A D Jameson & the Avant-Garde

I. I’ve been writing exclusively in long-form the past twelve months and become exhausted. Simultaneously, my writing has become more self-conscious, self-reflexive, and unwieldy, constant over-qualifications and anxious tangentials interrupting its focus. The list format used here, inspired partly by HTMLGiant’s trademark bullet-point style, is both a way to relieve this long-form burnout and to…… Continue reading A D Jameson & the Avant-Garde

Genre, Values Hierarchies, & Intentionality in Pop

I. Does intentionality matter? Critical consequentialism put to the ultimate test: David Cooper Moore’s “The Scary, Misunderstood Power of a ‘Teen Mom’ Star’s Album”  discusses Farrah Abraham’s infamous pop record My Teenage Dream Ended: It’s tempting to consider My Teenage Dream Ended alongside other reality TV star vanity albums, like Paris Hilton’s excellent (and unfairly…… Continue reading Genre, Values Hierarchies, & Intentionality in Pop

Chekhov’s Gun and Red Herrings: Meaning, Rules, and Transgression in Storytelling

I. “If I think of somebody telling a story, I see a group of people huddled together, and around them a vast space, quite frightening.”  — John Berger It’s probably important to start off by quickly distinguishing  between a “story” and “literature,” at least in a way that is, if not universally true, at least…… Continue reading Chekhov’s Gun and Red Herrings: Meaning, Rules, and Transgression in Storytelling

Camera Obscura’s Let’s Get Out of This Country

Camera Obscura’s breakthrough Let’s Get Out of This Country was released ten years ago this June. Had I known of the record at the time, it would likely have been relegated to the category of guilty pleasure: something to be listened to but not shared; something enjoyable but not worthy. Rock music, especially after a nineties-alt makeover, was still…… Continue reading Camera Obscura’s Let’s Get Out of This Country

Regarding Rockism Pts 2 & 3: The Progress of Poptimism and the New Rockism

Part One explored the origins and evolution of different authenticity models in American popular music criticism, breaking apart contemporary constructions into essentialist and personal models stemming, respectively, from European-American and African-American cultures. Now, in Parts Two and Three, poptimism’s rise to near-hegemonic acceptance is examined through the lens of Lana Del Rey and her shifting reception at Pitchfork…… Continue reading Regarding Rockism Pts 2 & 3: The Progress of Poptimism and the New Rockism

Regarding Rockism, pt 1: Black Truths, Noble Savages

Daniel Johnston, “Some Things Last A Long Time” I. Introduction Controversy over Lana Del Rey has centered around everything from her singing ability and views on feminism to her interview last year with the Guardian in which she opined on musicians who have died young. (“Glamorous?” she was asked. “Ummmm, yeah.”) But within music criticism circles, one…… Continue reading Regarding Rockism, pt 1: Black Truths, Noble Savages

Our Brand Could Be Your Life

1. Belgian metafictionist Jean-Philippe Toussaint, like many of his postmodern peers, focuses the attention of his novels not just on their immediate stories but on how stories in general operate: the ways that truth and artifice intersect or overlap, and how narrators can bias narrative or vice-versa. In Bodega Bay’s debut LP Our Brand Could Be…… Continue reading Our Brand Could Be Your Life