clap clap blog: we have moved
Thursday, February 05, 2004
Another great post from Joe, this time on poptimism.
But the specifics aren’t really the issue here. The idea that there are a bunch of people who were really excited about the pop music of the day in 1985, who are now holding their heads in shame and skulking in the shadows because a few music bloggers have arbitrarily deemed that year to be a nadir in the history books – this is in itself laughable. What exactly is the “tragic fate” that awaits me if I continue in my reckless poptimism? Well, let’s see: the 2021 equivalent of K-Punk will decide that 2003 was a rubbish year for music, and I will be roundly mocked and have only my copy of Speakerboxxx / The Love Below (now deeply reviled by all credible music writers worldwide) to comfort me.
I'd only add that although people asking "‘Am I Getting Old Or Is Music Shit Now?" and answering only the latter is pretty bogus nowadays, part of the reason it's such a pervasive attitude is because you really could say it with some honesty up until 10 or 15 years ago, really. Without the Internet, you honestly had a really hard time finding out if there was some great Swedish band even when all the American ones sucked, and without access to recording equipment being so cheap and widespread, there could be the best band in the world four states over, but if they weren't being recorded there would similarly be no real way for you to find out about them. One of the great things about the web is how easy it's made it to find the little gems that other people have searched out: if you have a computer and a net connection, it's as easy as going to Pitchfork or the NME or the Onion AV Club and reading the news and reviews and browsing through the archives, or going to NYLPM or rockcritics.com and following the links, or going to ILM and following the discussions for a while. Anyone can do it, unlike the much greater difficulty of finding the right zines or mailorder catalogs and record stores previously, and the paths leading to it from the mainstream are not that rare, really. But I do think that the "all music right now sucks" attitude persists even though that's demonstrably not the case is that it's a statement you used to be able to make without anyone really blaming you for getting it wrong. But nowadays, I'd agree with Joe that it's pretty much your fault if you can't find anything good anywhere for an entire year.