Simon Reynolds is a gobshite

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We've built him up. Let's tear him down. What annoys you most about his writing?

Michael, Wednesday, 2 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Let me kick it off by saying that the Sex Revolts is the single most irritating book I have ever read.

The parts about women in popular music are supposed to be enlightened but actually try to box women into Reynolds/Press defined notions of what kinds of music women should make.

Nicole, Wednesday, 2 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

i find the lionisation of MBV eternally puzzling as they were utterly shite. i dont like some of the class stuff- lumpen proles - but then i wouldnt - would i. the endless mapping of music through genre names like 'neurofunk' can be a bit sappy. warrior speedfreak vs oceanic mothers boy in sex revolts was way simplistic in an 80s cult. stud. way.i think slaggin charlies angels coz he knows itll be shit is crap -though spy kids is better.Does simon really play speedcore that much.he needs to listen to more bhangra.worst of all his website has links to all the toss music sites.

Geordie Racer, Wednesday, 2 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I've complained about him enough on other threads, so I'll just agree with Nicole about Sex Revolts - I hated how they wrote as if any male rebellion or attempt to break from shackles were inherently anti- domesticity and therefore anti-woman.

Patrick, Wednesday, 2 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I'm sure that there are many, many enthusiasms that SR and I don't share: many of the things he has been going on about for 10 years are beyond my ken. But the title of this thread is very ugly.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 2 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

It's just a joke. He seems to be The Pope round here thats all....

Michael, Wednesday, 2 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

*I'm* the Pope. Kiss my ring.

Not through any real chance, I've actually never read _The Sex Revolts_, and the thing is I can't say I've ever felt a loss over that. Saying being anti-domestic is equal to being anti-woman sounds like a very suspect stretch, to be sure, but saying that a lot of lyrics are very anti-domestic in and of themselves doesn't -- but then again, I've not read the full explanation. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 2 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

What "toss music sites" does Reynolds link to?

Robin Carmody, Wednesday, 2 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Why, ours, Robin.

On the anti-domesticity thing: I think that any look at gender in culture has to take elements of radical feminist theory into account. If I had been a radical feminist reading The Sex Revolts I would probably think that Reynolds and Press were probably too tame in their analysis of mysogny in born-to-run style rock.

Tim, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I agree that this question is nastily titled and should have been less so.


He really is a twat. Did you all read Generation Ecstasy? You want to talk about "tossers", Simon, you should really turn that magnifying glass on yourself. Talk about your third-rate, half-baked quasi- theory about human relations that ends up sounding like the kind of thing a loved-up candy raver with an MBV jones *would* say at the end of the night. How he could dare to mention Lester Bangs in his last little HTML-a-tribe (and for christ's sake, Simon, learn to format some text) when he himself is about as engaging a writer as a privet hedge. The fucker has the nerve to sumamrily dismiss music not 'ardkore, ie. made for dancing? What do you think My Bloody Valentine were meant for, a jig? The charleston? And the best cutting of a musician he can muster is to exclaim "Tosser!". I mean, ripping on Johnny Thunders, for christ's sake, and then bringing up John fucking Lydon from the Sex Pistols? While we're on the Sex Pistols, let's talk about really slimy characters. If Reynolds wants to hold up Johnny Thunders as an example of rock badass impotence, then Sid Vicious and his phantom bass playing must be invoked. Now who's fake and/or useless? And the last straw is when he goes on about The Ramones being retro, and saying the UK punks were more progressive. I'm sorry, but if the New York punks were about retro, why did it take a Ramones tour to get the UK punks going? Or were they more or less satisfied with Led Zeppelin at the time? For that matter, why didn't the Ramones play the blues if they wanted to be retro? The concept of claiming that only the UK were progressives in the punk movement is so insulting to the memory of groups like the Voidoids and Talking Heads that Reynolds should be made to pay them reparations. And Legs MacNeil may have been a jackass, but I'd like to watch him and Malcolm Mclaren go toe to toe any day in a useless punk hangers on contest. Simon Reynolds is the kind of music critic who gives music critics a bad name, and my only comfort is that I didn't buy Generation Ecstasy because if I had, I would have been forced to come find him and torture him in the worst way I can imagine with it: I would read it to him.

Dave M., Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Somewhat unhappy with this one. Simon R. reads the board and has contributed. Criticise his writing by all means but leave out the name-calling: I'd delete a thread called "Ethan is a gobshite" or "Dr C is a twat" and I'm very tempted to delete this one.

Tom, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Reynolds is right about the differences between NYC and the UK (huh, a city vs. a nation -- what does that say?) but he's wrong that that makes NYC suck. I've found the best UK punk, from where I stand, to be that which most approaches NYC experimentalism -- Mekons, Fall, et cet. Bangs, by the way, hated Richard Hell. I personally love Hell, partially for the Voidoids, but largely for the magnificent novel "Go Now" which is quintessentially American. And knocks the pants off Trainspotting, as far as drug narratives go, by the way. As for Generation Ecstasy -- sheer genius. I haven't read The Sex Revolts, but the premise is intreguing. Being neither a radical feminist nor one who denys the very real and nasty gender divisions which pervade society, I really don't know what to make of the premise. I think, from the description on his site, a bit too freudian and not social enough for my taste. Largely, I'm sorry to see him abandon R&B and Garage. He's right about the new garage stuff though, for the most part and I just find it such a shame that the genre has such a short golden span where it could almost do no wrong. As for R&B, the new DC album shows that this is all but dead, and I have high hopes for Missy. He's right about ragga. He's dead wrong about "try again" and is probably just trying to get a rise out of folks. As for the guitar-rock resurgance? Well the last three albums I bought were "N**** Please" by ODB, "Rock Action" by Mogwai, and the new Manics. Guitar is not dead, it's just resting. And given how much I like what I've heard of the new Radiohead, I may have to go back and reevaluate Kid A and Reynolds may have been right there too. I actually enjoy Reynolds mainly for his ability to paint both social context and concrete small features of music, drawing their connections. Most annoying? I think he pushes the stuff with affects of drugs too far, because it's sort of his "gimmick" -- B. Boys on E, for example. E may be an element on Rap's new "luved up" sound, but think pop pressures are the primary element.

Sterling Clover, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I admire anyone who processes the huge output of the underground scenes and draws my attention to aspects I wouldn't normally give a second thought; however he justifies those choices.

K-reg, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Actually Sterl I think three years is a pretty lengthy period of time (five years if you count the build-up in '96 & '97) for such a sustained quality in any musical movement. And if '01 in garage = '96 in jungle, there's at least one or two more years of *generally* good music.

Tim, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, but the true golden age was right as 2 step was going massive pop and then you got the "hard" reaction and the two were playing off one another so well. Cf. Wideboys. Essentially it almost feels like the genre broke from one club-bound scene, flew, and then transformed into another club-bound scene. The stuff I hear on the radio here in the US, the new stuff, has difficulty sustaining my interest. Maybe things are different elsewhere. Maybe that ragga direction you're hoping for will really come -- if 2-step manages to crossover to become a ragga staple while the rest of the scene stagnates, that would be good enough for me. Similarly, if the next wannabe Tima in the US simply straight up lifted 2-step production for his creative tack, and then it caught on, that would be great too.

Sterling Clover, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I agree with Sterling - I think that he puts a bit too much emphasis on the drugs, and the same is true of some of the class/race generalisations.

Robin, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

He's a good, readable music critic, nothing more. Some interesting things to say and some stuff that's wide of the mark. Just like all of us, in fact.

The way that his 'pronouncements' are raked over for hidden meanings and clues about what the future will hold is what really drives me nuts.

Dr. C, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Mymy...did Simon really know what he was getting into when he decided to take on the Noo Yawk scene? Well if those are all sacred idols I understand his need to bring them down, love to do it myself from time to time.

Personally, I think he's one of the three great music writers of all time along with Penman and Eshun. Changed my way of thinking on music in too numerous ways.

Of course there are things I disagree with: the afformentioned class- thing, Patti Smith, that reggae-article in The Wire, Big Beat. This actually makes it more fun.

THe drugs need to stay, I love that stuff he writes about them. As for 'Sex Revolts', I like the argument of the book, never came to a definite conclusion on the overall succes of the book *but* it contains some of his/their best writing: esp the chapters on Cosmic Mother Boys (but that's because I'm one myself ;)

Omar, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Penman and Eshun ?

Patrick, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Go to, type in their names and you know find things out...or not ;)

Omar, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Tom, if there's ever a thread about me called "Ally is a gobshite", please don't delete it?

I'm just going to say I have no opinion on Simon Reynolds. I find the long articles of his that Tom links to all the time damn near unreadable because there's just too much thrown in randomly at times, but the ideas themselves seem sound, as in he backs them up. I've never read anything by him besides those things though. I'm not big on music critics.

Ally, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

delete this pointless thread

Geordie Eraser, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

but not before I apologize. Tom is right - the name calling was unnecessary. When I wrote my message, I had just finished reading the piece linked to on NYLPM and was enraged by some of his assertions. I should have waited and mulled over my observations some more before I snapped off a reply, but I fell victim to the opportunity for immediacy that the Net offers for better or worse. While I do stand by some of my criticisms, my previous reply was phrased as immaturely as the title of this thread. My apologies to ILM and Mr. Reynolds (should he be reading this).

Dave M., Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

As someone who was in the same year as Mr Reynolds at Oxford (and one year below David Stubbs) and who frequently broke verbal bread with him at the old Music Market in Cornmarket Street over inaccuracies in "Monitor" (RIP), I have to say I pretty much agree with his trains of thought (though not about Daft Punk) and he has at least been constant in his inconsistency. No Morley-style "well it was all rubbish" turnaround. Bang on the nail about Cannibal Ox, though, and indeed about NY punk rock. I must e-mail him sometime.

Marcello Carlin, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

What annoys me most about Simon Reynolds' writing? well, i'm kind of amazed that no one has mentioned the chronic problem with alliteration, the compulsive fallback on synonyms for "spangly" and "iridescent", and other seemingly incurable tics and traits... fuck, there you go, alliteration, that wasn't even deliberate, just popped out... [shakes head sadly]....

the pope, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

What annoys me most about Simon Reynold's writing? Pure jealousy. I wish I could write as well.

Stevo, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I'm annoyed that his books are hard to find in the U.S. But he's good, come on. I thought that New York punk section was right on the money. Most of that shit is dull.

Mark, Thursday, 3 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Still got problems with Great Delay - Shantel, whatever Peter Kruder says, it sounds like Seal, Sting even. It's as puzzling as the new Herbert.

K-reg, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Mmm, the new Herbert sounds good and fresh from what I've heard. But I'll skip on Shantel then. Loadsa good records out though, can't keep up.

Omar, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

i like the guy. "against health & efficiency" was a good explanation re why indie kids can't score. and he wrote a cool rejection letter to the encycopedia of popular musics of the world ("frankly, i'd be better off working at mcdonald's.") his writing's good and he figured out sooner than i did to stop listening to rock music.

now re _sex revolts_: relies too heavily on pop psychology. the "oceanic mother's boy" bit is utter bollocks. also, they play a little fast and loose with the truth re the artists they discuss. e.g. they're quick to dismiss public enemy's "channel zero" as patriarchal based on a total misreading. they claim the song chides a black mother for watching tv rather than rearing strong black warriors w/o discussing the responsibility of fathers. this is nonsense. the song is, first of all, about a young "clueless vixen" stereotype who is never mentioned to be a mother. second, flavor flav's interjection "turn that shit off! i want to watch the game!" humorously divides the blame between men & women. they criticize riot grrrls for not "interrogating the phallocentric forms of rock itself." then, when they discuss kim gordon (who, one would presume, does do this) all they have to talk about is her lyrics.

as well, the basic premise that anything aggressive and driving is inherently patriarchal as opposed to anything soft and ethereal which is somehow "feminine" and oppositional is problematic and might even suggest a reliance on old-fashioned stereotypes.

all that said, i did find the first section about types of patriarchal strategies in rock convention and archetype to be quite helpful. the debasement of "women's work" *has* been a misogynist strategy. as well, the discussion of demystification and "mystique" postpunk oppositional strategies was also useful.

sundar subramanian, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"against health & efficiency" was a good explanation re why indie kids can't score

Sometimes I marvel at how small this intellectual world we inhabit on the internet is. I was interested in the above, as it sounded like it might chime in with some things I was thinking about indie kids last night (especially why it is they often like old soul and old mainstream chart records but not the modern equivalent in those genres). Something about romanticism.

So I did a search for "Against Health & Efficiency" on Google and it came up with three things, two of which were the pinefox and stevie t on the Belle & Sebastian Sinister list archives.

The section pf quoted:

[Indiepop's] return to romance is oppositional. Chartpop has grown ever more 'adult' in its treatment of relationships - either more explicit and suggestive or mature and 'progressive'. The idea of a redemptive / devastating love has come to seem a superstition in this age of yuppie self-management and self-sufficiency.... The indie scene is interested in precisely the jeopardising or loss of self through terror or awe, precisely the absolute investment of the self that is forbidden in this secular economy of self.... By a strange process we've reached the point where 'purity' seems more radical than libertinism, more transgressive than sin. The indie scene is obsessed by a dream of purity - of 'pure love', of a 'pure' or 'perfect pop' that evades the taint of the Eighties.... And where all these ideas converge is in two (very much linked) periods - childhood and the Sixties. The Sixties are like pop's childhood, when the idea of youth was still young.

, seems very to the point. Can I borrow a copy?

Nick, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

It is located in the book Zoot suits & second-hand dresses: an anthology of fashion & music, now out of print. However, I was able to find 3 used copie via if you're looking for a copy.

Nicole, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

That "Against Health And Inefficiency" thing sounds interesting - could be real I-get-more-pussy-than-you bullshit, though.

Sundar - You've stopped listening to rock music ? I don't get that impression from most of what you've been posting here.

Patrick, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

while i usually prefer to leave my absurd statements w/o explanation:

well, obviously not altogether. (last album listened to: cinderella - _long cold winter_). i have pretty much stopped trying to like or listen to any current rock music, though. the only current pop-related stuff that interests me now is hip-hop and electronic. i'm sure it's just temporary though -- once rock starts treating me better, i'll speak to it again.

no, actually, "against health and efficiency" never gets i-get-more-pussy-than-you at all. sr was quite sympathetic to indie culture at that point. it does still have problematic qualities. the idea that romanticism is oppositional is somewhat dubious. like ilm, he never really defines what he means by "indie," leaving it to include everything from pop will eat itself to new york guitar noise to the smiths to all the british 80s bands i've never heard of that get c-o-d'd here. but nobody's perfect and it's an important work all the same. like _the sex revolts_.

sundar subramanian, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Nick, I think that's the first time I've been quoted on ILM. Even if it was me quoting someone else. I mean, I typed it in meself, like.

It's a fabulous article of its time. Stevie T used to herald it to me on a regular basis, discussing its arguments and virtues, long before I actually dug up the book. When I did, I was so excited that I made about 10 copies for people I knew. If you still want one, Nick, I've probably still got one.

So if you type in, say, 'Alasdair Cook' on google, what happens?

the pinefox, Saturday, 5 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
RE simon reynolds take on the golden age of rock criticism & the glorious days of rock critics, i.e. Bangs, Meltzer, & Toshches:

who the fuck is this limey simon reynolds anyway? never has he spoke of sam the sham or kiss, as far as I can tell. never has he wrestled with another human being in the dirt. never has he listened to both Dust albums. never has he said ONE THING THAT IS FUNNY. he is a jerk, like most limey critics. every CREEM writer worth his salt knows that music writers from ENGLAND ARE THE ABSOLUTE WORST.... and they are the very reason we have all had to endure the likes of Oasis and Radiohead and, heaven help us, RAVES!! Simon Reynolds is nothing, I mean nothing: think of this--once i interviewed Sky Saxon who was undergoing a blood transfusion in Hawaii and he was so feeble he could barely talk on the phone and he talked about how shriveled his cock was and how he hoped one day that shriveled cock would become hard again so that he could once again perform "Mr. Farmer" with the fervor in which it was intended: well, Mr. Simon Reynolds IS NOT EVEN WORTH THAT SHRIVELED COCK OF SKY SAXON... he knows nothing of music but pretends he knows nothing of rock 'n' roll ranting, just that awful throbbing rave ecstasy crapola... & what's more, he's a limey who thinks he's smart (the worst kind)... THERE WAS A GOOD SIMON ONCE: SIMON FRITH (smart guy, good writer)--whatever happened to him, how come he's not on this website? PLEASE PLEASE do not waste our time by having to read anymore snotty SIMON REYNOLDS idiotic spouting...he has committed the ultimate offense: HE IS NOT FUNNY AND HE DOES NOT ROCK!

Robot A. Hull, Tuesday, 22 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I don't have an opinion one way or another about Simon Reynolds.

I just like the word "gobshite." Gotta think of a way to include it in my vocabulary somehow.

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Tuesday, 22 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

one year passes...
stumbled on this threat 8 light years too late, like anyone's gonna read it now, and not wanting to offer my opinions on SR, just wanted to say to Robot A. Hull, please keep your ugly nationalisms outta this, unless you were being ironic, in which case i salute you.

from a limey.

scott n., Wednesday, 27 November 2002 14:40 (eighteen years ago) link

I don't know about this Simon cat, but my Yankie-ass is highly entertained by the term "gobshite", which I will begin using in conversation immediately.

nickalicious, Wednesday, 27 November 2002 16:32 (eighteen years ago) link

Isn't gobshite in some way derived from a medievel expleitive, God's hurt or something like that, referring to Jebus' suffering on the cross.

All that and Sky Saxon's shrivelled cock.

tigerclawskank, Wednesday, 27 November 2002 17:19 (eighteen years ago) link

i've got aesthete's foot

unknown or illegal user (doorag), Wednesday, 27 November 2002 18:46 (eighteen years ago) link

aesthete's foot is good, but gobshite is indeed a mediaeval one, i think.
something to do with the old 'zounds' that you'll remember from your Hamlet etc.
that was 'God's Wounds', or complaining that God is wounding me, i.e., targetting me.
i think this is right.
so gobshite is something on the Cross eh? good stuff.
gobshite is indeed good British/Irish fare, Yanks should deploy it far more often.

scott n. (scott n.), Wednesday, 27 November 2002 20:14 (eighteen years ago) link

three months pass...

Lord Custos Epsilon (Lord Custos Epsilon), Friday, 14 March 2003 16:03 (seventeen years ago) link

Simon Reynolds? Wasn't he an 80's thing?

Dadaismus, Friday, 14 March 2003 16:20 (seventeen years ago) link

Leave the man alone. Can't you see he's trying to write a book on post-punk.

felicity (felicity), Friday, 14 March 2003 16:22 (seventeen years ago) link

do not feed the troll.

trollwatchers, Friday, 14 March 2003 16:24 (seventeen years ago) link

if he's really trying to write a book he should lay off the old blog

jess (dubplatestyle), Friday, 14 March 2003 16:25 (seventeen years ago) link

it shouldn't be too difficult jess. its postpunk.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Friday, 14 March 2003 16:25 (seventeen years ago) link


jess (dubplatestyle), Friday, 14 March 2003 16:30 (seventeen years ago) link

see you saturday!

gareth waiting for mary to get out the damn shower (Mary), Friday, 14 March 2003 18:11 (seventeen years ago) link

4 the lex:

ice cr?m hand job (deej), Saturday, 28 November 2009 13:53 (eleven years ago) link

hahaha that cover

not that this isn't anything that hasn't been covered in the lengthy thread on this forum dedicated to this dead genre but these are some tracks i have been banging on the regular this last few months:

david cam'ron (tpp), Saturday, 28 November 2009 13:56 (eleven years ago) link

'glamorous lifestyle' fans should check out "paper non stop" also on youtube but not from the album

ice cr?m hand job (deej), Saturday, 28 November 2009 13:57 (eleven years ago) link

btw for those who want to remember last time we had this 'debate'
Platonic ILM Rap Bullshit thread

ice cr?m hand job (deej), Saturday, 28 November 2009 13:58 (eleven years ago) link

turn the volume right up on that chalie boy joint and then tell me rap is dead. well damn

david cam'ron (tpp), Saturday, 28 November 2009 13:58 (eleven years ago) link

I appreciate we're coming at this from different angles. You obv think it's been a brilliant year whereas I've diligently followed up every track mentioned on this thread and liked only a handful. It's all very well saying look for the best shit but what about when you do look for it and it's just not (imo) that great?

― Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Saturday, November 28, 2009 8:08 AM (1 hour ago)

the fact that you haven't actively sought this out already probably indicates you aren't in the target demographic, though! this is the problem, when non rap fans who happen to write at big papers stick their finger to gauge the wind once a year and declare "there's nothing here!" when they probably haven't bothered engaging with the music itself all year

we be emi robin' (k3vin k.), Saturday, 28 November 2009 15:11 (eleven years ago) link

Real talk, deej:

I've shown on this board and on my Twitter feed (yeah, lol, fuck you) that I've listened to a hell of a lot of hip-hop in 2009, and if you pull that whiteboy "lol rock critic doesn't REALLY know rap" card on me one more time, I'm gonna tell you to get your fucking shinebox, you piece of shit. Save that shit for the secret Pitchfork staff message board,which you're so proud to tell everyone you post on

when you're sliding into third and you hear a gucci burrr (Whiney G. Weingarten), Saturday, 28 November 2009 16:09 (eleven years ago) link

i actually agree with this tho, save the subtle dig at me:

hip-hop has def changed -- i think there are noticeable trends & arguments u can make about the direction the genre has headed in, related to things like charts & record labels disappearing, to top 40's move towards different styles, & the influence of media perspectives. but none of the articles or ilx posters claiming comprehensive knowledge of the genre's health actually have any real idea of what is known & what isnt, what WOULD be selling if there were a real market for it & what wouldnt. so they just assume its all a flat line. that the jacka is probably as popular as das racist or nite jewel.

― ice cr?m hand job (deej), Saturday, November 28, 2009 8:14 AM (3 hours ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

when you're sliding into third and you hear a gucci burrr (Whiney G. Weingarten), Saturday, 28 November 2009 16:18 (eleven years ago) link

tbh, deej, i'd rather we come to a gentleman's disagreement than to keep zinging and sniping at each other.

when you're sliding into third and you hear a gucci burrr (Whiney G. Weingarten), Saturday, 28 November 2009 16:26 (eleven years ago) link

@k3vin k - "non rap fans" is a misnomer because, like most people we're talking about here (eg Simon Reynolds and SFJ), I'm more of a lapsed fan with a ton of hip hop CDs who still wants to hear good stuff but doesn't like much of what's out there right now. I see your point about not following it closely this year - I've been writing a book so have been quite out of the loop generally - but you can't just say "oh, this guy doesn't like rap" as if that answers everything. I guess what I'm waiting to find out is whether I've just cooled on hip hop in recent years, or whether the right records could get me excited again, and obviously I hope it's the latter. Trying to divide people in this debate into "rap fans" and "non rap fans" isn't useful or accurate.

Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Saturday, 28 November 2009 16:37 (eleven years ago) link

Bit of a guess here based on a lot of what's been said but: I suspect a lot of you (certainly not everyone) are where I was at seven, eight years back, feeling locked into a frustrating stasis when it comes to listening and active engagement. I don't think this is necessarily a function of age/where you are in life but it might have something to do with it -- there's no way out of that but through time.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 28 November 2009 17:12 (eleven years ago) link

it's not incumbent on anyone to be an actively engaged listener - do what u like! - but blaming the music when that happens to you is lame.

dorian out of interest, what didn't you like about gucci/nicki/pill/the others you checked out from this thread?

lex pretend, Saturday, 28 November 2009 17:33 (eleven years ago) link

i meant critics have got worse

indeed, indeed.

history mayne, Saturday, 28 November 2009 17:40 (eleven years ago) link

xpost They just seem like straightforward, stolid club bangers - not bad, just not especially enticing. The beats and flow seem pretty obvious and there's no real lyrical world to enter, just a few clever lines. Not enough charisma, basically. I'm not someone who wants all MCs to Say Something Important but I like to feel the force of their personality - a sense that something's a little off, that their brain works in an interesting way, and a voice to match. What can I say? They don't thrill me. It's like when I asked you why you didn't like the Beatles and you said "their voices" - you can't argue with that kind of gut reaction.

I kind of wish I hadn't made vague generalisations upthread re: the state of hip hop. I was trying to work out where Simon was coming from rather than stating a strong case myself because I just haven't heard enough of these MCs to judge one way or another, which is why I wouldn't presume to write an article on the subject, so I'm going to keep checking out the songs people mention on the hip hop and EOY threads and hope to be thrilled by some of it.

Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Saturday, 28 November 2009 18:51 (eleven years ago) link

the reason hip-hop seems very much alive to me, even beyond the amount of straight-up great records being made, is how varied the good stuff is - you've got the old guard like q&k and raekwon, jerk girls with homemade beats and dance crazes, surrealists and wordplay weirdos like gucci mane and nicki minaj, more traditional/emotional hip-hop from pill, hip-pop like kid sister...

― lex pretend, Saturday, November 28, 2009 8:16 AM (6 hours ago) Bookmark


samosa gibreel, Saturday, 28 November 2009 20:16 (eleven years ago) link

dorian have you heard 'shine blockas'? i think you'd like it. it sidesteps a lot of current hip hops trends for a classic soul-sample propelled southern beat kind of a la 'intl players anthem.'

samosa gibreel, Saturday, 28 November 2009 20:24 (eleven years ago) link

for these last three or four years, rap has been a desperately unmemorable procession of cookie-cutter ballers – Jim Jones, Gucci Mane, Yung Doc, Soulja Boy

eh...what's Yung Doc?

henry man see u (some dude), Sunday, 29 November 2009 02:05 (eleven years ago) link


we be emi robin' (k3vin k.), Sunday, 29 November 2009 03:21 (eleven years ago) link

stay out of my flickr

itdn put butt in the display name (gbx), Sunday, 29 November 2009 03:23 (eleven years ago) link


we be emi robin' (k3vin k.), Sunday, 29 November 2009 03:24 (eleven years ago) link

doctor joke?

itdn put butt in the display name (gbx), Sunday, 29 November 2009 03:25 (eleven years ago) link

ie that is me, on my first day of school

itdn put butt in the display name (gbx), Sunday, 29 November 2009 03:25 (eleven years ago) link

u were sliding into 3rd base around then iirc

we be emi robin' (k3vin k.), Sunday, 29 November 2009 03:26 (eleven years ago) link

in slo mo

itdn put butt in the display name (gbx), Sunday, 29 November 2009 03:27 (eleven years ago) link

this thread is hilarious, btw, i wish Whiney and Deej could get Weird Science computers to create living embodiments of their respective constant stubborn talking points so that they could go out and eat ice cream and play video games while Talking Points Whinebot and Talking Points Deejbot battle it out

henry man see u (some dude), Sunday, 29 November 2009 03:43 (eleven years ago) link

Reynoldsbot and Frere-Jonesbot would still get paid more $$ for their regurgitations though of course

henry man see u (some dude), Sunday, 29 November 2009 03:44 (eleven years ago) link

lol i was thinking earlier about how this thread is basically posts very much in character 24/7

itdn put butt in the display name (gbx), Sunday, 29 November 2009 03:46 (eleven years ago) link

When people were saying "omg lol dance music is dead" back in 2001 a lot of similar critical moves were busted out: "All our old heroes - you know, the ones that put out big albums, have big live tours, well-known guests vocalists preferably from UK rock, and generally embraced by a mainstream indie-rock readership - are getting old and uninspired and relatively less successful, while everything else is rote filter-house and trance-pop or hopelessly obscure stuff that will never amount to anything."

Of course by 2004 dance music was in rude good health again, with its new creative and commercial success rooted in a combination of chartwise moves and the background of all that stuff dismissed as "hopelessly obscure" a few scant years before. You could say the story of 2004's success started (if it started anywhere) in 2001 - Discovery, electroclash, German house and techno...

Tim F, Sunday, 29 November 2009 05:45 (eleven years ago) link

so - if not "omg lol dance music is dead" - would you have agreed with the weak version in 2001? "ooh eck dance music's a bit boring right now unless you're deeply into it like"

thomp, Sunday, 29 November 2009 11:58 (eleven years ago) link

No 2001 was a great year for dance music actually. Just not the kind that critics who only listen to a little bit of dance music (and then, like, The Chemical Bros et. al.) would think is a great year I guess, because The Chemical Bros, Underworld, Fatboy Slim et. al. weren't ruling the charts.

Basically the journalistic narrative hadn't caught up with what was actually going on, and when that happens, oddly, what is new is actually mistaken for same ol' same ol', in the same way (but oppositely) to the way in which commonly what is actually familiar and unshocking can be mistaken for being new.

Tim F, Sunday, 29 November 2009 12:18 (eleven years ago) link

hip-hop on the guillotine
because music like you
makes critics like Simon Reynolds feel so tired
when will you die? when will you die? when will you die?

Cunga, Sunday, 29 November 2009 14:21 (eleven years ago) link

2001-2004 now feel like a golden age for dance music. If anything house and techno is a bit uninspired now.

Space Battle Rothko (Matt DC), Sunday, 29 November 2009 18:50 (eleven years ago) link

<3333 "go out and eat ice cream" btw. adorable

we be emi robin' (k3vin k.), Sunday, 29 November 2009 20:23 (eleven years ago) link

Dance music in that period is a best-case scenario for a genre really. The end of one era - superclubs and big crossover live acts - coinciding with the growth of fantastically potent and fertile new sub-genres. Very much the death of one version of dance music but, in retrospect, for the best.

Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Sunday, 29 November 2009 20:31 (eleven years ago) link

If you told me 5 years ago that every hyped indie rock band in 2009 would sound like Ariel Pink, I would have said you were crazy

Sounds like paradise. Which bands are you talking about here?

Kevin John Bozelka, Sunday, 29 November 2009 20:58 (eleven years ago) link

that change in dance music was mostly the genre adjusting to the internet...prob a lucky time for a facelift

I see what this is (Local Garda), Sunday, 29 November 2009 21:08 (eleven years ago) link

this thread is hilarious, btw, i wish Whiney and Deej could get Weird Science computers to create living embodiments of their respective constant stubborn talking points so that they could go out and eat ice cream and play video games while Talking Points Whinebot and Talking Points Deejbot battle it out

― henry man see u (some dude), Saturday, November 28, 2009 9:43 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

what 'talking points' does whiney have? as far as i can tell hes consistently burt_stanton-ing w/ constantly misguided cultural mis-observation

ice cr?m hand job (deej), Sunday, 29 November 2009 21:58 (eleven years ago) link

well a lot of the time they are just deej^(-1)

crazy farting throwback jersey (gbx), Sunday, 29 November 2009 22:08 (eleven years ago) link

yo dog...thanks 4 dat shineblockas tip

trakk iz bangin'

rizzx, Sunday, 29 November 2009 22:09 (eleven years ago) link

none of your medical mumbo-jumbo dr., just give it to me straight

ice cr?m hand job (deej), Sunday, 29 November 2009 22:10 (eleven years ago) link

you have 3 months to live...until you are suggest banned

we be emi robin' (k3vin k.), Sunday, 29 November 2009 22:10 (eleven years ago) link

The lack of "narrative" or "big new important thing happening" is different from there not being any good rap music. Obviously there's plenty of good rap music out there, and obviously there's a lack of any big new important thing happening in rap. The latter is Simon's real beef, because his best writing about the BNITH in popular music. He says there's good shit, but no narrative. There's plenty to listen to, but not as much to read about and write about and think about, at least nothing substantially different from what's come before. This is why all the hip hop mags are dead/dying, and why no one pays anyone to write about hip hop. Unless you are SR or SFJ.

Gavin, Monday, 30 November 2009 07:08 (eleven years ago) link

i think things are happening but that its more difficult to tell exactly what those things are w/out the charts to orient yourself around -- it was easy to create a narrative when it was, like, "hmm these neptunes sure are popular."

ice cr?m hand job (deej), Monday, 30 November 2009 09:58 (eleven years ago) link

pretty sure hip hop mags being dead/dying has nothing to do w/ whether or not there are existing narratives

ice cr?m hand job (deej), Monday, 30 November 2009 09:59 (eleven years ago) link

the state of popular rap in 2009

curmudgeon, Monday, 30 November 2009 14:37 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

Funnily enought, the company behind Zero Books is a wacky new-age crystals'n'meditation outfit. But I do think the imprint is a Good Thing (despite having a few issues with the whole k-Punk archipelago). I'm looking forward to N Power's One-Dimensional Woman.

― Stevie T, Monday, September 7, 2009 11:40 AM (1 year ago) Bookmark

crystals'n'meditation'n'outspoken-anti-semitism outfit now

sarahel hath no fury (history mayne), Saturday, 6 August 2011 12:39 (nine years ago) link

expand on that

Gukbe, Saturday, 6 August 2011 16:48 (nine years ago) link

publishing gilad atzmon

sarahel hath no fury (history mayne), Saturday, 6 August 2011 17:44 (nine years ago) link

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