Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Literary rock critics

I'm totally on board with this from TMFTML. I've got the perfect McSweeney's example, too. Let me count the ways I hate P. Lisa R.H. Mayor (gotta be a jokey pseudonym) and her indolent essay on The Beta Band's Inner Meet Me. Full disclosure: Inner Meet Me is one of my favorite songs. So, childish and solipsistic as I admittedly am, I take this piece as nothing less than a personal assault. I'll grant that the Betas are extremely difficult to describe, but Jesus, Nutella?

Team Shake member Jon once asked me how many times music had saved my life. The answer: a number of times, actually. Note I said saved, not just changed. So unless these literary wankers can answer similarly, I'd like to request that they kindly shut up and crawl back to the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Inner Meet Me (mp3) - The Beta Band

More retrospective Beta Band in a couple weeks.


Blogger AG said...

you pegged it! nutella??? the writer of that essay needs to:

a) get laid
b) smoke some good weed
c) get a life

i haven't done either of the first two for a looong time, but my music writing does not compare lyrics to eating nutella. oy veh!

12:10 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

Amy, perhaps you were just trying to stir the pot here, but I'll go on record as someone who likes much of what comes out of the McSweeney's camp (this remains one of my favorite pieces about the intersection of personaility and technology online). However, I have to say that I'd as soon go to them for any engaging music criticism as I would the New Yorker or any other lit mag. It's going to fail you in a predictable, insular way, but isn't ripping that insularity like getting pissed at a paper tiger for vanishing after you've set it on fire? Why even care? I mean, if I expect Sasha at the NYer to tell me something I need to know about Slint, I need to turn in my decoder ring.

A better target, in my opinion, is the Arts section at the NYT which has resources and critical license to burn and they seemingly can't help but put out vapid crap every day of the week.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

AG: Agree with a and c, though I think our pal Lisa may be hitting b just a little too hard already.

Jon: Me stir the pot? Of course I don't reject everything McSweeney's does. Your link is, in fact, clever and witty. But I'm irritated by the ticks and mannerisms and general aura of preciousness (what the fuck is wrong with contractions anyway?) and the ain't-we-cool-now-we're-indie-rock-critics thing. That BB piece is awful by any standard. I stand by that. I can't really comment on the NYT arts section--I usually go there for the news news. But I can imagine. My point, though, is that if you write about music you should actually care about your subject. There should be some level of personal commitment. It shouldn't just be a creative writing exercise. Ya know?

7:48 PM  

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