Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Generic Hipper-Than-Thou Album Review

Disclaimer: There are a couple of cusswords ahead. One of them is part of a band name. If the prospect offends you, don't read on. But this is what hipper-than-thou people do.

This is from a review that appears today on a well-known music website that shall remain nameless:

Under the up-with-people-and-feelings sermon Tom Greenwood and whoever comprised Jackie-O Motherfucker that week gnash on electric guitars and set Slinkys down staircases. The whole thing feels like that episode from "Funkadelic: The Sitcom" where Eddie Hazel hung out with Swamp Thing against his parents' wishes.

This is an album review. Anybody know what the album sounds like? I surely don't. If I found that in a book, I'd throw it across a room. But it's on my laptop, and laptops cost a lot of money, so I'm not going to throw it.

Today's koan: what is the sound of one Slinky on the stairs? I am also apparently of the generation who missed Eddie Hazel, whoever he or she might be, and it's unclear whether Eddie was part of Funkadelic (a band I do remember) or a television sitcom star. And I definitely missed out on Swamp Thing, who would probably be against my wishes as well.

I get so tired of reading reviews like this, and the whole hipper-than-thou smugness and winking cultural references that nobody understands except the reviewer. And so, in the interest of saving everybody time, I've tried to put together an all-purpose hipper-than-thou album review. The fact that it never gets around to discussing the music is irrelevant. In fact, that's the point. But I've tried this out on several musical genres ranging from techno to bluegrass, and it works. Feel free to fill in the blanks and submit it to your favorite musical website. You too can be part of a fun and profitable home business, and receive free CDs in the mail.

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[ArtistName]
[AlbumName]
[LabelName]

[ArtistName], like the towering Romanian Dadaists Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco, [has/have] always created works that are both invitingly open and shrounded in mystery. [AlbumName] is no exception.

[AlbumName], in fact, reminds me of the time – let’s call it The Post-College But Pre-Grad School Years – when I fell in love with M. Of course it didn’t – it couldn’t – last. You can blame it on our socioeconomic differences, our parents’ absolutely rigid and totally indefensible insistence that at least one of us had to earn an income, the silly squabbles over where we would live (New York for me and Papua New Guinea for her; but look, one can study seashell currency just about anywhere). God knows I’ve blamed it on all those things. In any event, it was too much to overcome. But, of course, Tzara had his own woes with Greta Knutson. I’m sure he would understand. And [ArtistName] does as well.

You can tell because [he/she/they] convey an almost telepathic empathy in these songs. I listen to them and think, “You know, [ArtistName] really [get/gets] it. It’s like [he/she/they] have walked a mile in my Kurt Geiger Solea Storm pumps with the stacked conical heels, the ones I just bought two weeks ago, and which are already scuffed.” Nothing lasts. You can’t depend on anything or anyone.

[AlbumName] is the kind of album that reminds me of the smell of freshly mown grass on a motherfuckingly bright late spring morning, the kind of day when you’re 12 years old, and the school year is almost over, and you’ve just beaten the shit out of Bobby Morrison because he kept calling your sister a ho, and life is just about perfect except for the blood on your shirt. It’s that good, and that bad. It is beautiful and wondrous, tawdry and tragic, much like my life. I both love and hate my life, and I love and hate [AlbumName] as well. It’s all in the ambiguity.

6 comments:

Trip McClatchy said...

Hey - what happened to the kinder, gentler Andy you aspired to a scant month ago?

Hilarious stuff though - generic album reviews (why can't reviewers just tell us if a disc is worth our hard earned $$), Shelby Lynne and Bacharach.

Although I only half agree on Bacharach - some of his songs are great pop songs, some cloying fluff, some are both.

Hope you're feeling better.

Ruben said...

I recently discovered your blog, which I must say I have been enjoying with the same exuberance I exhibited on my thirteenth birthday when my dad gave a Schwinn Orange Crate bicycle, which was the first one in the neighborhood and brought about the kind of envy I had spent years looking for from my peers. And quickly my exuberance turned to snugness, which of course I could justify after being subjected to year after pathetically shitty year of being the last guy picked when we divided into teams for baseball or football. Multiple sessions of costly therapy would help to resolve these issues, but not before I discovered an escape through reading, through losing myself in a well written story, or even a well written blog like yours.

Your writing appeals to me like a modern-day Chaucer (in his English period - definitely not his French period, which I found about as pretentious as Jane Siberry changing her name to "Issa"... a Canadian by any other name, etc.). But of course, given the oppressive education system under which I grew up, where we were forced to wallow in the writings of vacuous bastards like Dickens and Poe, which were about as nurturing to me as a barber shop for a Devon Rex, instead of being enlightened by Treatise on the Astrolabe, it should be no wonder that I would be as stoked about your blogging as I was when Asteroid 2984 was finally dedicated. And maybe even a little bit more.


In other words....


I recently found your blog and I've been enjoying your writing... keep it up.

Ruben

Natsthename said...

Hey, how can that be generic without the use of the word "seminal?"

On another subject, I can't believe I didn't have a heart attack when I looked down at my new Paste in the mail today...an article about Michael Jackson?

I'm glad you didn't write the article.

Joel said...

Well done, Andy. You nailed it.

allison said...

This made me laugh out loud.

I was just rereading your amazing article in last month's Paste, did a search and was excited to find this blog. I love your writing style; keep it up!

Brian Sullivan said...

Andy, wonderful post. Now we know how Paste does it reviews. Wait...isn't that giving out a trade secret?

Brian