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Is Robert Christgau the worst, most overblown popular music critic in existence?

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Pitchfork is the biggest excuse for indie noobs to ejaculate over other indie noobs, it's ridiculous. Hipster music is terrible, they should accept they have no standing in the real music community and move on.

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Pitchfork is the biggest excuse for indie noobs to ejaculate over other indie noobs, it's ridiculous. Hipster music is terrible, they should accept they have no standing in the real music community and move on.

 

Okay, fuck you, and fuck people like you. It's music. I'm sorry dude, but if you are actually going to judge the quality of a person on the kind of music that they listen to, then I really have nothing but contempt for you. Yeah, you and your music sit on a fucking pedestal and condescend on the scum of the music community. "Hipsters" are frequently making more original music on a day to day basis than anyone else. The music scene has changed completely because of these "hipsters." How are hipsters, indie noobs, and "hipster music" not part of the "real music community?" What the fuck is the real music community, anyways? Is that analogous to the world, perhaps? Because that would be like a certain type of people don't have rights or a "standing" in the world. Which is, of course, archaic thinking.

 

Oh, boo, they're different. Get a life, asshole. Fuck you. Seriously, go away. I'm done with you.

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Okay, fuck you, and fuck people like you. It's music. I'm sorry dude, but if you are actually going to judge the quality of a person on the kind of music that they listen to, then I really have nothing but contempt for you. Yeah, you and your music sit on a fucking pedestal and condescend on the scum of the music community. "Hipsters" are frequently making more original music on a day to day basis than anyone else. The music scene has changed completely because of these "hipsters." How are hipsters, indie noobs, and "hipster music" not part of the "real music community?" What the fuck is the real music community, anyways? Is that analogous to the world, perhaps? Because that would be like a certain type of people don't have rights or a "standing" in the world. Which is, of course, archaic thinking.


Oh, boo, they're different. Get a life, asshole. Fuck you. Seriously, go away. I'm done with you.

 

But you have to admit he's right though.

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Okay, fuck you, and fuck people like you. It's music. ..

 

I think i'm on Pbone's side on this one...

 

but first, i'm curious what everyone thinks of when they think of "hipster" music. I think i'm trying to break into that scene with my new band (we're using my songs, www.myspace.com/morejessenewkirk, and some of my co-writer's songs, www.myspace.com/blakeluleymusic). Is that all the abhorred "hipster music" everyone is talking about? Which bands are you talking about? Peter Bjorn and John? LCD Soundsystem? Y'all best not be putting down Sujfan Stevens.

 

Anyway, it's true that this type of music doesn't have much aggression to it nor does it have mind-blowing guitar playing, but let us all remember that there are just as many folks out there who think that virtuosic prog rock is meaningless psuedo-epic drivel, and those of us who do find meaning in such rock music don't like it when others put it down.

 

Sooo, i don't have any fashion sense, i've been in new york for a year and half and i don't have a social circle, so i'm not a scenester nor a hipster, but when i do go to concerts by new bands in Williamsburg, i hear some incredibly innovative music. Sometimes it can be avant garde rock or jazz by a bunch of Oberlin graduates playing symphonic instruments, or it can be more traditional rock. It's not always wonderful, but for the most part, it's people exploiting different aspects of music in really creative ways. Some exploit texture, others exploit lyrics, others exploit harmony, others exploit comedy even. For those focused on music though, they're usually doing things that haven't been heard before and things that you can't hear on the radio. A lot of times there are experiments that might not work, but at least they're trying. They just aren't experimenting much with seeing how many more notes per second they can play on the guitar.

 

If you head over to Greenwich village in Manhattan, you'll hear tons singer songwriters playing simple chords and more traditional stuff. They're playing for a yuppier crowd, and the hipsters, for the most part, won't touch it. I prefer the hipster scene to that one.

 

(Note: i do not think New York is the center of the music world, but there are an awful lot of musicians who, like me, moved here knowing they'd find other musicians here too. I just don't want anyone putting me down for assuming that New York is everything; a heck of a lot of the hipster music inspiring the Brooklyn musicians came from Canada... Sufjan came from Detroit! just like Ted Nugent!)

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Maybe a little bit, but I think the David Byrne influenced vocals on your stuff throws it off of that "I'm trying to introduce instant nostalgia by singing in a really sappy voice" vibe that a lot of hipster music has. Your friend's music is a bit more hipster.

 

I think it is kind of odd that you say you are "trying to break into that scene." Because it sounds like you want to play more for the audience. I just play what I like, and if my audience doesn't like it I'll get a new audience.

 

With alternative/indie/punk whatever you want to call it you're always treading a fine line. Personally I find a lot of newer indie to be utter garbage. But I do like some of it. I think TV on the Radio and Liars are both pretty good, and TVOTR's style isn't that far removed from stuff that I dislike. A lot of it comes down to vocals for me.

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"Hipsters" are frequently making more original music on a day to day basis than anyone else. The music scene has changed completely because of these "hipsters."

 

But has it changed for the better?

 

It's his fucking opinion as to whether or not he likes that style of music and if he hates it that strongly and uses it to judge other people's character, that's his right. How do you know music isn't the most important thing in his life, to the point where he could honestly say he isn't friends with people who don't share his musical tastes? He can hate whoever he wants for whatever reasons he wants, and I think hating pretentious assholes who listen to music he dislikes is a great reason.

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I personally think Sufjan Stevens is lyrically wonderful but musically dull, probably because he's steeped in Americana and he's one of the links in the chain marked 'hard-working American singer-songwriter'. All the Pitchfork dudes wanted their own Springsteen and they heralded Stevens as the one. Not bad but not worth the praise he's got.

 

In my opinion, the main problem with most musical audiences out there, be they the hipsters or the yuppier scene, is that they aren't there to witness an artistic event. Music isn't an art and a passion to them, it's an excuse for a night out with the girlfriend or a night spent dropping E and dancing. The hipsters are the ones who know who Ian Curtis is yet Peter Hook will be an unknown entity to them.

 

Hipsters aren't innovators. They're socialites first and artists second. There are few gigs now that I've really enjoyed attending because half the audience is there to drink, some to fuck and some to fight. That's fine, I like that too but it seems that more and more music is being dilluteed down to 'backing track for life' status. The online world has given everyone greater access to music but it's beyond question that the ease by which new music can be obtained has turned music into a commodity and a lot of the actual art has vanished. I'd liken it to going to a video store. Nobody goes to a video store and thinks 'Ah, time to select a new artistic experience for me' yet if you were to go to the opera, you'd have that feeling of being privilege to a real artistic occasion.

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But has it changed for the better?


It's his fucking opinion as to whether or not he likes that style of music and if he hates it that strongly and uses it to judge other people's character, that's his right. How do you know music isn't the most important thing in his life, to the point where he could honestly say he isn't friends with people who don't share his musical tastes? He can hate whoever he wants for whatever reasons he wants, and I think hating pretentious assholes who listen to music he dislikes is a great reason.

 

Hmmm... i strongly disagree with the thought that it's ok to hate whoever you want for whatever reason you want... i suppose that's mainly because my favorite bit in the bible when i was young was Matthew 5:21...

 

21"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brotherwill be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell...

 

Even though i've done an awful lot of study and prayer and reformed my beliefs from what was taught to me in my ultra conservative lutheran elementary school, i still think that hate in general is bad and it ought to be avoided. I suppose there shouldn't be a law against it, and i know i'm taking what you said a lot more seriously than what you meant, but still, the idea that one should dislike someone else or dislike a group of people because of their musical taste, that's absurd!

 

Europeans invaded continents without feeling guilty because they couldn't relate to the culture of the people of the land... how awful is it to refuse to empathize with someone just because some aspect of their culture is different from your own.

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Hmmm... i strongly disagree with the thought that it's ok to hate whoever you want for whatever reason you want... i suppose that's mainly because my favorite bit in the bible when i was young was Matthew 5:21...


21"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder,
and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother
will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,
' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell...


Even though i've done an awful lot of study and prayer and reformed my beliefs from what was taught to me in my ultra conservative lutheran elementary school, i still think that hate in general is bad and it ought to be avoided. I suppose there shouldn't be a law against it, and i know i'm taking what you said a lot more seriously than what you meant, but still, the idea that one should dislike someone else or dislike a group of people because of their musical taste, that's absurd!


Europeans invaded continents without feeling guilty because they couldn't relate to the culture of the people of the land... how awful is it to refuse to empathize with someone just because some aspect of their culture is different from your own.

 

:idk: He never judged their character (other than calling them noobs, which may be referring to their music tastes). He simply said they had no standing in the music community. I guess I can't really speak for him.

 

I, on the other hand, was judging their character. What can I say, that's my personality type. As a musician, I don't see anything that wrong with it. If you post here, music is obviously one of the most important things in your life. I think it's fair to say that someone's musical tastes are more important here than elsewhere. It's just like people who play sports: you often see the whole football team hanging out together. Why? Because they share a common interest. They don't necessarily hate non-football players on principle, but they know they are more likely to have likes and dislikes in common with their teammates. That's just how I feel about my music: I know there are cool people who listen to every genre, but I find more in common and therefore favor people who listen to my style of music. It's easier to connect with people who share my tastes, thus, they get favorable treatment. Is it right? I don't know, I guess I don't have a problem with it. Is it logical? Absolutely.

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I on the other hand, was judging their character. What can I say, that's my personality type. As a musician, I don't see anything that wrong with it. If you post here, music is obviously one of the most important things in your life. I think it's fair to say that someone's musical tastes are more important here than elsewhere. It's just like people who play sports: you often see the whole football team hanging out together. Why? Because they share a common interest. They don't necessarily hate non-football players on principle, but they know they are more likely to have likes and dislikes in common with their teammates. That's just how I feel about my music: I know there are cool people who listen to every genre, but I find more in common and therefore favor people who listen to my style of music. It's easier to connect with people who share my tastes, thus, they get favorable treatment. Is it right? I don't know, I guess I don't have a problem with it. Is it logical? Absolutely.

 

That makes perfect logical sense, and i feel the same way you do. I had taken offense to the idea that it's ok to hate whoever you want for whatever reason you want, and i was taking that very seriously. But certainly it's fine to relate to people with similar interests more than to others... and not everyone on this forum has to have the same feelings about musical genres and critics and such. I like this forum because there are so many different tastes and types... sometimes i just feel that it would be better to listen to someone else's music and attempt to understand what they like about it rather than putting it down because it doesn't accomplish what your music does.

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That makes perfect logical sense, and i feel the same way you do. I had taken offense to the idea that it's ok to hate whoever you want for whatever reason you want, and i was taking that very seriously. But certainly it's fine to relate to people with similar interests more than to others... and not everyone on this forum has to have the same feelings about musical genres and critics and such. I like this forum because there are so many different tastes and types... sometimes i just feel that it would be better to listen to someone else's music and attempt to understand what they like about it rather than putting it down because it doesn't accomplish what your music does.

 

First of all, hate was definitely the wrong word choice for my first post in this thread. I would never hate someone for their taste in music.

 

And I agree that one should try out different types of music...but it sounds like the guy pbone is pissed at already has listened to the hipster stuff and doesn't like it.

 

I totally agree with everything you said in this post, however. :thu:

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I personally think Sufjan Stevens is lyrically wonderful but musically dull...


In my opinion, the main problem with most musical audiences out there, be they the hipsters or the yuppier scene, is that they aren't there to witness an artistic event. Music isn't an art and a passion to them, it's an excuse for a night out with the girlfriend or a night spent dropping E and dancing. The hipsters are the ones who know who Ian Curtis is yet Peter Hook will be an unknown entity to them.


Hipsters aren't innovators. They're socialites first and artists second...yet if you were to go to the opera, you'd have that feeling of being privilege to a real artistic occasion.

 

Certainly Sufjan's lyrics are an enormous strength of his... apparently he spent 6 months in libraries researching Illinois before writing all those songs; but i really dig his music too. It's eclectic; it's a collage, like the White album. He borrows from genres of numerous classes. His most obvious art music inspiration on the states albums is Philip Glass's minimalism, but Sufjan morphs it into an enormous textural fanfare while the rhythms and harmonies remain minimalistic and repetitive (to my ears). On his Christmas albums, he's even got some bitonal stuff going on in a really beautiful way.

 

You make some good points about how people see a night on the town with music, especially your last point about the opera... however, whenever i go to the Blue Note in lower manhattan, i've seen plenty of yuppies and older socialite types drinking up. I suppose they might be true jazz fans, but as hard as i try, i can't help but be suspicious that many folks there are there because jazz is 'classy' music. That's certainly not how the musicians on stage see it. So if an audience isn't so much into the music, does that make the music worse? i thought john scofield was still pretty damn good.

 

Same goes for the folks on stage at a hipster club... if some people in the audience see the music on stage as background music, that doesn't mean that's how the musicians want it. They're very likely pouring their souls into it.

 

Furthermore, some of history's greatest music was made for the express purpose of pleasing an audience. Recall that the most remembered and most influential baroque and classical musicians all had to work to please patrons. Most of the operas we'll go see today, expecting an artistic experiences, were written for patrons. Does that mean that Bach and Mozart weren't able to innovate enormously and be incredibly expressive and artistic? of course not.

 

I think i said i might be trying to break into the hipster crowd mainly because the artists influencing the music i'm doing at the moment are hipsterish groups, so i feel like that audience is where i'll most like find patronage, people with similar taste as me, but shucks, i don't see what i'm doing as background music for people to drink to. I see it as a way to innovate harmonically and to express all my philosophies (like that business about not hating people). People can take it however they like.

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"Hipsters" are frequently making more original music on a day to day basis than anyone else. The music scene has changed completely because of these "hipsters."

 

I don't quite know about that man. A lot of "hipster" music is just a more bubblegummy poppy rehash of yesterday's art rock.

 

Franz Ferdinand = dumbed down Gang of Four

Interpol = dumbed down Joy Division

The Strokes = dumbed down CBGBs stuff

new Modest Mouse = dumbed down U2 and the Smiths mixed with dumbed down Polvo and Pixies

lots of stuff = dumbed down Radiohead

 

How's that progressive at all?

 

The only thing that has changed the music scene is the mass availability of free music and internet networking, making getting a fan base much easier.

 

In the 90's hipster was called alternative. There were bands trying to cash in on things that Nirvana and other bands had made popular at the beginning of the 90's, and there were bands that appreciated what happened in the 70's and 80's underground communities and wanted to move forward.

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Spectral Julian-

 

I agree that the bands you listed are sort of dumbed down versions of other bands, with the exception of modest mouse (considering that johnny marr is now in the band). Do you actually consider these to be hipster bands? When i think of hipster bands i think of xiu xiu, animal collective, aids wolf, melt bannana, shit robot, etc. I dont consider those bands to be hipster at all, because everyone listens to them.

 

Yes, a lot of times hipsters can be pretentious, but hipsters tend to innovate a lot as well. I think sometimes people take pretentia for someone being an asshole.

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Spectral Julian-


I agree that the bands you listed are sort of dumbed down versions of other bands, with the exception of modest mouse (considering that johnny marr is now in the band). Do you actually consider these to be hipster bands? When i think of hipster bands i think of xiu xiu, animal collective, aids wolf, melt bannana, shit robot, etc. I dont consider those bands to be hipster at all, because everyone listens to them.


 

+ !

 

I agree. I think we all might have different ideas of hipster bands, so i was asking before what people consider to be "hipster" music. Can you imagine being a die hard Metallica fan in 1988 and someone coming up to you and saying metal sucks because their idea of the world of metal is defined by Motley Crue?

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I'm giggling at SpectralJulian's notion of the dumbed-down clone bands. All those Radiohead clones... yep, and couldn't Aphex Twin say that Kid A was a dumbed-down version (ie. less sonically radical) of his own work? Radiohead are bastards for dumbing down techno and electronic music and bringing it to the pale white guitar-loving masses :D There are few things musically on Kid A that hadn't been done before. In terms of audio manipulation, there were new things courtesy of the Kaoss Pad mangling of Thom's vocals in 'Everything In The Right Place'. To me, it's an album that shows technological progression rather than musical progression.

 

So let's make some more pronouncements:

 

-Joy Division were shit, are shit and will always be shit. There is no more precious hipster band than Joy Division. It ticks all the right boxes: non-mainstream sound, non-mainstream singer but you know that there's many within their clan that don't actually like the albums. I can't stand their albums! I hated them when I was 16 some 14 years ago and my friends and I would meet up round each other's houses and play stacks of vinyl. Fuck, I should have liked them as I adored the Manic Street Preachers, especially the Holy Bible LP. But everything about Joy Division turned me off.

 

Ian Curtis is much like T.S. Eliot to me in that their prose is moribund and people elevate them upwards purely because they sing of death and how useless life is etc etc. It's no different to the emo kids saying how 'emotional' the emo singer is, everything Bowers complained about in the reviews above.

 

My own theory with Joy Division is that the music press decided that they needed to hype a new 'Old Icon'. Punk had been done to death, the Smiths revival was back in town so post-punk was the logical step. Death sells and so Curtis was ideal. Mark E Smith is a more important and vital contributor to the world of music than Ian Curtis ever was. So there.

 

So angry. Yes I hated 'Control' as well. I saw it a month ago and it was vile.

 

 

Sufjan is one of those people who I should like. I like minimalism, I like textured sound but he's never quite kicked in. Maybe one day. After all, it took me 27 years before I found I liked chilli.

 

With jazz, you find the real enthusiasts at the smaller concerts. Going to see a top headlining act is a social occasion. There are people just there because of the event. You see it habitually in sport with the corporate boxes, men and women in expensive places being served wine and beer and food on the company expense account, with barely a glance at the sport. With the posher element, somethign like jazz gets lumped in with opera as an activity that's for the wealthy, the intellectual, the well-heeled. Obviously it's bullshit. The last opera I saw cost me less than $20 and the production was great, full orchestra, stupendous vocals, set design, everything. I enjoy going to the opera now more than most gigs because the opera is an artistic experience. the creativity, the music, the whole affair... it possesses more artistic expression than any number of dudes with guitars hoping to score a couple of lines and some pussy.

 

The audience not being into the music doesn't make the music worse but it does mean you have bands and musicians tailoring their music for that social dancing denominator. You could actually make the case that, guitar music has been influenced by techno and dance records in that there's more guitar music now being made in the same manner of dance records ie. music to dance to socialise to. There are still musicians out there making the music that they want to make and audience be damned but there's certainly a rise in the number of musicians out there tailoring their sound for a particular demographic, in this case the hipster socialites.

 

I agree that composers in the past were producing music for patrons, not least members of the aristocracy etc. That patronage also gave the composer the freedom in which to innovate. It's like Galileo in Bertolt Brecht's Life of Galileo: he's working for the Church, working for shit money and it frustrates him but I think it's the procurator who reminds him that where he is living has a far more liberal attitude than other areas of Italy and therefore Galileo has more freedom to explore his ideas. if Bach, for instance, was commisioned to write something for a patron, it's the classical equivalent of Tin Pan Alley, bang something out that Bach knows the commoners will like, get the patron happy and on his side and then be able to have the freedom to swan off into his own field of sonic innovation. There's no problem with audience pleasing. It does become a problem when it feels like two out of three new bands out there are audience pleasers first and foremost and who then don't go on and innovate.

 

If you don't see your music as backgorund music for people to hoover up booze and drugs too, that's great. That's the attitude I'd like more musicians to have. I say this as a man who has no time for his own music until November due to his double degree course and who will be back playing covers soon. I know abotu pleasing an audience. Every time I have to play fucking Wonderwall, I know about pleasing an audience and pandering to what they want. It's why I then cheer up when we get to cover some wierd shit and the audience turn and look at us with disgust :)

 

And remember kids, critics suck cock because they talk endlessly despite not having an audience. Just like I have done here so, in essence, I suck pole :thu:

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:idk:
He never judged their character (other than calling them noobs, which may be referring to their music tastes). He simply said they had no standing in the music community. I guess I can't really speak for him.


I, on the other hand, was judging their character. What can I say, that's my personality type. As a musician, I don't see anything that wrong with it. If you post here, music is obviously one of the most important things in your life. I think it's fair to say that someone's musical tastes are more important here than elsewhere. It's just like people who play sports: you often see the whole football team hanging out together. Why? Because they share a common interest. They don't necessarily hate non-football players on principle, but they know they are more likely to have likes and dislikes in common with their teammates. That's just how I feel about my music: I know there are cool people who listen to every genre, but I find more in common and therefore favor people who listen to my style of music. It's easier to connect with people who share my tastes, thus, they get favorable treatment. Is it right? I don't know, I guess I don't have a problem with it. Is it logical? Absolutely.

 

The situations you are comparing are different. Yes, the people inside your genre will have similar interests. I agree with that. I have used that argument before. It's valid. However, connecting with people who share your tastes and condescending on those who don't are two different things.

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I see your point, and perhaps he and I could have been more tactful. I'm not going to launch into some huge debate because this entire topic is very subjective and it won't go anywhere. Perhaps it is better to say "I don't like that music" rather than, "That music is lame and so are people who listen to it" and I'll try to remember that.

 

Btw, I'm not sure if exploring/playing new instruments qualifies as better. It's more diverse, yes, the musicians might even be more taleneted (very subjective), but I don't think it's better. Just different.

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I see your point, and perhaps he and I could have been more tactful. I'm not going to launch into some huge debate because this entire topic is very subjective and it won't go anywhere. Perhaps it is better to say "I don't like that music" rather than, "That music is lame and so are people who listen to it" and I'll try to remember that.


Btw, I'm not sure if exploring/playing new instruments qualifies as better. It's more diverse, yes, the musicians might even be more taleneted (very subjective), but I don't think it's better. Just different.

 

Yes, absolutely. The whole music debate always boils down to subjectivity. Word.

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Yes, absolutely. The whole music debate always boils down to subjectivity. Word.

 

That's progress!

 

I've enjoyed following this thread, and it seems like many of us are on the same wavelength. I disagree with some of what was said about Radiohead up above and I'd like to propose the idea that even innovation is subjective... many 20th century musicians innovated by inventing new non-12-tone scales, but musical cultures around the world have had non-12-tone scales throughout their existence. However, bringing a sound to people who aren't used to hearing it and using that sound to evoke or illustrate emotions that are familiar to that new audience, i think that can be innovative. So Kid A used a bunch of sounds that had already been done, but they put those sounds under Thom Yorke's lyrics and voice and introduced those sounds to a new audience; i think that can be pretty bold.

 

I love Radiohead's lyrics, and as a 14-year-old Ok Computer blew my mind and endeared me to them forever. So thanks to my positionality, whenever i see them, i get chills... NPR listeners just voted In Rainbows the best record of 2007, and i think those listeners are probably similar to me in demographics...

 

hmmm... i've tried starting a new paragraph a few times, but i think i've lost my train of thought... and i have been at work all day, i should be working... but it's a slow day, and this is a fun thread.

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Spectral Julian-


I agree that the bands you listed are sort of dumbed down versions of other bands, with the exception of modest mouse (considering that johnny marr is now in the band). Do you actually consider these to be hipster bands? When i think of hipster bands i think of xiu xiu, animal collective, aids wolf, melt bannana, shit robot, etc. I dont consider those bands to be hipster at all, because everyone listens to them.


Yes, a lot of times hipsters can be pretentious, but hipsters tend to innovate a lot as well. I think sometimes people take pretentia for someone being an asshole.

 

Well I think there is a distinct difference between being hipster and being hip. It all really goes down to the old argument of which bands are punk and which bands are poseurs.

 

Generally I draw the difference at how the band approaches music.

 

It is about corporate exploitation of the underground that in the 90s was known as indie rock, in the 80s as alternative or hardcore in some circles, in the 70s was known as punk, and in the 60s was known as garage, and in the 50's was known as rock and roll.

 

When Modest Mouse went major they completely fell into the world of corporate exploitation of subculture. Adding Johnny Marr totally solidifies that.

 

Major labels and some indie labels care about targeting audiences, and IMO that is what really kills music in my opinion, and why MTV is the devil.

 

As far as I can tell Xiu Xiu and Melt Banana are both bands that work on the principle of Ars Gratia Artis. And it translates in their music.

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