- Serge Gainsbourg - “Je T’Aime (Moi Non Plus)”
- Donna Summer - “Love To Love You Baby” (extended mix naturellement)
- Lil Louis - “French Kiss”
- Enigma - “Sadeness Pt 1”
Records About Which I Actually Believed This
- I was a cynical boy :(
Records About Which I Actually Believed This
I really really like / am a sucker for someone turning up with a well-worked-through aesthetic: they always seem obvious after the fact but the fact that you end up groping at combinatorial lists of influences, algebraic descriptions etc suggests . Whether this aesthetic sustains itself beyond a song, over an album or career or w/ever - honestly I don’t really care, that’s not the achievement. Not everyone’s going to be Bryan Ferry. I wish Bryan Ferry would stop being Bryan Ferry sometimes. It doesn’t mean Bryan Ferry wasn’t his best composition.
It happens in comics sometimes - one reason I like Grant Morrison is he’s good at this. Something like KLARION THE WITCH BOY - that mix of a 40something guy’s memories of creepy code-approved horror comix and a 40something’s perceptions of hypersensitive emo kids, plus Fraser Irving’s watercolour gothic look: you struggle to describe it but as soon as you read it you GOT it.
Of course you could say what made ‘Bryan Ferry’ is that it hatched in the context of a band pushing it in different directions, making the nascent Ferry-thing adapt to the environment of “Grey Lagoons” et al. I think it reached fuller potential after that, though - even if I’m not quite prepared to say that Roxy Music’s flaw is that you actually had to listen to them.
Today in weirdly personal album zings you’d never use for a man*. (And I mean “today in,” damn it; there’s one in every single review, and it’s starting to get uncomfortably telling. Yes, I’m still working on my piece….)
* Alright, I did my “research,” by which I mean I googled “site:pitchfork.com fake orgasm.” Google thinks I’m a perv now. I’d do more extensive research but I’m not going to be late to work because I spent too much time googling the word “orgasm.” Anyway, I came up with two results:
- The Rapture’s Luke, in which the comparison is a compliment at best and a neutral descriptor at worst.
- Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby,” which isn’t an insult because that’s actually what happened in the song.
The music equivalent of a fake orgasm is a fake orgasm on a record which fails to spark rumours it’s a real one.
Let the market decide. Vote with your dollars. Poor people shouldn’t be overweight. If minorities just worked harder. You can be sexist against men too. Just go to college. Just pay for college. Work harder. Just write. Just make stuff. Minorities can be racist too. Your accusation of sexism is itself sexist. Hack the planet.
I have had it up to literally here with techno-tard libertarian free market geek assholes. The comments on this Boing Boing story about MLK Day and unpacking your privilege knapsack made me stop reading Boing Boing. Finally. I know — what took so long. It only took two comments for someone to deny the conceptual basis of privilege, which is privilege. The comments did not get any higher-minded from there. I’m sick of Coulton’s liberal cronies making faux-racist jokes all the time (looking at you Maximum Fun podcasts). I’m sick of all this enlightened techno-liberal white male bullshit. I’m sick of it all. It’s the same game, white male exceptionalism, but the players have just swapped jerseys.
I thought for one utopian moment that it was the quoted commentary by mikkipedia that had got 5K+ notes, not the original “make good stuff” sentiment.
Preach preach preach.
I’d also say that if you love all of the same stuff ten years from now (or maybe it’d be better to say, if all the same stuff occupies the same place in your heart/mind/life ten years from now), you may want to think about whether that’s healthy.
It is the absolute worst attitude to have as a pop-culture critic. I cannot think of anything more counterproductive than to worry about those sorts of things. What kind of insecure writer actually worries about what future music crits will think? Whatever consensus opinions the critical community holds today will be questioned and reassessed tomorrow. There’s absolutely no point in kvetching over what people in the future will think because they’re probably going to think contemporary critics are misinformed old fogies no matter what we blog about.
What advantage would “being right” offer anyway? It’s not like I read music reviews from 10 years ago and think “aww yeah, those guys were SO RIGHT about Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” GONNA TRAVEL BACK IN TIME AND HIGH FIVE THEM ALL.
“Stop worrying about being right” is a very good bit of critical advice IMO.
Seems like acts play much bigger/more shows relative to record sales now. Could be substitution or just live sales not going down in same way, not sure which.
A couple of years ago I read an Economist piece on the music biz which pointed out that while live music revenues were on the up, this growth could be almost entirely explained by a very rapid rise in ticket prices rather than an expansion of the audience for shows, which hadn’t declined but wasn’t growing fast either. The biz itself tends to paint live music as a growth area in general - and the economic (& I daresay moral) virtues of shows are one of the few areas pirates and pirate-hunters agree on - so this report was a surprising bit of cold water. How right it was I don’t know.
Yesterday I asked the question, “what are people buying instead of music?”. If the free availability of music - legal or otherwise - has led to a relative decline in money spent on non-free music, where has that money gone? I got a bunch of really interesting responses, so here they are.
“Tech, above all. The most egregious piraters I know spend over $100 on Internet and mobile data a month, easy, let alone cost of hardware. Video games would be #2” (minimoonstar)
“how many records could you buy for the price of an iphone (and its monthly service contract!)” (jrichmanesq)
“The money moms use to buy virtual goods in Zynga games was almost certainly going to the latest installment of the Rod Stewart Songbook series not long ago.” (crumbler)
“the industry’s seeing record turnovers and AAA titles now get lots of media coverage at launch. Might still be more niche in terms of consumption, but the $$ are there…” (hndrk)
“ I would totally agree that I buy craft beer and good food rather than records much of the time. I’ll happily pay $20 for a burger and beer on the way to a concert and not spend any money on the band.” (beckyontheinternet)
“Food is really the only consumer product that hasn’t seen a “cheap and cheerful” sector arise. And health care is becoming the developed world’s no#1 concern, and food is a part of soft health care.” (teenageart)
“I can only speak for myself but since I can get the music I want for free I spend what little spare cash I have (which trust me is very little) on books. And comic books.” (andrewtsks)
“ I’d like to say BOOKS and other less-pirateable and more sentimental media, but the sensible answer is probably ‘***’: rent, food, heating, travel etc.” (littlejoeii)
“if the (average) cost of music has dropped, maybe other forms of entertainment (let alone anything else) have become more expensive, not necessarily consumed more?” (hardcorefornerds)
What I Think!
Speaking for myself I think tech is both likely candidate and hidden cost - because it’s intangible I don’t feel it as a discretionary purchase, more as a utility. I have also bought more books in the last few years than I had for decades, food prices keep rising… I do buy apps but not expensive ones, and while I don’t pirate games many do, but in general I’m not sure about the videogames cannibalise music argument - this was advanced in the 90s but both industries were booming simultaneously then.
More generally what thinking about this points up is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen acknowledged in the piracy debate. That lost money has gone somewhere. It’s not just been saved up or spent on evil pirate cocaine or all been siphoned into Kim Dotcom’s pockets. It’s now being spent on other things. Good things. Deserving things, very often, made by creative and talented people, just like the people who make music. So turning the clock back and getting people to pay for music again - if that’s the industry plan - contains an unspoken trap. If, magically, free music were to vanish and all music had to be paid for again, people would be in a position of choosing between music and the stuff they now spend music dollars on. And there is no guarantee at all they’d say “goodbye books, tech, food and games, come back music!”. And if they did, what happens to that stuff?
(Or, of course, the restoration of the CREATIVE ECONOMY to full bloom would mean a return to growth which increased the disposable income of the music-buying middle and working classes, and all would be well. Hurrah!)
The amount of data that will get accumulated over the course of a person’s life will be huge. So the team experimented with chopping that all up into specific years. A Facebook hackathon project called Memories, for example, which was accidentally released to the user base briefly last year, did that very thing. Users navigated between various buckets of content by clicking on years.
But that didn’t achieve the effect Facebook wanted. That’s not how we remember our life, Felton says. We don’t remember it in chunks. We remember it as a stream. ‘I felt strongly that your life should be shown in one long continuum,’ Felton says.
The stream metaphor works really well to craft narratives, which is what Facebook is trying to have us do. Per Walter Benjamin, I believe the opposite: “History breaks down into images, not into stories.”
Weirdly enough earlier in the piece they acknowledge that people DO remember things in chunks - or at least in discrete images and moments - but this didn’t lead to a very workable or flowing UI.
I think Facebook have memory wrong here - from my limited understanding of the current thinking in brain science memory is a process of re-inscription not recall in any case - but I also think the cleverness is precisely that: like Eric says, the stream works for narrative, and we like the IDEA of memory as narrative. Timeline isn’t really an attempt to mirror how memory works, but to build something that works how we’d like memory to.
“reblog like the plague”
who are these irresponsible people reblogging the plague?
Dipped my toe into the ever-circling “piracy debate” again this week: little new to be said. So this is a question I’ve wondered about a few times but not really seen answered. Let’s assume that the music industry has a point and that significant chunks of its core audience are spending less money on records than they did 10 years ago**. What are they spending money on instead? Real incomes are basically flat***, and people aren’t saving more, so perhaps something else is doing well out of the decline in music sales. What is it?****
*or other forms of digitally shareable culture?
**the idea that a download equates to a lost sale is silly, but the industry is still contracting, so saying “less money is being spent on recorded music” doesn’t seem controversial.
***real incomes for a lot of young people are non-existent, of course, but the record industry has done OK in previous periods of high unemployment. On the other hand, real incomes for a lot of people are falling so it might be that buying non-digital media has been sacrificed to rising prices of everything else.
****my own cheeky suggestion is that the decline of the recorded music market and the rise in interest in good food, craft beer, etc among young consumers aren’t wholly coincidental.
Or, you could like, listen closer and think. It’s not that hard. I like Klosterman, but no music writer is ever anywhere near good when s/he tries to parse why others like an artist without doing the actual messy ethnographic work, or (much worse) to be a sportswriter/political wonk and predict an artist’s legacy. (via marathonpacks)
I have no idea how I am supposed to take a piece seriously when it contains the sentence, “I’m not really in a position to argue for (or against) the merits of tUnE-yArDs, simply because I’ve barely listened to w h o k i l l.”
He’s doing it to establish a ‘non-partisan’ air so his ‘friendly advice’ seems more sincere I guess.
(I think TBH an experienced music critic should be able to get quite a lot out of something on first listen and maybe articulate it usefully. I don’t think that’s what Klosterman’s doing.)
The Digital Humanities and Interpretation - NYTimes.com, via Tom A. (via new-aesthetic)
Stanley Fish’s interpretation of a line in Milton in this piece really reminds me of KRS-One’s “officer/overseer” riff in “Sound Of Da Police”.
There are more useful things to say about this piece btw.
I used to work in a bookstore in Central London whilst I was at university studying.
One day I looked up from my computer to see a small, very tanned, white haired man wearing a long black coat holding out a graphic novel to buy. It was none other than Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.
by Benjamin Law Smith
And now the only thing I’ll be able to do with my brain all day is speculate what graphic novel it was. A Hellboy TPB? Heavy Liquid? The Airtight Garage? Acme Novelty Library #20?
While you’re at it you can guess which issues of The Mighty Thor I once sold Mark E Smith.
Alicia Keys; AraabMuzik; Arcade Fire; Azealia Banks; Beyoncé; Bounty Killer (Ft. Timberlee); Buraka Som Sistema; Cam’ron; Charli XCX; Cher Lloyd; Cold Cave; Dizzee Rascal; Electrik Red; Florence & the Machine; Fuck Buttons; Girl Unit; Gold Panda; Guido; James Ferraro; Joy Formidable; Jürgen Müller; Kanye West; Katy B; Kelis; Lady Gaga; Lily Allen; Lindstrom & Prins Thomas; Nadia Oh; Nicola Roberts; Pantha Du Prince; Pistol Annies; PJ Harvey; R. Kelly; Rihanna; Robyn; Roll the Dice; Rosanna; Sleigh Bells; Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em; Spoon; Subeena; Taylor Swift; The-Dream; These New Puritans; Toddla T; Various Artists; The Very Best; Yeah Yeah Yeahs
As a sketch of my taste I’m pretty happy with this. via Glenn McDonald