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Old 06-01-2021, 02:39 AM   #221
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I also don't have a high opinion of Pitchfork, though I have to admit I haven't been following it for a while now. It's not really their rating with decimal point precision but rather their rationale (or lack thereof) for the score they give. And this ties in with another part of their reviews that makes me dislike them. I think their reviews are regularly some pretentious psychoblabbering where they want to sound interesting and very hip to the indie.
In contrast with bono_212 I consider popular music journalism already quite mature as it has been around for 60+ years or so. And in that time there have been many good music journalists who could give interesting and to the point reviews. And that is also a quality, to give an accurate assessment of an album in a couple of paragraphs instead of going on for 3 pages.

But I don't think I'm their demographic so they probably don't care. And neither do I.
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Old 06-01-2021, 02:52 AM   #222
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I have absolutely no clue how you think “the comparison is moot from the start” regarding Eminem and Kanye West. We aren’t talking about metacritic. We are talking about pitchfork. Specifically, how Pitchfork follows the social trend (that I personally question) of labeling Kanye West as a “genius” whilst smugly advertising his contemporary artists of equal or greater achievement as “the worst.” Without coincidence, the same type of artists that a specific subgroup of people happily shit on.

The same stereotype to say “I don’t like Kanye West as a person but you cannot deny he is a musical genius!” This type of logic simplistically brands this guy as somehow godly, sweeps all criticisms under the rug, and is a learned behavior. I’m not out there saying you or anyone here doesn’t justifiably love him, but it’s cult-like avenues like pitchfork that’s perpetuate this logic of somehow “owed respect” towards his music that he is no more or less deserving of than his successful contemporaries. The humorous joke about this all is that I can literally Google the phrase “Kanye West musical genius” and I’m going to get a bazillion articles and Reddit threads flooding my results... because the man himself is an egotistical cog perpetuating the very notion through self declaration.
I can't believe I'm sitting here defending Pitchfork on a dead U2 forum, but the Eminem comparison is a strange one, because Pitchfork is hardly the only outlet/critic to think that Eminem has gone to complete shit over the past 10-15 years. I think it, all my mates who also loved Eminem growing up think it, and heaps of other outlets and critics think it as well. I also think it's been a really, really long time since Pitchfork heralded Kanye as a genius who is immune to any criticism, they've been critically examining him for some time. I've noticed a significant shift in the attitude of pretty much anyone into music towards Kanye since 2016, and I was one of the very people you're talking about. He was never immune to criticism, I just think it was fun to proclaim he was a genius, and he made a lot of incredible music and mastered the art of album hype. I think he's been a fucking prick for the last five years and showed little signs of reproach for some of his behaviour, and he's surrounded by yes men who don't appear to have his best interests at heart.

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I don’t know about you, but circa 2010 I very much so grew up through the “Coldplay were cool when they were indie but now they’re on the radio so I hate them, Arcade Fire as the greatest future thing that I will hate later, I love Radiohead because they’re the obscure big British act and anti-Coldplay occupying similar origins, go team Okkervil River I bet you’ve never heard of them, let me throw obscure genres like lo-fi alt buzz band at you so I sound super in the know and different” period in music.
Mylo Xyloto, the album that marked that shift towards the radio, got a good review from them, better than the one they gave Viva La Vida, which is their last great album in my eyes. And they are releasing a lot of lazy radio EDM hit crap of late (though I thought Everyday Life was excellent, which also got a reasonable review). It would be more disingenous to write a review that's like "a lot of people like this so therefore it's good and has value and it doesn't matter what our opinion is" imo.

It feels like you're projecting anger onto one website and I just reckon there's better uses of your time and energy.
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Old 06-01-2021, 03:28 AM   #223
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This is veering nicely with the Naomi Osaka discussion.



I feel like you're looking at it in black and white terms, when it's pretty grey. I read Pitchfork reasonably regularly and I can't think of a time they've done "Perez Hilton bullshit". Which favourite artist are you referring to? I'll go and look at the review.

I also think that it's not really feasible to include a disclaimer in every critical review like "this music has value and they have a fanbase so take what we say with a grain of salt". That should be built into the readers. What do you want them to do? If we get to a place where we can't say "man the new Eminem album fucking sucks ass" without also having to write "but I acknowledge that it has value and the fans who like it are correct to do so", then it kinda makes art criticism moot, which is not where we wanna go I don't think.

I get the hurt for a website like Pitchfork criticising something you love, I really do. But there has to be an assumption when we read any criticism that it is an opinion. An informed one, based on study and all the things Ashley and Gump mentioned, but an opinion nonetheless, and the onus is on the reader to take it or leave it.


You’re right that I’m viewing Pitchfork as black and white, but not journalism of music. For reasons established in my last post, I view their entire setup as tiresome and predictable. Pitchfork from its inception was too cool for lamestream music, and adapted with the same audience who doubly ironically fell in love with Taylor Swift and Kanye West through the 2010s.

Which, at this point, I should stop and say I think you’ve misunderstood my utter distaste for Pitchfork as being solely personal. Yes, they shit on my favorite band pretty hardcore, but it’s my latter paragraph that is far more consequential to my opinion of the website. As someone who unapologetically loves the music I love, my coming of age was strongly tied to very heavy involvement in said music. None of us here are causal U2 fans, and from the year 2008-2015 I would say that none of the things I listened to were casual. I unintentionally danced a very delicate line between some very socially cool and very socially uncool music, U2 included as I’m sure you can all imagine.

By age 16 I’d had family members encouraging me to pick a new favorite band because anything-but-U2. By 18, I was the one friend in the indie musical circles who openly opted for Coldgay instead of Radiohead. My admiration for bands like blink 182 were tried for simplicity. By 19, I was obsessing over the Arcade-Fire-wannabes-of-an-otherwise scene-respected-but-not-adored band by the name of The Airborne Toxic Event. But I was only lukewarm on the likes of The XX, Crystal Castles, Sleigh Bells, Okkervil River, Arcade Fire, and no, I didn’t like and still do not like Radiohead. Genuinely though, I can tell you that I was sufficiently bullied through those years for only half way fitting in, almost as though my intense love for my music was laughably misplaced in the wrong bands because some websites... gimmicks... like pitchfork set a precedent amongst the scene for what is “cool.”

The band in question that they wrote an atrocious review for is The Airborne Toxic Event. Coincidentally, their lead singer is in fact a musical journalist. I actually sort of got to know that band informally, because their shows were quite small and they came to Florida a lot. The idea of reducing their debut album to horse dung, delivered in the same way I might post a rant on a web forum - or worse, some diatribe against an unsuspecting victim so as to affirmatively tell them to take their lunch and sit somewhere else - it’s lame. It’s also the heart of what Pitchfork founded themselves on during the 2000s. Here’s that review: https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums...e-toxic-event/ - and to humor you, the no name band with a debut album barely a month out and a dehumanizing review in hand wrote a response: https://theairbornetoxicevent.com/ne...xic-event.html

I disagree that pitchfork is just some art criticism. That’s not what that place was founded on. It’s in the name.
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Old 06-01-2021, 03:37 AM   #224
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In contrast with bono_212 I consider popular music journalism already quite mature as it has been around for 60+ years or so. And in that time there have been many good music journalists who could give interesting and to the point reviews. And that is also a quality, to give an accurate assessment of an album in a couple of paragraphs instead of going on for 3 pages.

But I don't think I'm their demographic so they probably don't care. And neither do I.

I actually agree with you, but I was trying to go with the idea that there isn't really a music journalism degree at most universities, whereas you can study film theory, art history, etc. and gain a nearly-tangible ability to claim yourself to be knowledgeable in those fields. I don't think that's necessary, but for the argument being made here that everyone's opinion comes from a level playing-field, I was trying to give the correct level of skepticism to popular music journalism, since it's newer and that curriculum doesn't quite exist yet (or at least it didn't when I was in University, maybe it does now).
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Old 06-01-2021, 03:44 AM   #225
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I can't believe I'm sitting here defending Pitchfork on a dead U2 forum, but the Eminem comparison is a strange one, because Pitchfork is hardly the only outlet/critic to think that Eminem has gone to complete shit over the past 10-15 years. I think it, all my mates who also loved Eminem growing up think it, and heaps of other outlets and critics think it as well. I also think it's been a really, really long time since Pitchfork heralded Kanye as a genius who is immune to any criticism, they've been critically examining him for some time. I've noticed a significant shift in the attitude of pretty much anyone into music towards Kanye since 2016, and I was one of the very people you're talking about. He was never immune to criticism, I just think it was fun to proclaim he was a genius, and he made a lot of incredible music and mastered the art of album hype. I think he's been a fucking prick for the last five years and showed little signs of reproach for some of his behaviour, and he's surrounded by yes men who don't appear to have his best interests at heart.







Mylo Xyloto, the album that marked that shift towards the radio, got a good review from them, better than the one they gave Viva La Vida, which is their last great album in my eyes. And they are releasing a lot of lazy radio EDM hit crap of late (though I thought Everyday Life was excellent, which also got a reasonable review). It would be more disingenous to write a review that's like "a lot of people like this so therefore it's good and has value and it doesn't matter what our opinion is" imo.



It feels like you're projecting anger onto one website and I just reckon there's better uses of your time and energy.


I’ve merely used the Eminem comparison as devil’s advocacy. As stated before, I do not like him or his music. If you think his music has declined, that’s your opinion. But every single one of his albums still go #1 to this day. He still produces shit that runs up the charts despite his abrasive and angry voice. Kanye West has the same criticisms, the same achievements, and you can swap abrasive and angry with egotistical. Yet somehow, Pitchfork is able to tell the difference - they, as professionals, know that Eminem is one of the top 5 worst ever mainstream artists, while Kanye West is up there with the Beatles. Why? Because they know their reader.

I’m not asking for some populist disclaimer. I believe my last post said enough though. I am “projecting” my anger on the website because they deserve it. They stand for everything I hate.
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Old 06-01-2021, 04:04 AM   #226
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OK, so I finally went back to see why Eminem was even being brought up in this conversation and now I get it.

Have you actually read any of Pitchfork's Eminem reviews? First of all, the average score is being brought down by Recovery's 2.8 score, by far the lowest they ever gave Eminem. They gave MMLP & Eminem Show over 9s and every review since then has basically been them lamenting that Eminem seems to not be able to figure out what type of artist he wants to be. Every review is complementary of him, his flow and his place in the pantheon of Rap. They constantly acknowledge that he has achieved just about everything anyone in music could ever want to achieve. They very rarely shit on him for shitting on him's sake, and mostly just talk about how much of his career since the debut trio of album's has been meandering.

It's an aggregate list, they didn't actually say anything ABOUT Eminem, they just factually said that their average reviews for his albums equal a 5.9.
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Old 06-01-2021, 04:15 AM   #227
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One last thought and then I'm done, but speaking anecdotally, I know many people who continue to buy Eminem's albums just because they like Eminem (similar to us and U2), but who openly acknowledge the albums just aren't very good. The thing is that there's always enough good stuff on there to make owning them worthwhile, because they love him, so the album's will continue to sell unless he does something extremely controversial OR he doesn't have at least one hit on there.
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Old 06-01-2021, 04:18 AM   #228
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Pitchfork was being extremely generous giving Encore a 6.5. That's more of a .65.

But, as iYup said earlier, Pitchfork only attacks low hanging fruit. And Eminem was not low hanging fruit back then. He was a reasonably well regarded artist with an enormous following. These days, he just has the following, but much of it does not slot in with the demographic that Pitchfork covets, so he's fair game.

But Pitchfork has not always hated Eminem. Not at all. In fact, they gave him the benefit of the doubt for a long time. They're just followers is all.
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Old 06-01-2021, 04:24 AM   #229
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Wait, they gave Marshall Mathers LP 2 a lower score than Revival? That's like giving Songs of Innocence a lower score than a recording of Bono shitting onto a microphone. Like yeah SOI isn't very good but come on now.
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Old 06-01-2021, 07:48 AM   #230
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Here's a piece on how artists react to getting a zero from Pitchfork:

https://slate.com/culture/2018/05/wh...-a-career.html
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Old 06-01-2021, 11:03 AM   #231
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Here's a piece on how artists react to getting a zero from Pitchfork:

https://slate.com/culture/2018/05/wh...-a-career.html
That's a pretty good piece, even being mostly full of rejection.

Also thanks for reminding me that in the midst of this conversation, I do truly hate Pitchfork.
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Old 06-01-2021, 11:28 AM   #232
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How have you managed to maze your way around condemnation of my perspective but agreement with everything that agrees with me befuddles me.
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Old 06-01-2021, 12:26 PM   #233
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If I'm reading you right, you dislike Pitchfork because it reminds you of or is emblematic of a kind of cultural bullying you experienced. That makes sense.

That said, and I don't mean to sound sanctimonious with this, there also has to be a point where we own what we like and don't bother ourselves with those who don't like it. I feel like everyone on this forum has a few traditionally "uncool" acts they are vocal about liking. Just look how often Steely Dan comes up around here.
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Old 06-01-2021, 01:04 PM   #234
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I don’t know about you, but circa 2010 I very much so grew up through the “Coldplay were cool when they were indie but now they’re on the radio so I hate them


Coldplay were never indie. They were on a major label and on the radio from the beginning and had a gigantic hit with their first single, which is arguably still their most popular song.

Nice try.

I had the first album and liked it ok but to me they weren’t any better than Travis. Then when I first heard Clocks I strongly disliked it and had no interest in anything they were doing at that point.
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Old 06-01-2021, 01:08 PM   #235
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Random Music Talk CXXIX: Gump attends a concert

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If I'm reading you right, you dislike Pitchfork because it reminds you of or is emblematic of a kind of cultural bullying you experienced. That makes sense.

That said, and I don't mean to sound sanctimonious with this, there also has to be a point where we own what we like and don't bother ourselves with those who don't like it. I feel like everyone on this forum has a few traditionally "uncool" acts they are vocal about liking. Just look how often Steely Dan comes up around here.


Cultural bullying is a good way to put it. Like I said though, I’m exhausted by the cliché. It’s like 10-15 years in waiting. Indie/alternative fan bites back at the lamestream haters for developing their own lamestream. My opinion of Pitchfork doesn’t exist by itself. Certainly they’ve been subjected to this same type of criticism in the past. Consider the blistering review to be blowing off steam - Kanye West is not a genius, I do not respect him, and I have no scene-based ironic obligation to respect him. He’s a tool. Pitchfork is like a high school for music. It was cool then for some, but the world should have moved past its juvenile schtick long time ago.

I do own what I like. I appreciate that you have taken a neutral assessment here, but I think where I diverge with you is still the concept that there should be “traditionally uncool” acts. What about Steely Dan makes it “uncool”? By that measure, nobody that has ever posted on this website is “cool.” It’s a freaking U2 forum, they haven’t been “cool” since before Al Gore invented the internet. We are a collective of the lamest most uncool music fans that still have a web forum. I personally am more than okay with that, but you’ll find that I will always be militant against someone trying to establish what it means to be cool.
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Old 06-01-2021, 01:16 PM   #236
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Coldplay were never indie. They were on a major label and on the radio from the beginning and had a gigantic hit with their first single, which is arguably still their most popular song.

Nice try.

I had the first album and liked it ok but to me they weren’t any better than Travis. Then when I first heard Clocks I strongly disliked it and had no interest in anything they were doing at that point.


We get it, your indie cred is v high. No, they were not an indie band. I agree.

Regardless of how you define whether or not a band is indie, Coldplay have had the de facto label historically as having been an indie band or amongst the scene with Parachutes. The concept of saying similar statements to my sarcastic statement (splice together some combination of Coldplay, indie, Parachutes, “before they were famous”) is socially observable in the late 2000s and early 2010s, in my opinion.
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Old 06-01-2021, 05:45 PM   #237
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The irony is that Pitchfork is not remotely an indie stalwart these days, in that they go really hard for uber popular artists that were overlooked in the indie scene for a long time.

Artists included in their top 20 of the 2010s: Frank Ocean (twice), Kanye (twice), Beyoncé, Kendrick (twice), Solange, Robyn, Rihanna, Drake, Lorde, Lana. The only artists I'd call indie to make into the top 20 were Sufjan Stevens and Joanna Newson. Maybe Grimes and Vampire Weekend if you want to be generous and focus on their origins. Only Newson is remotely obscure from this group.
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Old 06-01-2021, 05:56 PM   #238
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The irony is that Pitchfork is not remotely an indie stalwart these days, in that they go really hard for uber popular artists that were overlooked in the indie scene for a long time.

Artists included in their top 20 of the 2010s: Frank Ocean (twice), Kanye (twice), Beyoncé, Kendrick (twice), Solange, Robyn, Rihanna, Drake, Lorde, Lana. The only artists I'd call indie to make into the top 20 were Sufjan Stevens and Joanna Newson. Maybe Grimes and Vampire Weekend if you want to be generous and focus on their origins. Only Newson is remotely obscure from this group.

Which is what LM called out about them from the start. They once were an indie stalwart, but they were bought by fucking Condé Nast of all things. Those days are long behind us.
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Old 06-01-2021, 06:09 PM   #239
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The stuff they actively celebrate on year-end lists etc tends to be mainstream. The undercard reviews and even a good deal of the "best new music" albums are pretty deep cuts, I would say.
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Old 06-01-2021, 06:19 PM   #240
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I read that Airborne Toxic Event review and they left that style a long time ago. The site was never going to grow if they remained a niche review site that only reviewed indie darlings and shat on artists in that way.

LN7, I feel you'd be a lot happier if you're able to let go of some of your (totally understandable) anger and pain in regards to being bullied for your love for music. It doesn't really seem to bring you much benefit.

I've copped shit for half my life for my U2 fandom. And a long time ago I decided to stop caring what other people thought about them, or thought about my fandom, and it's meant I've been able to be an obsessive in peace. I went on a fucking national quiz show (and won!) showing off my nerdy love for U2. No one likes them, all my friends actively dislike them and hang shit on them, and I just don't care. If I took it personally every time someone hung shit on them, whether it's a friend or Pitchfork or someone on Twitter, I'd be miserable.
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