- QUERIES YOU CAN MAKE ON FACEBOOK’S NEW GRAPH SEARCH
- WHY I READ PITCHFORK [WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY HATING IT]
- THE SMELL OF BATHROOMS
So…these people exist:
(It’s possible that no one will show up for the queries with the word “friends” since it depends on which Facebook account you’re using. If that’s the case, you apparently don’t have as weird of friends as I do.)
I’ve never heard anyone discuss music review site pitchfork.com without using the word “pretentious.” There’s a clear consensus that Pitchfork’s writers have their heads deep into the recesses of their rears. I doubt even they themselves would disagree. How could they with prose like:
“[It] may import its dystopian “21st-century slave” mindset and Kevin Shields-supplied screech from the XTRMNTR playbook, but it forsakes camouflage gear for kaftans and keffiyehs, with a snake-charmer horn refrain and a sand-swept, acoustic-guitar groove that alternately surges and dissolves over the course of its nine mesmerizing minutes.”
“It might be a knowing sneer at critics who think Savages are just recycling post-punk’s signature sound, but ostensibly it’s also a salute to an artistic kindred spirit.”
But if you ask these Pitchfork haters what score their favorite album got, they’ll answer down to the decimal. While many people rip on Pitchfork, it also seems many of these same people read Pitchfork.
I think the site’s main draw is it provides a way to discover new music. While its hype-skewed scoring and verbose voice make it difficult to decipher a hit from the shit, (“the” with a lower-case “t”) it still functions as way to learn about new musicians you otherwise wouldn’t read about.
However, this only explains why people go to Pitchfork—not why people read it. To find out about the music, one only needs to browse the recent releases. Actually reading the reviews is unnecessary, yet people do read them—enough to let “Best New Music” labels turn unknowns into festival headliners.
So, why is it so many music fans read Pitchfork while simultaneously snubbing its snobbery? I don’t think it’s for the criticism. So many great albums are disgraced with 4s and 5s while awful ones get listed as the “Best New Music.” I know for me—and possibly most Pitchfork readers—whether they know it or not, the act of reading Pitchfork serves to provide a context and perspective on today’s music. From the reviews, to the articles, every piece of text on the site helps readers construct stories around the music and musicians they listen to.
If you look back on the 20th century, you can kind of see music as map or an analogy for what cultural shifts took place. From Jazz to Rock n’ Roll to Punk to Rap, the formation of each new genre reflects major changes in society. I think music is better able to reflect the times we live in than any other art form. So, in a sense, you can use changes in music to understand changes in society.
But now we’re in a time when music changes every day. Largely because of the Internet, there are now more songs, more albums, and more bands available to us all the time. And they’re all pushing music in different directions. Rather than progressing onward, music is progressing outward.There’s no clear overarching progression or easily defined category. The Internet has done to music what it’s done to every other form of media: sent it into an exponentially expanding and dividing sea of information in which every article, song, or video is hyperlinked with equal prominence. But that’s exactly my point. Music may becoming increasingly expansive and fragmented, but so is society. That’s why I think music still shows us how society is changing. And it’s sites like Pitchfork that show us how music is changing. They may overuse terms like, “dream-pop/shoegaze nebula” and “chillwave engulfed indie pop” (overuse counting as any use), but despite the bullshit, their articles and reviews offer an excellent vantage point on which to understand the changing state of music, and to some extension, the changing state of society. And that’s why read Pitchfork.
But I still think they’re a bunch of pretentious d-bags.
Bathrooms are notorious for their bad smell. This is because humans shit and piss in them. But as bad as feces and urine smell, they could smell worse. Today, I noticed my work’s bathroom smelled like shrimp. It was very unsettling.