Maybe We Shouldn't Do This Anymore

The perils and absurdities of rock criticism as a career in 2008

  • I accidentally downloaded the ringtone for "Crank That" on my cell phone because I didn't have the keyguard on. I was ambivalent, if a little miffed. But I figured, if I paid for it, I'm gonna use it, and it's still pissing off my co-workers every time my girlfriend calls. Anyway, I like the song a lot now.
    Kory Grow
    Astoria, New York
  • I contributed to Stylus for four years, a period in which I managed to further my pursuit of writing into avenues and audiences I scarcely would have imagined possible at the beginning of my tenure. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Stylus, and more importantly to its mastermind, the tireless Todd Burns. Speaking as a writer but even more as a reader, it's a tremendous loss for popcrit.
    Josh Love
    Raleigh, North Carolina
  • I was a little dissatisfied by the music this year, but I'm willing to believe it's me. Living in New Orleans, where all music is post-K music—some more explicitly than others—it feels like there ought to be more of a musical response from the rest of the world, but that might simply reflect my ongoing anxiety that we're going through this alone.
    Alex Rawls
    New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Lately we're getting bombarded by acts that cover the music scene themselves pretty well in their own tunes: Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, the Hold Steady, LCD Soundsystem. This may mean that rock criticism is in danger of actually being replaced by the thing it's reporting on. At this rate, these acts will be bigger competition than the blogs out there.
    Jason Gross
    Manhattan
  • Unwittingly, Sasha Frere-Jones's half-baked salvo in The New Yorker (???) on rock and race kicked up a shitstorm of bloggers and critics. But, as is sadly the perennial case with Black rockers, nobody talks to us about us.
    Darrell M. McNeill
    Brooklyn, New York
  • While writers, bloggers, or homeless people who play harmonicas on street corners lament the lack of sonic miscegenation, the likes of rappers EL-P, Sage Francis, and Aesop Rock are giving us exactly what's supposedly missing from today's alt-rock: a rainbow of sound. Now we just need some critics with revered egos to write about them.
  • Further ammunition in the war against editors: I once had a line deleted from an article because, really, how could we possibly be sure Rufus Wainwright is gay?
    J.R. Taylor
    Weehawken, New Jersey
  • This was the year Sonic Youth, Lucinda Williams, even Daft Punk indulged their classic status by dusting off back-in-the-day set lists, but it all just seemed like one big Civil War re-enactment. Factor in all the reunions/revivals (Verve, My Bloody Valentine, Frank Black turning Black Francis again) and it's only a matter of time before Coachella's an indie-rock Renaissance Faire.
    Hobey Echlin
    Long Beach, California
  • I came this close to listing Queens of the Stone Age's bloody good "3's & 7's" for one reason and one reason only: Guitar Hero III.
    Sean Fennessey
    Manhattan
  • Thinking about the way technology is changing the music business is boring. The music business is boring. Radiohead is boring. As long as I can get the music I want when I want it, and play the music I like with the people I like, I don't care about the rest.
    David Marchese
    Brooklyn, New York
  • With the closing of both Tonic and Sin-é, the rise of the Blue Condo, the passing of Hilly Kristal, the blasphemous transformation of the original CBGB site into a fashion boutique, and the overall bridge-and-tunnelization of Ludlow and Orchard streets, 2007 will forever be marked as the year of the final crushing blow to the memory of the downtown art ghetto many of us original New Yorkers knew and loved.
    Ron Hart
    Lincoln Park, New Jersey
  • Time for some of these blogs and websites to realize that just because a band merely exists (and exists in a major urban center) does not mean they should automatically be christened as something worth seeking out and spending your money on or just plain going apeshit about.
    Kenny Herzog
    Manhattan
  • It is amazing how much I miss LP jackets and picture sleeves. In 2007, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of money on record-geek porn (like Wax Poetics' Cover Story anthology) and secondhand vinyl, just for the artwork.
    Kurt B. Reighley
    Seattle, Washington
  • December 12, 2007: Ike Turner dies. If there's a rock 'n' roll heaven, someone's getting hit with a phone right about now.
    Serene Dominic
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • I saw Ike Turner perform at a club in Toronto maybe three or four years ago. He had a cool presence and a sharp guitar tone. His backup singer looked exactly like "Private Dancer"–era Tina Turner. Ike played wicked shit and then flicked his tongue at the dancer and made threatening comments. The other white lameos at the concert cheered. The whole thing was kind of confusing, but I liked it anyway.
    David Marchese
    Brooklyn, New York
  • Rest in Peace, Pimp C.
  • I was into Black Kids in, like, June.
    Jon Caramanica
    Brooklyn, New York
  • If Oprah can help make Josh fucking Groban the bestselling artist of 2007, just maybe she can get Obama into the Oval Office.
    Andy Gensler
    Brooklyn, New York
  • Discovered anew, everything sounds current. Sometimes, everything current sounds old—like Vampire Weekend, who (on first listen) already sound like a band sucked into the hype grinder and spat out. I kind of hate myself for liking them.
    Jesse Jarnow
    Brooklyn, New York
  • Motherfuckers defeat Dewey, Truman!
    Rob Harvilla
    Brooklyn, New York
  • OK, so list-based stories are killing music criticism. And Pazz & Jop is a couple of big lists (with a lot of little lists attached). Do you think maybe we shouldn't do this anymore?
 
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