Yesterday, Sky Ferreira shared a very strange Grant Singer-directed video for her wounded anthem I Blame Myself. Ferreira plays a drug kingpin in the video,
Here we go again. Would be great if white pop stars would stop with this colorblind racist nonsense and then defend it angrily as if their lives were being threatened. First Lorde, then Miley, now Sky. I am just about done with this bullshit
I like that Sky song and if that video weren’t weird and racist I would think it was kind of a fun idea. Man, I love silly weird music videos. But you’re casting a group of black men as your street entourage, maybe stop for a second and think “oh jeez that’s no good”? And all of the law enforcement dudes are white? Are you really that shocked and offended by someone calling you out on something that is obviously racist? That’s what gets to me, here. Can we please not villainze people who simply point out that something is racist? Can we please not treat them like scum and try to understand where they’re coming from (as if it were that hard to understand in the first place, for the love of God)?
Good lord, never call a white person a racist, holy shit. They cannot take it. They just can’t. What a terrible thing to say to someone! Someone who loves ALL races! Jesus, I can’t take this attitude anymore, it’s so stupid and pathetic
Even if you don’t think what you did is racist, take a second and give your thing another look and maybe listen to the person who’s calling you out. Treat them with some respect. Their mission in life isn’t to bring you down and make you feel bad. You did something that made them feel terrible, and probably alot of other people too. And they’re calling you out for it. Listen to them! Get out of your hole and listen to these people. They’re not trying to tear you down for funzios. They’re serious about this shit. They’re decent people who want things to not suck. Open your ears and pull yourself out of your HOLE
Two writers dig to the bottom of why other people’s bad taste in music bothers us so much, and along the way, lay out the new rules for thinking and writing about pop.
Alright well, man I hope this is the end of it all. The Horrible, Horrible “Poptimism” Debate of 2014. So many people have been talking about this and it’s such a weird debate in that I don’t think it’s been a debate at all - really what happened here is, two old men wrote articles and every decent prominent “pro-pop” music writer wrote a response to one or BOTH of them (this doofy bud included). One of the dudes who wrote them is a jazz critic (I think), the other guy wrote a sitcom book. They’re outsiders, basically. They haven’t replied to anybody’s responses yet and I’m sure they never will because I don’t think either of them care about the state of current pop music criticism more than the actual working music critics responding to their articles. So it goes.
Yeah I posted that thing last week about never wanting to write a thinkpiece about music criticism again, or a response to a thinkpiece about music criticism again. I do still feel this way. I feel this way because the only people who care about music criticism enough to read and write thinkpieces about music criticism are music critics. I do feel this way, I see it. Non-critics and writers don’t give a hot shit and I don’t blame them, because I’m starting to not care either. And I mean this with all due respect to the very talented and nice music writers writing these responses and explorations of taste with all of the goodness of their heart, but if I read another article like this (very nice and well written) one I feel like I’m going to throw up on my sneakers and NEVER clean them up
I think that’s why I am avoiding the word “poptimism” like the plague, why it creeps me out and why I never want to be associated with it, because it’s such a critic’s term. Actual folk who listen to pop music regularly who aren’t music critics are not poptimists and wouldn’t identify with the term or know what it is. They’re just folk who like music they hear, that’s it. Beyond the fact that I think it’s too cutesy for my taste, “poptimist” icks me out as a word. Instinctively, I think. It just doesn’t work for me. It’s something a music critic would say.
Again, this is a nice article and I enjoyed reading it but I’m hoping personally to close the book on this subject, because I’ve been caught in this tangled mess of responses to that Ted Gioia article for the past two weeks and I feel like I’m trapped and I want out. I admittedly eye-rolled at the part about “let’s come up with some rules about being a good poptimist” because, well, I’m not interested in that. I am not interested in giving people who are shitty about other peoples’ taste in music some guidelines to be better. Those people stink and can go crawl into their very own stinkholes. They don’t deserve any rules from nice people. It’s a waste. Let them be jerks somewhere else.
I do hope those Carl Wilson/Ann Powers “poptimism rules” have some kind of impact on young music listeners, though. I mean this. I remember how great it was, when I first got way into Hanson and realized that the whole notion of taste was bunk, and then I could like whatever I wanted and it felt great. If you’re a younger person I do think that idea is eye-opening and beneficial. Young people should realize this at the earliest age possible, for real. This I sincerely believe.
At the same time - I feel my personal bias coming out here. Because I read the “be a better poptimist” rules and I roll my eyes over every single one and say well DUHHH. And maybe it’s because rules like “don’t insist that pop be hip” and “beware your own self-projections” are things I’ve been talking about alot for the past few years, stuff I’ve known for awhile. But it’s also stuff that all good music critics should know by now. Maybe I’m not being fair, but these sound like rules for being a decent, non-judgmental human being. Any grown-ass adult who doesn’t already abide by these rules without being told by Ann Powers and Carl Wilson isn’t worth educating and isn’t worth paying attention to. Yes, I understand that there are plenty of paid music writers who don’t follow these rules. But they aren’t worth our time, our thinkpieces. They aren’t worth thought. They’re barely worth whatever they were paid to write the dumb articles they wrote.
If you’re a teen, it’s different. If you’re young and you don’t abide by these rules, you have time. That’s why I hope young music fans read this article, because I feel they will learn something at a crucial time. If you’re an adult and you’re still an asshole about music tastes, you have made a conscious decision to be an asshole about music tastes and I’m done with you. You are out of the conversation. You are not worth it forever.
So yes, nice article but I hope the “poptimism” debate is over. Because every time I see someone I respect talking about the state of music crit and “poptimism” I feel like they’re trying to justify something that doesn’t need to be justified to a bunch of assholes. Let those assholes tuck themselves neatly between their own bummycheeks and let’s talk about that fuckin rad new Pharrell album, “Hunter”? “Gush”? Those grooves got me movin for days damn
in the spirit of the thing I JUST WROTE, promise for real that these are my last words on this subject. Music is the Ultimate Force, the most important thing in the world to me, it does everything to me and I love it now and forever
oh whoops gonna have to pre-emptively add Life Is Good to my favorite albums of 2012
I did an especially bad job keeping up with new music in 2012, not sure why this was, probably ‘cause I spent the first half exclusively listening to teen pop? Yea I think it was the teen pop. Anyway this record is beautifully produced and reflective, maybe the least-shitty breakup album I’ve heard. I mean it’s not that much of a breakup album (only like 3 or 4 songs cover the subject) but y’know, Nas broke up with Kelis and he probably could have been shitty about it but he wasn’t. he’s kind of bitter but he knows how to carry it without sounding vindictive. he also wrote this great song about his daughter which rules
that is Kelis’s wedding dress on the cover, oh uh oh look at that
LET’S TALK ABOUT IDEAS FOR THINGS I WANT TO DO.
I want to do something involving teenagers. I Don’t know. Something that would appeal to teenagers. A teenage webcomic? A cool teen blog? This is all surface stuff but it’s the first thing that comes to mind and it’s the one thing I love more than anything. I think the voices and experiences of teenagers are really important, I remember being a teenager myself and how weird it felt, I have this weird desire to help out teenagers as much as I can. Because I remember what it felt like at that age and how shitty and boring it can be. “Sixteen Blue” and the like
Teenage content. I have no idea. If I end up making the comic I like the idea of it being “for teens only” even when it clearly isn’t. Or maybe it just is subtlely? I don’t want it to be too much of a big joke, I don’t want it to be mocking of teens or cool things, I want it to be celebratory. There’s something kind of awesome about being a teenager, about being a bored asshole at the mercy of your parents, desperately trying to make shit happen. It’s mostly boring but there’s some value to it, and there’s something cool about it. Teenagers have a sense of cool that nobody else has. I can’t explain this. I see kids hanging around and goofing off on skateboards and I think “THAT’S THE COOLEST THING EVER” and I want to celebrate that, but not in a Little Boys Room way, my own kind of way (but maybe similar to Little Boys Room, who the hell knows)
The idea - I mean I like the teenager part of the idea but I do love the idea of taking the music writing I’ve been working on and turning it into some kind of art, into some kind of comic. I really do like that idea but it’s hard to imagine where it will go. Here’s what I would like to avoid - the awkward “i’m so sweaty and nervous all the time!” vibe of the “Sean” character that we’ve seen in previous incarnations. I would love to create some kind of super-idealized version of myself, maybe have some parts of it that are self-deprecating but NOT that many. Portray an awesome Sean Rose that is showing and celebrating things that are fantastic, and cool for teenagers. Portray myself as the most powerful God on Earth, portray a Sean that is ready to mold the Earth in his own image and never look back. That sounds completely ridiculous but REALLY fucking rad
Because honestly I think I bored myself with my own comics before because everything was so nervous and sweaty and self-deprecting and kind of pathetic. I did this because I wanted people to like me and be like “aww” without realizing that putting across that kind of image, it’s kind of repulsive and I don’t think it’s even true to life for me. I have alot of insecurities like all people but I also have gained alot of confidence over the past few years and I want to reflect that in whatever the new work is that I’m doing, and I’ve been doing an OK job of that in my writing so I think it’s time to try and express that in a way that people might like and that isn’t terrible
Being self-deprecation = a crutch? It’s definitely a crutch, it was for me for many years. It still is sometimes and I’m trying to avoid it as much as I can. The comics I made for YEARS had myself as a hair-tussled sweaty man who constantly had a sad face and kept wiping his brow and shaking and falling down and getting upset! That was everything I did with comics for like 5 years straight, which I guess was cool because I was having fun doing it, but that’s not something I want to put out there anymore. I think it’s the most obvious kind of autobio comic image and I don’t think it’s worth it, but it’s the one I always default to. This is something I need to keep in mind when working on a new thing!!
The main limitaton also right now: my own art isn’t strong enough to really convey alot of the ideas I have. Not sure what I can do about this! Really need to work on my art, really need to at least sketch some ideas out and maybe get some stories out there, see where I can take this
But yes emphasis on CONFIDENCE!! And making things better & stronger. There’s no reason not to do this. Overheard the dude next to me in this Starbucks say “I dislike him because he dislikes HIMSELF so much.” Is he talking about me circa 2008????? WOW I wonder
A strong powerful comic/writing blog that is only for teenagers and that is full of confidence. This is the vaguest idea in the world but it’s a starting point. “For Teens Only” what a powerful statement, fuck adults fuck teachers fuck homework
My favorite song of the moment, this unreleased Late Registration-era Kanye song that ended up a bonus track on Graduation. Featuring none other than beautiful man John Mayer delivering by default one of his best vocal turns and a wonderful example of how Kanye uses his buds’ voices. Ye doesn’t produce songs like this anymore (gosh it was almost 10 years ago, wasn’t it?) and that’s OK. I was not aware of this song until maybe a couple of weeks ago and it warmed my heart and made things good.
It’s snowing in Chicago right now, which I’m not too worried about ‘cause it was over 80 degrees on Saturday and I know this isn’t going to last. Fuck winter, it’s over and done and there’s nothing it can do to come back til it’s December or whatever! Winter go fuck yourself I’m a free warm man now, fuck youuuu
You know that feeling where you don’t feel like you belong anywhere and you’re not sure where you DO belong and you’re not sure what to do about it? Yeah at least one person is in that position! And that’s me
I don’t want to give off an “i’m better than everything and everyone” vibe but that’s gonna happen so why fight it. Here’s what I’m thinking: I’ve established lately that I do want to write about music, but I’m having trouble committing to being a “music writer.” That is, submitting my work to places and and getting it posted and published, gaining some kind of readership, getting enough notice to get some kind of paying job in music-writing. That’s been kind of the “goal on the periphery” for the past couple of years or so, but I can’t commit to it. I can’t commit and I haven’t been sending my stuff anywhere - and I’m starting to realize that it’s not because I’m just lazy, which is what I’ve told myself for the past few years, but because I don’t really want to do it. I wrote for this Chicago music magazine for a few years, writing blurbs about bands and interviewing artists, and I didn’t get much out of it. I didn’t enjoy it, and I’ve never submitted much anything since then. So gosh, maybe that isn’t what I want!
I want to establish: I know so many music writers who write for magazines and blogs and they’re great and I’m happy for them. That shit is important and I read it all the time. I’m just realizing that maybe for me writing for Pitchfork isn’t the goal. Writing nostalgic thinkpieces about important albums is not my end goal. It’s not the dream. It’s something I know I am capable of doing, and could probably get really good at if I stuck with it, but I don’t think I want to. I don’t want to write any more thinkpieces about the state of music criticism because nobody cares about that stuff and I’m starting not to care too. I don’t want to just write reviews and writeups about other artists for the rest of my life. It’s easy for me to do, I think I’m pretty good at it, but I don’t want to only do that. I’ve got to find something else. Something else needs to happen.
More qualifications: I have no intentions of giving up writing or music writing. None. I’m going to keep writing and writing as much as I can. I just feel like it’s time for a change. I’ve stuck myself in a rut and I can feel it. I’m four months into the new year and I’ve already completed 3 or 4 projects I’m seriously proud of, and that’s something. I haven’t been “published” anywhere or gotten a whole lot of public notoriety, but I’ve completed work I’m proud of and it feels great. Like it’s just a very satisfying feeling. I feel like, after a couple of years, I’m at the end of some kind of phase with my writing and with my personal work. I have no idea what that is yet. I might not know for some time. But what it feels like is that one thing is ending, and something else needs to begin. The tricky thing is finding that thing, making the change happen, and making myself better. That’s what needs to happen.
I’m going to be 27 next month. I know I’m still young but soon I will be in my 30s and it will be too late for me to do alot of things already. Already it’s too late. I think digging my heels and entrenching myself in the music writing world, it might be too late for that. And that’s OK. Because I am realizing that I need to do something else. I’ve kept myself in a music writing bubble for such a long time and I haven’t given myself too much wiggle room. I haven’t given myself the freedom to explore anything else. And it’s high time I start doing that.
I have trouble writing for anything else but my own blogs. I do. I’m starting to realize this. Is there something wrong with me? There might be. Whenever I try writing for another publication, even one I really like, I feel like I’m not writing for myself and I’m trying to write in some other “music writing” voice that isn’t my own, my brain goes on auto-pilot and it’s uncomfortable. Just the idea of doing that is uncomfortable. It’s strange. I wish I could explain this. But I’m in a position where I’ve conditioned myself to my own blog and my own voice and my own bubble that it’s hard to move it anywhere else. What am I going to do? What else can I do? Am I good enough to keep at what I’m doing and let it amount to anything? Am I getting too old to try anything else? What the hell am I doing and who am I?
At the pace I’m going I might acheive some level of success in the next 30 years. When I’m 57 I’ll write a post that’ll get 3,500 Tumblr notes. That’s the goal!!
I love Tumblr, I do, I’ve never written more than I have for this Tumblr, i have to say it’s helped my writing SO much. I read music blogs all the time. I have alot of wonderful friends who write for Pitchfork and Stereogum and all these other places. Some of these people are younger than me, and I think “why didn’t I hit the ground running when I was 23 and I had just moved to Chicago and taken this path?” But I don’t really have any regrets, I don’t regret not writing for magazines or blogs because I’ve already done some work on my own, for this Tumblr and for OWOB and for Digital Get Down, that I’m so proud of it’s impossible for me to feel bad. And I know that I’ve gotten to a place where I am capable of creating work that is satisfying to me. That’s cool. I know I can keep doing it. I’m doing all of this for myself, I’m in complete control of what I’m writing and what I’m writing about, and I’m addicted to that feeling. I can’t let it go. And if it means that I am going to get no exposure anywhere, that’s OK with me. I’ve gotten to the point where writing for writing’s sake feels really good.
I am posting this here because this Tumblr, I made this so people would know what’s going on with me. So this is what’s going on with me. Sorry, this is a work in progress. I am working on doing something new, and becoming someone new. This year I am trying to become a better writer and a better person, at the same time. Hopefully one will influence the other.
no need to proofread this, POST
Friday April 4th, 8pm Free (Donations Accepted) BYOB
You know em, you love em. The boys from CE are back again,
Collector’s Edition is a live-lit show about music, written and presented by certified-broken pop obsessives. Personal essays, pop history lessons, staged bits and live music…
Be here! This is going to be so much fun. The latest shows have been about stuff we’ve wanted to talk about on Collector’s Edition for quite a while, come check out it out!
hooray! it’s gonna be a great show!!
Feeling pretty good lately, if not a little burnt out! Been working hard on the new Collector’s Edition which I think is gonna be alot of fun, if you’re in CHICAGO on Friday night at 8pm then please get your butt down to the UPSTAIRS GALLERY where you’ll get to see me and my bud Rick talk about band rivalries for a solid hour. It is going to be very fun.
Dealing with two urges lately: 1) the urge to write as much as I possibly can, and 2) the urge to use writing in some kind of different way, which is something I’m not doing right now. I’ve been considering doing something involving art, drawing, and comics for a long time but I’m not exactly certain what that would be? Gonna take some time to think about it ~
But the truth is, I used to draw comics constantly up until a few years back til I gradually stopped and focused on straight-up music writing instead. I’ve been really happy with the work I’ve been doing lately, and I miss comics, and I want to ~ideally~ bring it back to comics. Because I feel like my writing has gotten alot better since I started writing more a few years ago and I think I could make something happen. I do feel like I’ve gotten alot better, yes
sorry thinking out loud, this is what tumblr is for! Wow it’s like a journal! Can you imagine that