Showing posts with label Criticism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Criticism. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Don't Care, Don't Want to Watch

There are music genres and styles that do nothing for me, and then there are cultural markers that go past me and I just don't care.

When it comes to the Beastie Boys, I just don't have the time of day for any of this garbage and I'm going to write something completely negative because why the hell not? I would prefer to celebrate and talk about something good, but I just can't find anything redeeming about their music or their career. No problem with them as people, very sad to have seen them lose Adam Yauch, but there isn't anything that I could have less regard for than their music. So, this is not an attack on them personally. The art they made means shit to me.

We're all supposed to treat Paul's Boutique like Trout Mask Replica, and I'm here to tell you that you can go your whole life without hearing either of them and you'll be alright. Their License to Ill album was supposed to be a landmark example of how of young white men who wanted to use cultural appropriation to break into the world of Hip Hop could entertain a nation eager for such things. Come on, who gives a shit about that dated crap?

Lots of people, I guess. I know I'm wrong, but I don't care.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

When Your Heroes Turn Out to Be Awful People

When you gradually apply today’s standards to people who lived forty or fifty years ago, you come away with a sense that they were awful in more than just a few ways:

Led Zeppelin’s peak epitomized rock’s most egregiously excess-driven period, and while it has been romanticized in pop culture via movies like Almost Famous, that period represented just how normalized fans, media and enablers were when it came to some of music’s most depraved personalities. Sex, drugs and rock & roll became a mantra, and groupie culture became chic, but it wasn’t just a big post-‘60s party. Looking back now, the ‘70s classic rock era looks like libido run amok—with some glaring examples of just how dark the public would allow its favorite rockers to be without ever calling them into question. Zeppelin stories were often fictional, but made them heroes to teenage boys who wanted to be rock stars and, much like Zeppelin’s actual music, proved to be a template for what would become depressingly clich├ęd by the time hair metal hit the ‘80s.

With Led Zeppelin, it all comes down to the theft of songs that has been swept under the rug. They most likely did not steal Stairway to Heaven, but they nicked more than a few pieces of music that they should not have taken. And when a band is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars, the lawyers are going to come for that money. If Zeppelin were broke, no one would be suing them on a regular basis.

Everything that went on with young girls and groupies is appalling and wrong. There is no way of knowing how many underaged females were abused in the 1970s by people who should have known better, whether we’re talking about Zeppelin, David Bowie, virtually everyone who was active in music at that time, or in film, like Roman Polanski and Woody Allen. But they were abused.

It was wrong!

It was awful. It should have been criminal behavior that was not tolerated at the time, but, for some reason, it was and far too many people got away with it. Somewhere, basic parenting broke down and young girls who should have been protected and taken care of were allowed to become the playthings of adult men. It went the other way too - far too many young men were the victims of pedophiles and amoral individuals as well. If anyone tells you that it wasn’t like that in the “good old days,” then they’re lying.

I don’t know how we can reconcile all of this in a fair and equitable way, but you can’t deny it happened.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Don't Buy or Sell It's Crap

This one’s a stinker.

Record Store Day features a release by the Dead Kennedys, only it’s not Jello-approved as far as I can see.

Who in the hell releases their rehearsal studio tapes and calls it a “new” album? Good Lord, quit trying to shake the pennies out of that dying carcass.

This release comes from Manifesto Records, and here’s what we think about that:

Doctored versions of all the old releases are released on Manifesto Records. Biafra does not endorse these re-releases and suggests that anyone thinking of buying them stop and consider where the money is going first. Their live CDs are embarrassingly weak on the ears and are not recommended.

I’ll go with Mr. Biafra’s recommendation and pass on faux-Dead Kennedys merchandise. Boo! Boo! Boo!

While we’re at it, go support Alternative Tentacles instead.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Josh Homme Needs to Go to Jail For This

Kicking a person with a camera in the face during a guitar solo is not cool:

Video footage appears to show Homme kicking Chelsea Lauren's camera out of her hands at a concert in LA

A photographer claims she spent the night in hospital after being kicked by Josh Homme during a Queens Of The Stone Age performance in LA last night (December 9). 

The band played at The Forum in Los Angeles as part of KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017 event. 

Video footage from the concert appears to show Homme trying to kick the camera out of Chelsea Lauren’s hands during the fourth song of their set, ‘The Evil Has Landed’.

According to Lauren, there were no restrictions on photographers down close to the stage. She was not filming them with her phone--she was working as a professional photographer at the concert.

If you follow this link, you can see other footage from the show where Homme is out of his mind.

It's a criminal matter now. Someone needs to lock him up.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Joe Scarborough is a Radiohead Critic

This is some pretty specific shit. Joe Scarborough, who knows fuck-all about anything other than how to trick people into thinking he's a television host, is nitpicking the beginning of Radiohead's critical peaks and valleys, and he's opining on Kid A as if he understands what it was all about.

Clearly, he is some sort of genius we did not realize was in our midst. What a wanker.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Avril Lavigne is Not Dead You Jerks

It's as if people can't evolve, change or grow anymore:

the rumour that the real Avril Lavigne is dead and that has been replaced by an imposter keeps resurfacing. It’s the conspiracy that won’t quit, and to mark the 15th anniversary of her debut single ‘Complicated’, those claims have resurfaced.

One mystery-busting Brazilian blog has compiled all of the ‘evidence’ through the years and reckons it has definitive proof that the punky pop star is in fact dead, and the Avril Lavigne who now stalks the earth is nothing but a fake. Here are the main points of the argument:

Insert your own Nickelback joke here, and, while you're at it, read the whole article. Someone has way too much time on their hands.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Paul Weller on the State of Music

He's not a fan of guitar music right now:

Paul Weller has slammed the ‘insipid’ state of modern guitar music, but has revealed that he is a fan of rap, R&B, grime and some singer-songwriters.

The former Jam turned solo icon is currently on tour to launch his new album, ‘A Kind Revolution‘. Speaking to NME ahead of his recent Teenage Cancer Trust show at the Royal Albert Hall, the ‘Modfather’ revealed his current listening habits.

Asked about the current state of guitar music, Weller replied: “I find it a bit insipid at the moment. I can’t think of any guitar bands, English bands anyway, at the moment.

“I quite like an American band called Savoy Motel; I like their last record. And Syd Arthur I really love – they’re mates as well, I really like them. Lucy Rose has got a new album coming out in the next few months that’s really great. There are a lot of great individual records and just individuals really.”

It's all laptop music right now, save for whatever handful of bands can afford to make records with instruments in a room. I'm not a fan of anything on the modern radio playlists right now simply because none of it is real and none of it has been played or crafted by people who can move outside of the digital music recording sphere. It's tinny and flat. Music is supposed to have some reverb. Too many sound effects and too few innovative sounds.

How is any of it supposed to sound good on vinyl? If you compare what people are doing now to what was done in 1979, you can really tell the difference in how it had a different texture. There's a reason why people cling to their old albums.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The House of Love Babe Rainbow Covers

This album is a masterpiece.

Babe Rainbow

has a fantastic cover--a real winner, if you ask me. I have a soft spot for this album because, back when it was released, I completely missed it. I had the 1990 album, aka, "Butterfly" and, after that, nothing. This was because the House of Love sort of fell off the world for me, but, really, it was just a case of not knowing about this album and what the band was doing. To say that they were underappreciated is an understatement.

They were neglected to death, in other words. And

Babe Rainbow

is one of the most neglected masterpieces of the 1990s. Lost in the sucking swirl of grunge, it ran into a marketplace that wasn't ready for beautiful guitar music. Had Guy Chadwick, et al, simply droned on and screamed about mother, they might have had a chance. Instead, they gave us

The Girl With the Loneliest Eyes

, one of the purest pop songs ever written. Every track on the album is a keeper, by the way. I could mix this whole album up on an iPod and never wonder why those tracks are there.

Acquire this one. It should--it deserves--the reissue treatment, as do all of the other House of Love albums. I would love to see these put back out there with B-sides and live tracks and all, simply because this is crucial music.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Primal Scream Country Girl Covers

This is where I really, really started to get into Primal Scream again.

This single has a fantastic cover. Country Girl is a classic rave up. Live, this song brings down the house. The cover here is classically presented with a dark and sinister top and bottom bar, just like a scene from a letter-boxed film. I love what they did with this package.

Ten years? Really? It feels like it just came out.

Monday, December 12, 2016

James Laid Cover

The single from James called Laid was easily one of the best things to come out in 1993; I would say that it was definitely a high point for the band that experienced so many highs and had so many great singles.

The design for this one somewhat mars the impact of the single; the cover is difficult to read and I would definitely have flipped what's on the back for the front. I love the close up stitching as a motif and I like the detail in the cloth and the colors. This is not the first time I have liked the back cover more than the front cover, but it won't be the last, either.

Oasis Be Here Now Alternate Cover

Be Here Now has been reissued, and I'll figure out how to get a copy of that in due time. 

This is what could have been an alternate cover, which I regard as a greatly flawed masterpiece that could have been fixed if someone would just do two things:

1. Remove all of the ecstatic choruses that were added when everyone was on cocaine

2. Shorten the songs by at least a minute each

3. Include the cover versions of songs recorded during the sessions and dump the filler tracks

None of that's ever going to happen, but oh well. As reissues go, this is a chance to hear the Mustique demos, which should have been their own album, of course. Why tack them on here? The demos would make a tremendous album on their own.

Here's the best way to look at mid-period Oasis. Separate the first two albums and their B-sides from everything else. They comprise the best one-two punch in the history of music. Nobody has a better first and second album than Oasis.

View The Masterplan as the real "third" album and Be Here Now as a compilation of B-sides. If you flip them around, you can see The Masterplan as a solid third album of great songs. Mash them together if you want. The song The Masterplan alone is the greatest B-side in all of music history. Noel's ridiculous, obstinate temper at that time made The Masterplan a B-side when it should have been a single. It should have been the first track from Be Here Now, backed with Acquiesce, Stand by Me, and Half the World Away.

Alas, who would ever listen to a blogger?

XTC Black Sea Cover

Black Sea

is the XTC album that everyone should hear first. I don't care what your dad says, buy this one first and then explore the rest of them.

I'm not saying that because it has the coolest cover. I'm saying that because the songs are instant classics.

Black Sea

is 35 years old--how is that even possible? You kids today with your music--you just don't know.

This is the fifth best song on the album by the way:

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Echo and the Bunnymen A Promise Cover

Another old favorite, and why not?

The cover for the 45 rpm single for the song A Promise borrows from the cover art and theme of the album Heaven Up Here. This is an excellent use of the method of tying in the single to the album.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Greatest Comeback Album Ever

It's easy to forget just how reviled they were.

Mother Jones Magazine: Let me read you a recent quote from Randy Newman: "I used to be against world peace until U2 came out for it. Then the scales just fell from my eyes.... And when they're singing with those black people? Do you know that black people just love their music? Bono's conducting those black people and they're doing just what he says!...
BONO: I had heard that. Randy Newman is a very funny man, though I think he's written far funnier lines than those.
MJ: Are you interested that criticisms like his have been leveled a lot lately, particularly at "Rattle and Hum?"
B: I suppose. What's uninteresting about that is that we are such an easy target, from the word go, because we perform from our own point of view. I sing about the way I see things. Some people write songs about the way characters see things. Some artists perform with a wink. That's just not the way with U2. When people perform from their gut -- when John Lennon sang a song called "Mother" -- that was not a hip thing to do. He was exposing himself. It's performers like that I admire.... If you're going to spend your whole life worrying about dropping your guard and exposing yourself, worrying that working with a gospel choir might look like imperialism, that would be dumb.
MJ: But the criticisms I read of the film are that it was too guarded. Let me read, if I could, another criticism ....
Well, I'm really not interested.
MJ: I just want to give you the opportunity to respond ....
B: What this suggests is that the music is not enough. That is my expression -- the music -- and within that music I can take my clothes off. Not for the press, not for the TV shows, not for the film. That film was about music, and in that music was everything that we have to say and offer. Now people want it made easy for them. They want it spelled out. Why can't people just accept the music? You know the real reason? It's that people don't listen to the music anymore, and a lot of critics don't.... I think our fans know all the songs on our albums, and I don't think many critics do. I really don't.
MJ: Were there any criticisms that did sting, that hit home, that taught you anything?
B: No. I must say I was generally very disappointed in the community of critics. It's funny. I would've thought that what people would have expected us to do would've been to put out a double live LP, and cash in on "The Joshua Tree," and make a lot of money for very little work. That is what big rock bands do.
When we didn't do that, I expected people to recognize that. When we put the records out at low price, stripped away the U2 sound, then just went with our instincts as fans, and just lost ourselves in this [American R&B] music, in a very un-self-conscious way...
MJ: But if the LP has been unfairly and stupidly criticized by people who aren't listening carefully ...
B: No. It's not even that. It's that the spirit of it has been completely and utterly missed. The spirit of it is unlike any record of a major group, for a long time. That spirit is the very essence of why people get into bands and make music. And it's not about being careful. And it's not about watching your ass....

Achtung Baby

is the result of being torn apart and reduced to having to plead for understanding. I don't think people understand that context. This is the album that only an angry band could make and that's why it still resonates.

U2 needs to make another one of these and come back, fully, into the world with some anger instead of some wry comments about the bar scene.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Out of Time

I think a lot of this is oversold hogwash:

R.E.M. released its seventh studio album, “Out of Time,” in March 1991, roughly six months before Nirvana unleashed “Nevermind.” The record was an obvious musical evolution from 1988’s “Green,” as it deemphasized electric guitars, featured a bevy of guest stars (rapper KRS-One and Kate Pierson of the B-52’s, along with session musicians) and amplified a broad array of instruments.

Spidery mandolin drives “Losing My Religion,” R.E.M.’s biggest chart hit to date (and, as it turns out, overall), while harpsichord adds a longing tint to “Half a World Away” and steel guitar bends through “Texarkana.” Merry circus organ exacerbates the exuberance of “Shiny Happy People,” while layers of gooey harmonies and winsome piano ensure “Near Wild Heaven” channels the Beach Boys. Saxophones, clarinet, congas, melodica and even flugelhorn pop up elsewhere to cement the album’s orchestral-pop sheen. “Out of Time” still sounds like nothing else in R.E.M.’s catalog.

Yet the album almost became more notable because it was reported to be full of love songs. “I’ve always despised love songs, so I had to try them,” vocalist Michael Stipe told the New York Times, while also stressing that “nothing on the record is autobiographical. If I ever write an autobiographical record, I’ll make it very obvious. I’m trying to do something that Tom Waits and Peter Gabriel do really well, which is to write about things I may or may not have experienced from different points of view.” In theory, the idea that R.E.M.—a band of romantics who nevertheless had largely eschewed such an obvious, common musical trope—decided to write love songs was intriguing and provocative.

The reality was more nuanced than that, of course. In practice, “Out of Time” moves beyond the subtle (and misunderstood) romantic scorn permeating R.E.M.’s 1987 hit “The One I Love”: The album is an attempt to capture and document the specific, different ways people could love and be loved. “I’ve written love songs, but they were pretty obscure and oblique,” Stipe told Spin in 1991. “These songs deal with every kind of love — except maybe love of country.” In fact, “Out of Time” is more a psychological dissection of love’s various forms—whether extant, extinct or somewhere in between.

“Near Wild Heaven” describes a relationship that’s on its last legs and teetering on the edge of breaking apart, while the aching “Half a World Away” captures the longing sewn into the fabric of a long-distance relationship. “Losing My Religion,” meanwhile, describes an uneasy scenario when love is uncertain—someone is walking on eggshells and anguished due to the unpredictable (and potentially unkind) behavior of a partner.

This is the album that Green gave birth to--an indulgent mix of overcooked songs that are as embarrassing to listen to now as it was then. And I sort of liked it when it came out. Grunge was never an option for me in the 1990s because, hello, it was always a ridiculous jaunt through 70s nostalgia.

Out of Time, as an album, is a mess. You can argue that it's an album they outsourced. It's an album that contains the single biggest mistake of their entire career--Shiny Happy People. It's got a rap song on it. Well, so did Roll the Bones, people. There is nothing spontaneous here--it's overcooked and made to sound great on television. This is exactly what happens when someone has too much time, money, and a bunch of exotic instruments to mess around with. This is the album where art divorced itself from immediacy and ended up getting run over by commerce. 

I just gave up on R.E.M. in 1996. They should have broken up after touring the world behind Green. We'd have a vastly different view of the band and their legacy if they had gone their separate ways (and it would make it easier to swallow the overindulgence that was the Green album, which is almost indistinguishable from Out of Time in that they both ended up being loaded with filler and overwrought personalization). Individually, all of the members of R.E.M.have been capable of great things, and so this is not a knock on them personally. What you can knock is how they embraced their corporate music label ownership, walled themselves off from their fans by not touring for four years, and courting favor with MTV. 

The recent MTV documentary about how the music channel and the band entered into some sort of friendly symbiotic relationship has done more to destroy their legacy than a string of poor albums did. The five album punch of Murmur, Reckoning, Fables, Pageant and Document stands as one of the greatest achievements in all of independent music. Nobody has five stronger, tougher, more innovative albums than that. Nobody meant more than R.E.M. in the 1980s. They became the face of sincere, meaningful independent music. And then they fucked it all up.

The back nine of their catalog reads like something out of a horror film. Do you know what it's like to walk through a store and hear Man in the Moon? Remember when Stipe sang about being on talk shows? Do you know how sad it is to sit there and watch the band make nice with Tabitha Soren? Did you catch their tribute to Kurt Cobain, who betrayed everything about independent music and basic artistry by checking out on drugs and blowing through shitty songs? Does anything on Reveal sound like it matters? What the hell were they thinking when they dumped their last album into the indifferent marketplace of ideas and then didn't even bother touring behind it?

Out of Time does not hold up very well. Pieces like this are meant to reassess things that were commercially successful. Do you know what you'll find if you can locate a used music store or a pawnshop that still carries CDs? A butt ton of R.E.M. CDs from this erea. It had no staying power as a statement of the times. And you can prove that by noting that it won three Grammys. How many important, really significant albums have actually won Grammys? I can't think of any, but, remember--I'm biased.

Any discussion of R.E.M.'s legacy is going to bring up a lot of my own baggage, so, you know, there's that. But the best thing you can say about Out of Time is that it wasn't as embarrassing as Up.


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Monday, February 15, 2016

Johnny Marr and the Healers Bangin' On

This is a great way to package a single and promote something and give fans a pretty good value. The idea of the CD single often ends up going south for a lot of bands. But Johnny Marr and the Healers have a great thing going with this, the Bangin' On single.

The elements are very simple. Three songs are fine (I consider anything with four songs an EP, or extended play single, but that's not a hard and fast rule--that's just my rule), and there's over fifteen minutes of music here. The cover is artsy, and gets a little busy, but when tied into the artwork for the back (and the band photo) as well as the CD labeling itself, well, we're talking a home run here.

So many singles fail to find these simple elements and make them work. They either get the cover and design wrong (a tendency to go cute or gross or shocking comes to mind) or they fail to offer anything worth buying. I tend to prefer this kind of single--anything with B-sides is perfect. Occasionally, someone will stick three live tracks on a single--I like that, too. I'm not too keen on remixes, never have been. A single with seven remixes is not as interesting to me as something with B-sides or live tracks, but, again--that's just me being weird.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

No, You Can't Go Around in Blackface Anymore

Damn, son. How stupid are you?

Country music star Jason Aldean has caused controversy after allegedly wearing blackface for a Halloween costume.

The Nashville Gab recently published an image which it claims shows Aldean, his wife and friends posing in their Halloween outfits. Aldean appears to be seen wearing black facepaint and a wig of black dreadlocks.

Following criticism and accusations of racism, the singer's publicist confirmed to the Associated Press that Aldean "dressed as rapper Lil Wayne for Halloween" but provided no further explanation or apology.

If you're surrounded by people who refuse to tell you how things really work, you're going to do something stupid. It doesn't matter if you're in country music or Norwegian death metal--you need someone who can be relied upon to make informed commentary on the stupid ideas that surface.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Foo Fighters

A newspaper in Canada recently sent an illustrator to a Foo Fighters gig in a protest against the band's photo contract issued at their shows.

The US group recently evoked controversy for what some have seen as "exploitative" terms stated in a contract the band seek photographers to sign to shoot at their gigs.

Earlier this month, the Washington City Paper issued a statement, saying of the contract: "The band would have 'the right to exploit all or a part of the Photos in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe, in perpetuity, in all configurations' without any approval or payment or consideration for the photographer".

"That is exploitation of photographers, pure and simple... by signing that contract, the band could then use the creative work of our photographer in their future marketing materials or to resell them through their site. The band’s contract, to be blunt, sucks."

I'm convinced that Dave Grohl started a band twenty years ago so he could screw photographers, and this proves I was right! If only I had written all of this down somewhere.

Seriously, though--if you don't like what you have to sign, don't cover it and don't engage with the artist. Not everyone is required to be reasonable. And, bear in mind, this is just an artist trying to hold onto ownership of something, and not to put anybody out of business or drive someone to distraction.

There's probably a precedent at work here. That was my first serious reaction--oh, they're trying to get ahead of something after having a bad experience. At some point, someone took a photo of the band and exploited them or made money somehow in a dishonest way and this is the reaction to that. It's perfectly understandable--don't rip us off.

This is news because Foo Fighters have the legal and commercial heft to back up their decisions with actual contracts. They don't have to be "cool" about anything because we are long past the moment when everyone else decided, fuck it, let's cash in on someone else's image/sound/success/momentum and make some bucks. Other bands just have to go around with the hats in their hands, begging the media and the industry as a whole to not screw them over. 

How dare an artist try to own pictures of themselves. How dare they try to maintain some control over who sells their images when they, themselves should be in that business if they choose to be.

This goes back to demanding free music at a time when everything should be handed to everyone on a silver platter of entitlement.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Gibson Guitars and Wishful Thinking

I get why Gawker is going after Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz--he's an asshole who is completing the mission of ruining a venerated American company. That's their take on it, and they have been beating that drum for a few years.

The story of any American company that is being run into the ground in similar to this in some way--lack of innovation, poor leadership, declining values, outsourced employees, and mismanagement of enormous proportions. Companies are being bled dry. Companies are making shoddy products and trying to appease stockholders. Companies are just plain useless. Many others are just going in the wrong direction and can't get any traction.

Gibson, like Harley Davidson, and like anyone else you want to mention, are companies that are simply  going away because the culture is changing. So, you can rag on Juszkiewicz all you want, but fewer and fewer people are getting invested in what Gibson is selling, and that's music performed by a person after years of study and hard work. As a product, the guitar is losing value because we are caught up in nostalgia.

There is only one kind of person who is interested in paying more than $25,000 for a guitar, and that person is aging rapidly and has a lot of money and isn't interested in anything other than acquiring a status symbol. If you explained to them that a $1,000 Epiphone guitar is just as good, you're never going to hear the end of it. If you pointed out that Paul Reed Smith is making better instruments, all you're doing is confirming the fact that people are not interested in facts. They want something they can put in their house that will make others envious. 

I have four cheap guitars that I love to play. I switch between them, put new strings on when I can, and I play when I can. I'm not interested in playing live in front of people--I just want to have the experience of playing an instrument that will respond to what I put into it, which is not a lot, to be honest with you. I don't care about the Les Paul guitar because I'm never going to own one. I've been priced out of the market.

Now, it used to be that Gibson would make models that appealed to people like me--music used to be affordable. Greed drove up the prices and the notion that there was something in the wood, something in the laquer on the surface of the wood (bullshit), something magical that science couldn't verify took hold. The need for people to create exclusivity with owning a wooden box with strings on it has driven affordability into the ground. 

Gibson has priced people out of their market. They have a failing business model and the culture is abandoning this thing we call music because no one can make a living at it anymore. The number of people who will order a custom Gibson guitar and pay a huge amount of money for it is dwindling every day because we devalued the music business to such an extent that you're going to see the ripple effect. 

It's all disappearing and dying, and when the Baby Boomers are done, a slew of companies that appealed to them and milked them for all of their cash will go with them into oblivion. Everything that you can say about a Gibson guitar you can also say about Corvette cars and Harley motorcycles--they're now overpriced, they're not as good as they once were, and the one I own is better than yours.

American culture now values video games and music created by DJs more than it does the creation of music with hands and amplifiers and recording studios. There's no money it and it's never coming back. It's like the era of wooden ships--sure, there are people who know how to sail but nobody retains the knowledge and skill necessary to do it the way it was done two or three hundred years ago. If you want it all to be like it was, that's just nostalgia and wishful thinking.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Jack White

No one writes the things I want to hear about Jack White:

We're starting to think Jack White doesn't fully grasp the internet. It's not that he doesn't know how to use it to communicate with fans, bring them high-end streaming music with Tidal, sell albums and tickets through various outlets, etc. It's just that things like Third Man Records' lengthy rant against it, "JACK WHITE CLICK BAIT BINGO EXHAUSTION," seems to show a lack of understanding that when a famous person says something interesting or borderline controversial, fans are going to react and writers are going to post about it, sometimes fairly and sometimes not. His high standards for internet discourse and journalism are admirable, but still unrealistic. And call us skeptical, but with Jack's penchant for toying with people pretty evident at this point, we have to wonder how often he loves steering into the skid and saying something sarcastic or, at least, scowling his way through a Cubs game so people will take pictures of him. With that in mind, here's a rundown of White's many run-ins with the internet, whether he's hating on Twitter, getting his private divorce emails and tour-rider guacamole recipe leaked, or penning open letters clarifying offhand comments he made to fans and journalists. It's almost like a little history of how we all had to learn to deal with the rise of online journalism and social media, and all the pitfalls that come with it.

If that para doesn't tire you out, I have a few that will.

First, The White Stripes weren't a band. It was him and her and they played and everything was meticulously documented. If you don't think that those tapes aren't going to continue to trickle out for the next forty years, you're crazy. Everything White has done is leading to the tour where he and her get back together and sell lots of tickets and play. If it happens, good for them. The cash will roll in and there will be more tapes, more releases, and more vinyl. This is how people who were in bands make a living now. They can only make money if they pretend they don't want to play with one another. I never read enough about the bullshit behind driving up the price it will take for a band to reform.

Second, the guy speaks in an unguarded fashion with people as if he trusts them. There are quite a few people willing to abuse that trust in order to have a moment of glory for themselves. For whatever reason, these shitheads have attached themselves to White's music and they fall all over themselves showing people a very douchey side of White. Whenever an artist becomes genuine, someone will always sell the tape for a buck. They got this terrible economy going on and that's what people do. I can't read too many stories about the douchey side of pick your favorite artist.

Third, the guy just wants to make music and get paid. No one has done more to personify how messed up that situation is in the world right now. He's struggling to figure out how to release music in a format people want to hear in a way that will compel them to pay the right amount for it. If there was any justice in the world, we'd give him a pardon for scowling and let him figure out how to make it all work. I definitely don't hear too many other people complaining about this nonsense.

We're the jerks, of course. We're the jerks.