Rock Critic Laziness Dept.: We are officially over the tendency in record reviews to, instead of actually talking about music, explain what a song sounds like by likening it to another band’s sound. This citational reflex is de rigueur in the prison house of rock, where everything has a meaning only in relation to something already recorded. There’s an especially pernicious version of this floating around these days in which the reviewer says a song by some band sounds like it could have been a long-lost b-side by some other band. Every part of this shortcut writing is frustrating, moreso now that we’ve collected enough examples of it to clearly establish it as a trend.
Records where side 2 has been forgotten. The paradigms for this are Glass Houses [3-10-80] (Joel put all the singles on side 1 and the chaff at the rear), shockingly, 2112 [4-1-76] (think about it — even though Tears may be one of their all-time greatest numbers, do you know anything after the one about Bangkok?), and of course, Yellow Submarine [11-13-68], with the “5th Beatle” effectively erasing an entire half hour from the Beatles’ discography.
Please Please Please, James Brown
The ridiculo-sublime idea of the “poseur” has got to be smashed. I can’t be the one to do it though — I think too much of my identity still requires it. But seriously, the standard narrative that a band like The Monkees somehow has less integrity than another LA band like, say, the Byrds, and even weirder, that their pre-fabness would somehow correlate to less musical quality, has been by this stage of the game definitively chucked, right? Then why hasn’t it been ditched across the board? Why do we need nerds and box sets to do our appreciating for us and then tell us it’s alright to like “sellouts”, now that what we could refer to as the Monkees Precedent has been established? To wit: all poseurs have as much chance of making amazing music as the coolest of the cools.
Out now, people.
I told Will Oldham once,
um I don’t know what that song (laughter) was.
Gene Booth: 20. Chrome: The Visitation 19. Savoy Motel: S/t 18. Mary Halvorson: Meltframe, Away With You 17. Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker / David Bowie: Blackstar 16. Brad Meldhau Trio: Blues and Ballads 15. Don Ch… I KNOW you’re kidding about #17. Is this you? Anyway, awesome. Rian Murphy: Nah, they’re both pretty […]