Monday, May 08, 2006

Sub-Pop Culture

I liked "Let It Die," by Feist, one of the vocalists for Broken Social Scene. A lot of indie types seem to be saying she is threatening to become bigger than BSS, which, frankly, I find a little troubling. Maybe the self-titled album sounded repetitive, compared to You Forgot It In People, but the collective production, for me, made it imminently enjoyable. There's something ecstatic about the swirl of music on just about every track. Even the strange attempt at rap was kind of endearing. It wasn't quite as convincing as Islands-style rap, but affecting, nonetheless. I thought Let It Die was strong for the first few songs, but I always skip past the middle - which, I guess is good for her because they're covers - which devolves into safe, adult-contemporary Stevie Wonder past his prime crap. But Pitchfork is in love with her, and are blown away by her charisma. They said so in numerous places. I ran into an old classmate from high school who writes reviews on concerts from time to time, and he was utterly put off by Feist's concert at Columbia earlier this year. She bitched at the crowd for daring to talk during her song (she could hear them?) and acted like an indie-diva. Afterwords, he said her band was cool enough to hang out with him, but she slinked off by herself. Certainly she deserved the benefit of the doubt - who doesn't want to be alone, from time to time? Then, today, on Pitchfork, was an interview with Feist which revealed she "brings couples on stage during her shows and has them dance together, because it reminds her of high school." Fuckin' gross. And she was on the phone, in her bath, during the interview. This all seems too self-conscious to me (which is funny to anyone who knows me, because everything I do is self-conscious - but... we know our own), but just the type of image-building shit that indie-types love. I'm one, and I'm sucked into this sort of image-building from time to time, as well. Anything bad to say about Isaac Brock? You're on my shit list. I love Pitchfork, but I think it's funny how they deride to the point of vitriol some acts for self-conscious behavior (read any review of Ryan Adams) but lap up other legend-building bullshit from site-approved singers and bands (Les Savy Fav, anyone?). Deerhoof could come out with a "cover" of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music and it would get a 10 from Pitchfork.

Anyway, that interview brought me back to the days of college, and "discursive studies" and whatnot. Something else struck me recently, too - how many times do you read a review of a band that chides reviewers for previously being too hard on the band, or too easy on them? It's always a blanket statement - here's one from the Onion's AV club: "The Unicorns' 2003 album Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? wasn't exactly overrated, since it was fairly obscure even by indie-rock standards, but a circle of hardcore indie aficionados did praise the slight, excessively whimsical piece of DIY pop way out of proportion." This reviewer gave himself the last word, ever, on the Unicorns only album. Maybe he's partly right, but this sort of shit rubs me the wrong way - music is subjective, like comedy (no one can tell me Colbert wasn't funny at the Correspondent's dinner, but by the same token, I can't tell someone that Larry the Cable Guy is an unfunny putz.... yes I can) - yet time after time, reviewers give themselves the last word on a given subject, like their unbiased opinion settles it. This brings me to my point: I'm going to write a book of reviews of every CD I have ever owned, and my opinion will forever settle how future generations will look back at this music. First up - River of Dreams.


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