Friday, September 25, 2009

adventures in BLAWG

the other week i put the word "kids" at the front of a post title. a comment was left, our first since july. and who left this comment? some fucking robot selling kids music, or some wierd virus thing. don't click through. it's just a robot.

in other news, my most recent post was slamming a news article written by one tom breihan. i found him transparently stupid.

well today he's reviewing a terrible album from a terrible new band called "Girls". first of all, even though he seems to respect the frontman, the fact that his mother was a prostitute is actually placed in the fourth sentence of the review, proving once and for all that press packets are humane. of course, like it's a wonderful life or jerry macgwire (spelled correctly in honor of Mark), there's a happy ending. "Then a local millionaire took Owens under his wing, and Owens moved to San Francisco." and now he has an adopted millionaire father and he's in a hip band. the end. some stories really are tragic, no?

now, if christopher owen, of Girls, did indeed have a very hard childhood, then i imagine it wasn't fun for him. but a little greusome is reading a writer idolize tragedy and poverty in this way, when only three days ago he was waxing nostalgic about his own hazy, dreamy youth in the suburbs. "You don't need to know Owens' story to intuit that there's something going on here. When I saw the band play SXSW, knowing nothing about them beyond their compulsively listenable 'Hellhole Ratrace' single, I wrote that the band's music sounds 'like the work of one deeply weird and possibly sad person.'" so being weird and sad, having a mother forced into prostitution... GOOD! that's COOL to us!

but there's something else going on here. watch: "It's the sort of story that can overwhelm a band so completely that you never really hear their music; you only hear the story. So it's a tribute to Album that you don't need to know one word of that first paragraph to hear it as what it is: a dizzily powerful piece of work." see? we love your tragic upbringing, but we don't want to think about it, and certainly don't want to hear YOU singing about it. write about your break-ups instead, that way your presonal tragedy can be reduced to a preamble, so college graduates who only think gutter punks are cool because they've never had to smell them will go out and buy your album.

tragedy's generally cool, but kind of too sincere for our age. we'd rather a tragic figure sing about really banal shit. that way we can identify with you AND feel superior at the same time.

the big problem is, as always, this band sucks. their music sucks. i mean, you've got to be fucking kidding me. to my ears, it isn't even remotely interesting. they're dull, forgettable, dime-a-dozen pop songs. familiar progressions soaked in reverb, and a white singer whose (totally authentic) self-loathing has taken a curiously audacious and public turn. i've seen this movie before and it sucks.

but what do i know? as with Real Estate a few days ago, Girls is "getting a ton of blog love." more and more, i've come to fully expect such bands to be terrible, allowing for the possibility of a shocking exception or two. and i think i know the reason why these bands always suck: because music blog culture is the full marriage of the music industry and junior-high school popularity politics (i.e. an emotionally stunted mob makes snap decisions about how good a person is, and that person may become royalty, until he does something that confuses or dissapoints the mob, at which point he has to change schools or live out his education as a parriah.)

and bands like this age about as well as the popular kid has.

finally, the phrase "compulsively listenable" should probably have it's eyes plucked out by grape scissors. meaning-wise, it's precisely as dumb as bud light's "drinkability" campaign.

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