clap clap blog: we have moved

Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Continuing the great chain of being, PF replies to my reponse to their response to my response to their Liz Phair review. I don't think I'll reply (if only to avoid having to paste in all those links again) but the bit at the end of the third paragraph about taking away attention from other people blah blah blah (more likely taking away attention from Beyonce than Khante if you ask me) is pretty questionable, as is the by-now stock critical move of responding to my semi-articulate questions with "Well, I was trying to..." Good for you. You didn't.

No letters from me printed in PF today, of course.

The stuff at the end is interesting, I guess, even if commenting on current pop singles is not exactly a new idea.

Oh, and QV points us to a positive Liz Phair review.

Hey Mike, thanks for writing back. The yuppie thing was a bit of a stretch,
I guess I was just trying to say that I don't necessarily think that going
all-out commercial is a spectacularly "admirable" thing to do. The yuppie
analogy was misleading in its negativity -- I don't think there's anything
wrong with liking $300 dinners and working for them, but I don't think it's
particularly "admirable" either. I definitely got more than a little bit
confused there.

Pitchfork isn't completely anti-mainstream, we like Radiohead, we like the
Stokes, we like the White Stripes -- I suppose you could say that these are
all "mainstream bands that the indie kids still care about," but a LOT of
indie kids I know still care about Liz Phair. Hell, I cared enough to
sincerely hope that the album would be good, even after I heard about the
Matrix collaboration. I can't speak for Brent's Metallica review, but I
know some people who were seriously wondering about the new Liz Phair album,
and I didn't write the review just for the sake of picking the album apart.
I tried to make it clear that the 0.0 rating meant that, to me, the album
offered absolutely nothing unique or interesting. I even tried to stay away
from gratuitously equating "mainstream" with "bad," because I certainly
don't think that's true.

I did have a point with the rhyming thing, though -- I think that there IS a
difference between rhyming lyrics and lyrics that are strung together for
the sole purpose of constituting a viable rhyme scheme. I mean, to use the
most obvious example... does love really come from above? Also, I didn't
want Liz Phair to feel bad for making a record I don't like. I wanted her
to show some sign of actual engagement, either musically or lyrically, and I
don't think she did. But hey, it's a subjective thing, and we obviously
disagree about "Rock Me" and, in turn, about a certain type of music in
general. You really love Britney and Christina, as well as Liz? That's
great! I wasn't expecting you to say that you do. There exists, and I
think/hope you'll know what I'm talking about, a faction of people who LOVE
Liz Phair's new album, but hate all the music it resembles... talk about a
lack of consistency! I was just trying to point out that, while Liz Phair
may be "going for it, all-out," there are countless other groups who've been
going for it all along and don't have the resources or media frenzy of Liz
Phair... but by now I'm pretty sure you agree with me on that one.

Speaking of consistency, aside from some muddled rambling in the response I
sent you, I think I've been pretty consistent. I was assigned an album to
review. I reviewed the music, and it seemed to me that the album offered
nothing that was unique or interesting. If this album were to have been
made by either a pop star or a complete unknown, it still would've gotten
the 0.0 -- I wasn't trying to make a pointed statement about "selling out."
There are definitely mainstream albums I enjoy, but music like Liz Phair's
latest doesn't do it for me in any way. You hear a retro-chic treatment of
a current sound, I hear a listless attempt to approximate the current sound
as faithfully as possible. More to the point, you like that particular
sound and I don't. I completely agree with you about "if the song is
good..." I think we just disagree about whether or not this particular song
is good.

Also, just so you know, Pitchfork is planning on extending our coverage of
pop music, taking on the singles charts and trying to muster some fair and
balanced criticism. The staff has more eclectic tastes than you might
think, and between the 20 or so of us currently writing, there's a lot of
pop music love. I'm looking forward to all of us, myself included, having a
more expanded medium through which to express it.



UPDATE: Oh yeah, forgot about the "we like the White Stripes" claim. You do? Huh. Well, that wasn't the impression I got from the review...