Wednesday, June 18, 2008

To Beat a Dead Horse

Lately I've been thinking about how questionable the whole music blog/Pitchfork hipster scene is. While I'd be a hypocrite to say I didn't read Pitchfork daily for music news, updates, and reviews, I'm starting to think that the site is basically mind control for a whole scene of young people. I mean, mind control may be a bit strong, but it is pretty ridiculous what sort of hype-creating power that site has. They generally are pretty conservative with what they give the "Best New Music" title, but when they do give it, it's basically a coronation and an instant catalyst to overnight indie stardom.

From a personal standpoint, I generally do enjoy the albums that Pitchfork gives good reviews, but I guess I just question how serious kids take the site. T
his sort of attitude seems to be the failing of the whole music blogosphere in general. I mean I really love hearing new, interesting music but it just seems like people these days are just posting new music and mp3s like they are trying to keep up with the Joneses. When it seems like the music is a chore over a pleasure, that's a bad sign. I mean don't get me wrong, there's some really damn good sites out there like Gorilla vs. Bear, but 90% of these blogs are just shit...(this one too maybe?)
Anyways, I was listening to the Stone Roses' first album at work today, spaced out, thinking about all this and I started thinking about albums that actually changed the way I listened to music. Here's five I could think of, in chronological order of date bought:

1. Michael Jackson -Thriller
Date Acquired: Sometime in 1994

My first memory of being in a record store was me and my mother in the "J" section. I don't remember why I wanted a Michael Jackson album, but it probably had something to do with a first-grade friend digging his stuff (my mom must have hated that her 6-year old son wanted music by a recently-accused pedophile). I remembered being enthralled by the cover art of the 1991 album Dangerous, but my mom, being a responsible parent, told me that I should get Thriller. My first glorious exposure to pop music at it's finest. I would later get Dangerous and eat that shit up for breakfast and love it. Still do. But Thriller is Thriller.

2. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Date Acquired:
Sometime in 1996

In first grade, one of my best friends used to talk about the Beatles seriously all fucking day. He said he had all of their albums. His name
was Shawn and he was Indian. I got a Beatles' Greatest Hits cassette for Christmas in first grade and dug it. Upon the advent of the CD, I got this for either my birthday or Christmas in third grade and ever since then, it's been my favorite Beatles album. And in one of the more obvious statements ever, I would probably have to credit the Beatles as much as any band for making me love rock and roll.

3. Saves the Day - Through Being Cool
Date Acquired:
Spring 2001

In late 7th grade, I got hit by the pop-punk bug, which probably changed the way I thought about music more than anything in my
life. No longer sufficient was the shitty metal and mainstream rap that I heard on the radio. It was now all about the raw pubescent emotion of these "punk rockers" like Saves the Day and New Found Glory. This Saves the Day album in particular blew away 12-year old Colin, and I still can listen to it at any hour seven years later and love it. In the words of D. Boon, punk rock changed my life.

4. Radiohead - OK Computer
Date Acquired: Christmas 2003

Well I am a hypocrite. Before I knew what the hell Pitchfork was, I remembered stumbling onto its "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s" and seeing this at #1. I didn't know any of these so-called "best" albums of the decade that I grew up in. Having heard decent things about this "Radiohead" band and not having much to ask Santa for, I threw this on my Christmas list. I ended up on December 25th with OK Computer, Slanted and Enchanted, and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea...if I had only known that days like that are one in a million.

5. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Date Acquired:
Winter 2004

I really don't remember why I ended up downloading Wu-Tang's debut album. was I trying to give hip-hip a chance? All I know is that before it, I really had limited respect for rap music beyond its catchy dance floor hits. Before I heard this flow, intricate rhyme schemes, meant nothing to me. I think it took RZA's grimy, challenging production and some of the rawest lyricism to ever grace hip-hop to scare the living white kid out of me and into loving the genre.

So yeah...that's how I'm me.

1 comment:

marc said...

this is the best thing i've read on here so far. i've been thinking the exact same thing recently. i too read pitchfork and other blogs daily and yet get so sick of this being told what to like bullshit.
pitchfork has too much control over the indie scene. for the most part i do like what they like, but every now and again i feel like they just put shit out there for kids to eat up. recent examples of a 9.1 given to hercules and love affair gave me great hope for this so called disco-revival but after a few listens i can just say meh. also the fact that the new coldplay has received almost perfect reviews across the board except for a 6.1 given by pitchfork. enough of the elitist crap.

also great top 5 list.