Whenever discussing one of our favorite topics—which are currently politics, baseball, music; in that order—we find ourselves lamenting the lower standards in all of these. But what is at the root of this situation? Are politicians less challenging and ambitious or are people simply more narcissistic? (i.e. voting not necessarily for resume or intellect but for someone that resembles them and/or with whom they’d like to have a beer with); has the expansion of the American pastime, with now 30 teams in Major League Baseball, diluted the pool of available talent and as such compromised the quality of the sport? Are people more susceptible to crappy artists and their disposable music more than before?
(For the record, politics: the latter; baseball: yes; music: yes.)
Regarding the third category, when we refer to sub par music we’re not talking about the stuff within the parameters of the Britneysphere. That junk has always been around and always will be; the packaging gets changed every few years and presto! No, we’re alluding to the fresh-faced upstarts that everyone seems to be bringing up in conversation lately, of which we have very little or no interest in.
Since we write about music and pop culture here, we felt we’d be remiss if we didn’t put in the time to check out these artists that the likes of Pitchfork, Stereogum and the rest of the hipper than thou blogosphere are always going on about. Boring exercise in futility it turned out to be, for the most part. Why? Well, it doesn’t help that we’re not won over by any of these amateurish upstarts. (And before you get off on a ‘hey, they don’t all have to be musos’ rant, can we state that The Ramones were amateurish but had lotsa heart? And tunes, too.) This latest batch of newcomers seem to approach making music as something to do while they figure out where to go for an MBA; a 'first job out of college' experience, if you will. Zzzz.
But, here’s the more important and determining issue: in the end, none of these bands will be around 5 years from now—oh, XL Records: so much to answer for—either by design or as a result of the fickle nature of their increasingly pliable fanbases, which are either bored or—depending on the speed and level of notoriety gained by the artist in question—consumed by the spirit of backlash 6 months into the artists’ arrival on the scene. Despite a band’s ardent desire to make a realistic go of it, no one with that kind of following can aspire to any sort of longevity. Of course, we suspect that these artists have no intent to do so, and their fans, cut from the same cloth of ADD, know this and react accordingly.
So, tell us again why we should give a damn.