Flowers in a Pop(ul)ist Paradigm

Spilled Reality, “One more on The 1975?”: The 1975 bloomed late in pop critics’ multi-decade questioning of masculine-rockist values like authenticity and edginess. In the new pop(ul)ist paradigm, entertainment value and its near heuristic, melodic propulsion, are strong arguments for aesthetic quality in themselves. Authenticity is redefined, less a matter of sheer aesthetic originality (anxiety…… Continue reading Flowers in a Pop(ul)ist Paradigm

Memory of Lovers

One of my favorite pieces of Mark Richardson’s writing is his 2012 essay “I Wanna Live: Two Songs About Freedom” for the now-dead column Resonant Frequency. In it, he waxes eloquent on the two-chord song, especially Bowie’s “Heroes,” Cat Power’s “Nothin But Time,” and LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends”: [There] is something especially powerful about music with this harmonic…… Continue reading Memory of Lovers

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