Well, had I known that a quickie post would lead to an infestation of trolls whose arguments make Althouse’s C+ junior high school civics class essays about the “marketplace of ideas” (in which there are immediate winners and losers! Like voting day on American Idol!) look like Mill, I wouldn’t have done it. So let’s go from the ridiculous to the sublime…and, since the fine folks at NBC will not allow me to embed video of Phantogram’s performance with ?uestlove, it’s time for them to go back to rock school!
Is it too late for the Stones to retroactively re-hire Mick Taylor in 1975?
The (largely merited) hype over My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has further helped to obscure the fact that Big Boi’s 2010 record was as or more accomplished, so I was glad to see Ann Powers tout it. The status of his achievement, however, should be settled by Boi’s superb choice of baseball caps:
Hopefully the next OutKast album will feature a track dedicated to making Tim Raines’s Hall of Fame case…
My recent trip to Ireland followed up roughly 20 hours spent on airplanes and airpots with the worst allergic reaction I’ve had since junior high school. So it made me particularly happy to come home and see that this blog’s favorite Yankee fan (with one exception) Howard had sent me Thelonious Monk Trios, The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings, and Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins from my Amazon wish list. All fantastic, of course, and especially welcome during crunch time. Many thanks!
The post below about Rob’s immortalization was somewhat embarrassing for me, as I actually own the album in that “compact disc” format your grandparents may have told you about, but missed the appearance of our blog in the first perusal of the liner notes. I had been waiting for a few more listens to let it sink in before making a point about a classic “cult of authenticity” fallacy, but since it’s timely I figured I’d go ahead.
I can’t say yet if the evaluation of the Pitchfork review is wrong. Well, even a couple listens confirm that the rating number is absurd — even subpar M.I.A. is better than much of the crap that gets respectable numbers and mentions (anyone listen to Ryan Adams’s pretentious-even-by-his-standards 29 lately?) from the Pitchforkers. But the bottom line that this good album is more uneven and less songful than its very good and exceptional predecessors is plausible based on initial listens, and has been essentially conceded even by its defenders. What bugs me about the review is the extent to which the Pitchfork reaction was overdetermined. You could see the review that spent two paragraphs taking the Hirschberg hatchet job and the allegedly troubling questions it raised about her authenticity seriously before it even got to the music coming a mile away, and sure enough. And it’s not just that the Hirschberg thing was puddle-deep and inept (the telltale Truffle Fry was in fact ordered by the journalist, the horrors), but even to the extent it’s true it’s irrelevant. I had no doubt anyway that the now-wealthy artist who married into the Bronfman family isn’t a “revolutionary” — who did think this, I can’t tell you, but I hope I can play high-stakes poker with them some time. But these types of contradictions are utterly banal among artists, especially popular ones. What matters is the work, and even to the extent that /\/\ /\ Y /\ is flawed it’s because of excessive ambition, not millionaire complacence. And if you think that artistic pesonas should have one-to-one correspondence with an artist’s personal life, you really shouldn’t be assessing art for money.
Scott already covered the awful news, but if anyone is worth a follow-up post, it’s Alex Chilton. Like most of my contemporaries, I came to admire Alex Chilton through his professional admirers; and like everyone who came of age before the Internet, what I knew about him consisted of a host of believable rumors. I’ve never tried to verify those rumors, though, because it was their believability that mattered more than their truth. For example, Alex Chilton indirectly named one of the most important albums of the 1990s via the resilience of a particular lyrical gesture: the sincerely feigned grand statement. On “September Gurls,” he sings:
The Guardian published the NME’s list of the best 50 albums of the last decade a few days ago, and I’ve been meaning to comment.