Posts from December 2001
quicksilver shapeshifter is a great-looking new music weblog by ILM regular Mel W. Too early to make any kind of overview of what she’ll be talking about but a look at her top 50 2001 LPs will give you some idea of the range.
And while I sorted out the archives, I made myself a tape!
Freaky Trigger Archives: before we get onto all that, though, here is a sorted-out FT Archive. There’d been snarl-ups in the archiving of some of the restored pieces, so stuff like Sterling’s Hannah Marcus review (complete with awful editorial typo!!) weren’t indexed. Now they are so you can explore.
And for an extra New Year treat we’ve resurrected four favourite archive pieces – 1981 vs 2000, my review of Godspeed You Black Emperor!, my review of Foreigner, and by POPULAR DEMAND the notorious ‘Why I Hate Indie Kids’.
This year the Village Voice sent me a Pazz And Jopp poll ballot, which was surprising and kind of them. I’m not a professional rock critic, after all, and I’ve hardly even been keeping my end in as a hobbyist this year. I felt excited about it and bad about it – I was presumably getting the ballot because of Freaky Trigger, or I Love Music, but I started both those things because I wanted to read music writing that was more personal and small-scale and not all weights-and-measures like the Pazz and Jopp poll. If I was getting a ballot, so should everyone else I know. On the other hand the Village Voice music section under Chuck Eddy’s editorship is the best print pop-zine in the world, and I’d feel a bit stupid if I didn’t show some respect by sending in the votes. So ideologically speaking that was that.
The only problem was I had to come up with a list.
The holidays were particularly good to me, especially in one respect — thanks to a gift certificate and the idiocy of some crackheads in San Francisco who clearly needed some money to support their habits, I picked up three of the PSB reissues from earlier this year, along with getting two more a couple of days later. Saying that albums like Actually and Behaviour are important to me is understating the case — somehow even the suggestion of a Tennant/Lowe credit on something captures a feeling in me that few other acts can touch, and more on that, perhaps, in a future article.
What the holidays mean to me, an avowed cynic with half-hearted aspirations of an optimistic rebirth: stress over buying Christmas gifts; traffic surround malls & other shopping areas that would shame most rotaries; wrapping paper that won’t fold the right way, damn it; sticky pine needles falling all over the carpet; water splashing out of the tree holder; rampant commercialism infecting the general consciousness right after kids finish scooping out their Jack O’Lanterns; terrible, trite ‘holiday’ music people foist onto those around them to simulate some feeling of camraderie that doesn’t really exist anymore.
Glenn McDonald tackles the new Fugazi (in the middle of a unique look at our favourite genre): “One of the most pivotal events in the evolution of a sustainable genre, however, is when the feedback loop starts, and the artists who founded or inspired it start to sound more like the versions of themselves that their followers are following. This happened with several key bands during metal’s development (most notably Black Sabbath, who basically reached the point of self-parody in about 1989, but one could make a good case that most important metal bands have regressed towards means in exactly this way, with the notable exception of Slayer), and happened with almost a whole generation of prickly art-school post-punk bands that all discovered synth-pop and became New Wave. Fugazi, though, has betrayed no acknowledgement of, much less interest in, Braid’s retrofitting of straightedge back into a semblance of rock and roll. “
Glenn McDonald on Rush and fan loyalty: “I’m still going to buy every record they make, and if this is sort of their pension I’m funding by doing so, then I’ll send the checks without fail, and every visitors’ day will find me pushing them around the grounds in their chair, listening to them tell disorganized annecdotes that I’ll cherish as much, in their own way, as the books that made them famous.”
Dear Novocane feat No Ones Driving, top dodgy trance bods,
first of all, come on. Now is not the time for FITES and being VERSUS! It is Christmas! Even if there is a new (ha!) Tupac single out which I am sure means that some Americans will write pomes about and no doubt cause a GRATE BIG FUSS to my bemusement, it don’t mean you should get all agressive. Just feel the peace. And one more thing, that lyric? “You drive my soul from sadness”??
BUT NO ONES DRIVING!!!!!!!!!!
Honestly, if you bad trance mewsic clones can’t cope with sticking to continuity in YORE OWN CHOONS then whot hope haf the pop publique now eh? Oh hold on, mingy Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman (who has a REALLY big CHIN) are Number One with a cover of Something Stupid. That’s the title of the song as well, bwahahahaha. Oh please, hold my humour back. Take my number one selling album and cassingle, please. Back to Virgin Megastores – the shop to me which is a record store for people who don’t really like records that much (although I am very guilty of illicit TCR Virgin Megastore trips I will admit that much). The video doesn’t even have them romping through snow! Xmas number one PISH PIE AND PROPHYLACTICS to them I say.
The Christmas song has always been an odd part of pop – music and songs designed to represent, to evoke a specific season, a time, a place. Even if – especially if – that season is itself a social fiction. Pop after all shares modern Christmas’ uneasy compromise between hyper-commerce and private ritual and pleasure. The Christmas song, you might say, is the last outpost of exotica – music as travel, as a passport to a lost or alien world. Except here, maybe, the lost world is our own better nature.