clap clap blog: we have moved
Thursday, February 12, 2004
I suppose this deserves a substantive response--we already started discussing it in the comments here--but I don't think I have the energy right now. Still, let me address two points.
First off, Dominic writes in comments:
However, I wouldn't lose any sleep over receiving insults from clap clap readers. I'd take turbo-charged over bland and over-easy any day of the week. "It's all just music, man." "The field's too big to survey and sort, man." "Who am I to judge, man, and who are you." People unable to take sides, horizontally and vertically.
Some of this is, of course, a matter of opinion--I suppose you could say I'm unable to take sides, although Pitchfork might disagree there--but I think some of the attitudes ascribed to me are just clearly inaccurate. Mainly, I never said a thing about "who are you." There was no "you" in any of my poptimism replies. For instance, here I say: "it doesn't matter because we don't care. This statement only matters if you care if 2003 was better than 2002, and the people whose critical philosophy generally seems to run parallel to mine just don't give a rat's ass about that as far as I can tell." You'll notice there's no "you" there, just "we." I wasn't saying that no one could possibly ever make an intelligible yearly survey of pop or have some sort of understanding of the field. I was just saying that criticizing "poptimists" for saying pop is good when 2003 sucked is just invalid, outside the field of our reference, because we don't care, we're not list-makers or surveyors or rankers. You can be, and more power to you. But we're not, so it's unlikely that telling us some arbitrarily determined period of time hasn't contained a sufficient amount of good pop will make us any less enthusiastic about music. And I still don't feel particularly bad about that.
Secondly, I'll grant that one problem with this stance is that a lot of the best new music--even if it's just regurgitations of old music--comes from people who really truly think that "all music sucks now." If they think so to such a degree that they have to remedy it themselves, if it bothers them so much that they're compelled to go out and do something better just to give themselves something to listen to, this can be a great motivator of creativity. This is true. (A bit stupid sometimes, but still true.)
So if anyone was worried about it, I just want to reassure them: I feel this way. Sort of. Oh, don't get me wrong--I really am excited about new music right now. I have three mix CDs of mostly new stuff, along with at least 5 other recently-released CDs, and I can hardly decide which one to listen to in the morning. But this doesn't mean that I don't think they all suck and I could beat them all in a heartbeat. Just because I like all this music doesn't mean that I don't think the music I make, or could make, is a billion times better. You could certainly disagree about this, but--how to put this?--you're wrong. I am so much better than everyone else out there right now that it's not even funny. So don't worry about poptimism squashing creativity--there are still lots of people cocky enough to love music but love their own music much, much more.