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

How To Leave Town

“I don’t think it’s possible to make art that makes sense to people if you don’t spend some time doing normal things,” Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo wrote earlier this week in response to an anonymous Tumblr fan question (echoing David Foster Wallace’s now-infamous quote to David Lipsky about treasuring his “normal-guyness”). To both Wallace and Toledo’s work, establishing…… Continue reading How To Leave Town

Oh Boy: Christopher Owens, Headspace, and Artistic Irony

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about two songs in my record collection. T.B. Blues One is Jimmie Rodgers’ “T.B. Blues,” considered by some musicologists (e.g. Hugh Barker and Yuval Taylor) to be one of the first popular autobiographical songs. Rodgers made a career out of singing songs about other people—miners, gamblers, gunslingers, jailbirds. But…… Continue reading Oh Boy: Christopher Owens, Headspace, and Artistic Irony