:34 (eleven years ago) link

they could have collaged+mis-used _anything_ from the article, and they collaged+mis-used that

lukas, Thursday, 1 November 2007 20:35 (eleven years ago) link

The White Williams album reminds me much more of late 10cc and Bread than of Roxy Music. That bit was like the classic "Let's over-hip our influences" review.

I eat cannibals, Thursday, 1 November 2007 20:54 (eleven years ago) link

The description of "a sense of calculated disaffection", a combination of words that makes me imagine the shittiest band of all time, followed by "recommended" was repellant for me.

See, this sounds like the blurb WORKED for you -- i.e., efficiently let you know you would probably not like this act.

I agree, though, it looks kind of weird to have such a neutral-to-disparaging summary blurb on a recommended album.

nabisco, Thursday, 1 November 2007 22:04 (eleven years ago) link

I like how they gave the new Babyshambles, which is actually tuneful and a good all around album, a 4.0, but gave the first one, which is dreadful and hard to listen to / bloated, a 7.3,

Yeah, it was definitely TWICE as good as the new one. Fuckin' morons.

Erock Zombie, Friday, 2 November 2007 18:30 (eleven years ago) link

ugh, "impeccable influences" is really repulsive.

Hurting 2, Friday, 2 November 2007 18:46 (eleven years ago) link

(xpost) was that a parody or are you really getting worked up about an internet score for babyshambles

dmr, Friday, 2 November 2007 18:47 (eleven years ago) link

He was worked up?

roxymuzak, Friday, 2 November 2007 18:49 (eleven years ago) link

wait, i thought the grading scale was logarithmic. like 5 is twice as good as 4. somebody email ryan schreiber to find out.

elan, Friday, 2 November 2007 19:14 (eleven years ago) link

shit, now i need to reevaluate all my purchases of the last five years.

elan, Friday, 2 November 2007 19:16 (eleven years ago) link

It's actually modelled after the Richter Scale, hence the superlative designations of various well-reviewed albums as either "Reccomended," "Best New Music," or "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On."

Alex in Baltimore, Friday, 2 November 2007 19:24 (eleven years ago) link

counterpoint: new crank yankers episodes are airing now

maura, Friday, 11 October 2019 15:36 (three days ago) link

See also: Logan Paul, et al.

pomenitul, Friday, 11 October 2019 15:42 (three days ago) link

oh no an agenda

mark s, Friday, 11 October 2019 15:46 (three days ago) link

not sure how essay confirms the list agenda

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 11 October 2019 15:49 (three days ago) link

the agenda was to piss austin off, and they succeeded wildly

flopsy bird (voodoo chili), Friday, 11 October 2019 15:52 (three days ago) link

and I'd rather have Jason King write it than anyone else.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 11 October 2019 15:52 (three days ago) link

I've somehow had the willpower to not look at this list
But I did see Frank Ocean was number one on Twitter

I listened to it again, I don't know what I'm missing with Blonde but I do not get it

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 11 October 2019 15:55 (three days ago) link

the agenda was to piss austin off,

not really. it's just funny to me. they are spewing fox news levels of self-proliferating propaganda. "the most trusted voice in music" or "fair and balanced" — yeah, for that one very specific thing.

the pushing of a narrative is just stupid.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Friday, 11 October 2019 16:09 (three days ago) link

I think AC/DC is the only band I have ever seen successfully open a set with its biggest hit.

I've seen Beyonce open with Crazy In Love and she killed it.

Just realised there's only one St Vincent album on the list.

Matt DC, Friday, 11 October 2019 16:13 (three days ago) link

i'm not mad, i'm laughing.

flopsy bird (voodoo chili), Friday, 11 October 2019 16:23 (three days ago) link

I listened to it again, I don't know what I'm missing with Blonde but I do not get it

i think i know what i'm missing and i kinda get it but i don't like it
the disappearing of frank ocean up his own ass has been a lamentable thing

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 11 October 2019 17:02 (three days ago) link

i mean, i was genuinely laughing when reading that piece published this morning. the floundering and excessive self-hyping they're doing at this point to try and legitimize their own position is just laughable at this point to me. feels very juvenile and disingenuous for me to have to add "lol" to all my posts. this whole debacle is literally a joke to me. i've gotten some mighty healthy laughs out of it so far, and i enjoy laughing, so i'd like to continue to add on to the joke.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Friday, 11 October 2019 17:03 (three days ago) link

i don't get the agenda thing, it seems very much in line with a lot of other essays published in tandem w/best-of lists or decade summations, simply taking an aspect of music of the past decade and ruminating about what it all meant and continues to mean.

omar little, Friday, 11 October 2019 17:15 (three days ago) link

Which can’t be said of the third track, titled by a lousy joke that feels, well, profane. How about we not appropriate the sacrament of an African American spiritual promising biblical deliverance from slavery in the service of a hardware pun? How about we not “Swing Low, Sweet LFO,” with its plinky Pianet and sugary Prophet 6 sweeps, less offensive than Moby’s appropriation of spirituals for car commercials but also, unfortunately, very much not as memorable?

this writer doesn't understand religion or music

j., Friday, 11 October 2019 17:44 (three days ago) link

warning: cornball post comin up, but here goes

way upthread someone posted about the explicit editorial directive to focus on the music's impact on the larger culture, how it changed things, etc. that I just found pretty depressing, to be honest. It's not that context isn't important for music (it definitely is), but it strikes me as deeply misguided to privilege context over actual content. It skips over what makes music important and impactful in the first place: the way it emotionally/intellectually/physically engages the listener. Like, what makes music "matter" in the broader context, first and foremost, is that it strikes a chord with the listener - and what strikes a chord with a listener isn't a checklist of "this music was made by artist X and their backstory is Y and their political positions are Z" it's always something deeper and more mysterious and more basic than that.

By way of a recent example, on the Neil Young thread yesterday I brought up the second verse of "Rockin' in the Free World" as a verse that always really hits me, no matter how many times I've heard it. And what gets me about that song and that verse in particular isn't the Reagan/Bush context or the album's "comeback" role in his catalog, it's that specific lyrical image of lost youth, of squandered opportunity, of tragic failure, delivered by a quavery, keening voice over a minor key chord change - that is then immediately followed by that kick into the defiant, major key refrain of the chorus. It's *that sound* and *those words* and the way they're knotted together that is more interesting, more deeply affecting than knowing that it was Neil Young doing it and when and why etc etc. Even if that stuff is interesting (and it is!) it isn't what makes the music affect me in the first place.

Οὖτις, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:01 (three days ago) link

A fascinating conflation's happening in your post, Shakey. Your reaction to "Rockin'..." -- a valid one -- is not any different than the listener in 1989 exhausted by eight years of Reagan and bracing himself for four years of Poppy. The difference, though, is how you explained your reaction in musical terms. You could argue that the near absence of any attempt to explain what song arrangements do in many of these blurbs is the disappointment.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:05 (three days ago) link

well yeah

Οὖτις, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:07 (three days ago) link

I guess the specificity of couching things strictly in their original socio-political context annoys me. It can help you understand where the music comes from, sure. But to stick with this particular example, the images and the emotions in the song map onto a whole bunch of other contexts as well - everyone has personal experiences with failure and loss and just trying to keep on going in the middle of regret and sadness, it's not like that's unique to Americans in the 80s.

Οὖτις, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:13 (three days ago) link

The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an "objective correlative"; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:15 (three days ago) link

(NB: I don't believe Eliot)

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:16 (three days ago) link

hamlet piece is completely boneheaded imo, shoulda stuck to cats

difficult listening hour, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:21 (three days ago) link

his favorite Shakespeare was Cymbeline!

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:22 (three days ago) link

In a similarly universalising mode, I wonder if it's an expression of the flattening and weightlessness of things that, I think, Frederic Jameson gabbed about: every capsule review is a frantic attempt to anchor things as they hurtle past. There's also been a tip towards an ecstatic register in *all* contemporary criticism from what I can make out. Which does chime with Eliot's whole 'indisciplined squads of emotion' schtick.

Life is a meaningless nightmare of suffering...save string (Chinaski), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:26 (three days ago) link

there's definitely a tone of desperation - "this MATTERS! because it's tied to other things that MATTER!"

but I think the simple fact is that for large swathes of the population, music *doesn't* matter, not like it did for a few decades anyway. People don't invest it with the level of emotional, financial, or psychological commitment that they used to. I mean, you used to be able to make a reasonable guess at what music people liked by the way they dressed, that's how deeply people incorporated music into their identities. That's just one minor example, but that level of engagement for the most part just isn't common anymore. People construct their identities out of different tools now, and music has a diminished role in that, which means they pay less attention to it which means it doesn't have the dramatic impact it used to be capable of.

Οὖτις, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:32 (three days ago) link

On the contrary: music is as or more central than ever in identity construction among high schoolers and college kids.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:33 (three days ago) link

really? maybe I'm just in the wrong world of young people...

Οὖτις, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:34 (three days ago) link

but I think the simple fact is that for large swathes of the population, music *doesn't* matter, not like it did for a few decades anyway. People don't invest it with the level of emotional, financial, or psychological commitment that they used to.

ah yes this is provable

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:35 (three days ago) link

have you been to a billie eilish concert

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:35 (three days ago) link

I know you interact with way more of that age group than I currently do

xp

Οὖτις, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:35 (three days ago) link

using anecdotal evidence to make this claim is bullshit and you know it

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:36 (three days ago) link

I do know a couple teenage billie eilish fans! my daughter otoh had never heard of her.

xp

Οὖτις, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:36 (three days ago) link

using anecdotal evidence to make this claim is bullshit and you know it

I do, I'm happy to concede the latter point and entertain other explanations for why critical discourse has, as Chinaski said, seemed to devolve into a "frantic attempt to anchor things as they hurtle past"

Οὖτις, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:38 (three days ago) link

I’m glad we finally get to the Poptimism Classic argument of who knows the most children

Whiney G. Weingarten, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:43 (three days ago) link

I thought it was you!

Οὖτις, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:52 (three days ago) link

young's voice on that verse also echoes (intentionally or accidentally) his plaints on "ohio," which i think underscores the hopelessness—"we should have known better," etc

maura, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:58 (three days ago) link

it's not like that's unique to Americans in the 80s

Thank you.

pomenitul, Friday, 11 October 2019 19:07 (three days ago) link

xp (maura -- your That Dog review was great!)

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Friday, 11 October 2019 19:08 (three days ago) link

I'm not loading all 14k messages, so did I miss the discussion of the Reynolds piece?

lost IDM classics (lukas), Friday, 11 October 2019 19:18 (three days ago) link

He sure loves coining new genre names!

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Friday, 11 October 2019 19:19 (three days ago) link

there's definitely a tone of desperation - "this MATTERS! because it's tied to other things that MATTER!"

otm

also the total lack of talking about what aspects of the actual music make it so profound.

basically Οὖτις on top. and it bugs me that you even felt like you had to add on the "cornball post" aspect to your words up there; especially when your words are more than competent and not anything except an honest evaluation. nothing cornball whatsoever about genuine and honest insights.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Friday, 11 October 2019 19:44 (three days ago) link

the blm essay is all over the place, but i'm glad it mentions people singing Alright. there's a video i saw in a tweet from when a bunch of high school kids were marching thru the streets of baton rouge, and they're in some suburban cul de sac and its dark out, maybe 10pm, and the main protest is long over and the cops are just chasing them through the street, herding them around, and they're too angry to be as scared as they should be, or maybe angry because they're scared, and they've been dispersed and keep being dispersed and then knots of them collecting together again, and you can barely see anything -- not even really streetlights. and a group of them find themselves being surrounded by cops. and they all start singing Alright together, the whole damn thing. The video cuts off and I know there were a lot of arrests that night, and I don't know who was arrested from the video, or what happened to them.

(a few years after that video, i met one of the kids from those protests, who was in college now. he told me that his mother had grounded him after that night, or maybe the next one, and a lot of other parents had grounded their kids too, because they were afraid something terrible would happen otherwise [and who is to say they were wrong to do so]).

Anyway that's the musical moment from the decade that is the most indelible to me.

Hakim Bae's TMZ (s.clover), Saturday, 12 October 2019 00:00 (two days ago) link

For me it’s prob Lady Gaga doing “not this way” at the super bowl

brimstead, Saturday, 12 October 2019 01:49 (two days ago) link

“Born this way”, autocorrect

brimstead, Saturday, 12 October 2019 01:49 (two days ago) link

The night of the ‘16 election there were spontaneous and large protests in my neighborhood and I remember hearing, before seeing, a huge crowd of teens coming down the 18th St by Dolores Park street singing Alright together

Οὖτις, Saturday, 12 October 2019 02:15 (two days ago) link

FWIW, Rolling Stone’s blurb on Freedom in their 100 Best Albums of the Eighties list (published in November 1989 — they held out over a month longer than Pitchfork did, lol) doesn’t mention Reagan. Here’s what it says about “RITFW”:

The album is bookended by contrasting versions of the bitter, ironic "Rockin' in the Free World." The opener is live and acoustic, with the audience singing the chorus, while the finale is an angry, electric rendition with an additional verse.


Most of the blurb consists of interview quotes, though; that was the format of the list.

David Fricke’s original review of the album quotes Shakey’s verse, but also doesn’t explicitly mention Reagan or dwell on the political Zeitgeist (though Fricke does note that “Young takes dead aim at cheap inauguration rhetoric — “We got a thousand points of light/For the homeless man/We got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand”).

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Saturday, 12 October 2019 14:51 (two days ago) link

KORITFW

mark s, Saturday, 12 October 2019 15:06 (two days ago) link

(thanks morrisp!!)

maura, Saturday, 12 October 2019 15:07 (two days ago) link

The opener is live and acoustic, with the audience singing the chorus,


the audience sings the chorus? Uh no?

brimstead, Saturday, 12 October 2019 16:39 (two days ago) link

Good but with some room for improvement

cpl593H, Sunday, 13 October 2019 13:23 (yesterday) link


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