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Saturday, March 31, 2007
DUHH.... tell me about the rabbits, George...
I may return to more active blogging; I feel it comin' on.
Tonight I'm just dwelling on an enormous pet peeve of mine: this internet-enabled swarm of "experts" who are invited to spout about other people's work in places like Amazon.com. I've been attacked there by at least one of them, but I quickly sussed the perpetrator's identity through recognition of pet invectives (and anyway, you don't make records like mine expecting huzzahs... or anything at all). Fact is, most reviewers, even the ones who get paid to do it and who sign their names to the reviews (and I do it myself sometimes), are snide morons with a scant knowledge of music in general and no particular philosophy or discipline regarding their task. They simply type out a reaction to another human's passionate labor and cash the check.
Many are serious and informed, for sure, but go thumb through any publication from your local paper to (god forbid) Alternative Press or the eternally wrong Rolling Stone and you'll confront a clown-car load of stupid, stupid fucking typing by Rollos young and old. Some get way out of hand; check the web for rank personal slander directed at musician Stephen Merritt by the New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones and some lower-prestige lifeforms that loiter amidst his tentacles (some critics do develop this groupiedom of parasitic acolytes; the often-great Lester Bangs had plenty and the very awful Robert Christgau has one dilly of a buttboy in St Louis nobody Steve Pick, whom you may recall as the scumthing who sneered at my Uncle album with a dishonestly inaccurate description of the album's subject... of course he also sneered at the Silos, which suggests an outside influence I'm loath to discuss but did allude to in the first paragraph).
Anyway, at least those guys can write somewhat and think a bit (barring Pick, whose sentence construction alone is a high school newsletter-level abomination, and Bangs, who's dead); lots of "reviewers" who populate the internet tend to be anonymous civilian jerkoffs with more spare hours than brain cells, and instead of keeping their ignorance confined to a blog - where the like-minded can find their words, read 'em and agree or argue and whogivesashit, like me over here - they slither by night into the public square to tack up their irrelevancies for all to read come morning. This is of little consequence when the commentary is directed at someone as well-known as Brian Wilson (see below), but in the case of a great artist like Bill Fay, who will never get so much as a whiff of the respect and success he's deserved for decades now, it's disgusting.
I cite Bill Fay here even though there's still very little reaction to his work at all. Time of the Last Persecution, his sophomore masterpiece, isn't even reviewed on Amazon as of this writing. Nor is either recent collection of inedits. Only the self-titled first album gets the treatment: one rave, one damn-by-faint-praise, and... uh.. this...
BILL FAY - BILL FAY
i don't get it August 7, 2006
Reviewer: Mat Bernhardt "hughmcnutts" (Scotts, Michigan United States)
i got the cd expecting something truly out of the ordinary. instead i got very bland music. i'm fairly open minded and have wide musical tastes, but this was pure garbage (no offense). as a matter of fact i tossed the cd in the garbage at work....
Well, Mat "hughmcnutts" Bernhardt, I hereby tender one steamin' Hot Carl down your gaping babybird gullet, ya fuckin' cunt. Do you have some friend who wisely recommended Fay? Well that friend is wasted on you, and someone oughtta tell that friend that you're no damn good.
If you don't "get" Bill Fay, gentle reader, you don't "get" Song. Several of his songs... more than several... are among the very finest works I've ever heard. Their brilliance astounds me... they make me want to write songs and to quit at the same time, the former because of an inspired simplicity and depth that renews faith in the possibility of songcraft and the latter because they're so much better than anything I've ever done. I Hear You Calling gives me chills, breaks my heart, fixes it. Be Not So Fearful almost lets me believe in prayer again. Tomorrow Tomorrow and Tomorrow makes me glad to continue living. I nearly curl up in a ball and weep when he sings Down to the Bridge. Warwick Town, Maudy La Lune are such perfect, loving tales of human lives I cannot comprehend why they're not beloved by millions. His modesty thwarts a grand latterday discovery of the work, since people tend to want a freak show or a tragedy or some delusion of stylistic originality/priority to assist their cloth ears. But these songs, if written by McCartney/Lennon or Dylan, would have long since been enshrined as among their greatest efforts. Let All the Teddies Know contains one of those colossal lyric couplets that flattens me with every listen, and no I won't quote it. Everyone should buy the albums and learn the songs and if they don't hit you, you are obliged - in the name of all that is holy in music - to keep returning until you grasp their magnificence. Among which songs would I place his best? Waterloo Sunset, Northern Sky, I Shall Be Released, Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, Wild Horses, Ain't No Sunshine, The Mercy Seat, Highway Kind, Up On The Roof, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Don't Let It Bring You Down, Hallelujah, Til I Die, The Things Our Fathers Loved, Wichita Lineman, Skylark, Natural Woman, In the Gloaming, Reason to Believe, Big Louise, I Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer, A Song For You, Pleasures of the Harbor ...well, et al... the best songs I know, and this list maybe betrays a morbid ballad bent to my tastes, but you knew that.
My point is, listen to Bill Fay. My other point is, man, fuck all these people and their withering opinions. WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS? Is it Simon Cowell-itis? Some Will to Power thing? Who gets up in the morning and decides to go on Amazon and tell the world that they don't like someone's music? What the fuck?!?! You'll note the highlighted phrase in the above Bill Fay slam; this is a common ego-flourish in these spitball postings. Observe:
BRIAN WILSON - SMILE
Unlistenable March 7, 2007
Reviewer: Harry Haller (Portland, OR)
Let's forget the folklore for a moment -- the 37 years, the genius of Brian Wilson, the "teenage symphony to God," the best record never made, all that -- and focus on the music itself. It's unlistenable. A bunch of silly, goofy, "songs," sung in funny voices and with lots of goofy background noises. This might be appealing to a toddler -- seriously, it sounds like something you might hear on Sesame Street -- but I don't see the appeal to anyone over the age of 3. In a lifetime of listening to music, there have been very, very few records that I couldn't get through at least once. I don't think I made it through the first 4 "songs" on this CD. Think of the worst CD you ever listened to. This is worse than that. Pure sonic agony.
Let's forget, for a moment, the self-delusion that convinces Mr. Harry Haller that his view of the work of Wilson and Parks is worth sharing.
What on Earth is wrong with the music from Sesame Street? Joe Raposo: good enough for Sinatra, the Carpenters, etc, but not lifetime music listener Harry Haller of Portland, who does enjoy the combination of catchy, "hook-filled pop with more challenging and difficult soundscapes" offered up by (get this) the Dandy Warhols. Piss-ant Harry Haller, who thinks it important that he clear the air on this vast conspiracy to con the world into enjoying the music of BRIAN FUCKING WILSON. All the rest of us who adore this music are poseurs or gulls taken in by "the folklore." If only we'd come to our senses and actually listen to the music. Eureka! Then there's this Einstein...
BRIAN WILSON - SMILE
Not Everything Improves with Age
March 13, 2007
Reviewer: Richard T. Kemph "i tell it like it is" (Dallas, TX USA)
Let me preface by disclosing that I'm 24 years old, because I believe that age was one of the biggest factors in shaping my opinion for this album. If you're older than me, you'll arguably appreciate it more than I did; if you're younger, possibly even less. The truth is that this album reached legendary status before it was ever released, as long as forty years ago. More than likely, there are scores of fans that waited faithfully for the entire forty odd years it took to Wilson to cultivate it. Unfortunately, I am not one of those fans. I am quick to point out in my own defense, however, that my musical tastes are nonetheless diverse. I appreciate music in all shapes and sizes, and I have as broad a range of musical interests as anyone I know. However, when listening to Smile, I am unable to silence the inner critic which says that despite all of its successes, Smile is an album that feels noticeably outdated. I listened for the harmonies and arrangements, and even listened all of the way through a few times, just as the critics insisted. But to call this album a masterpiece as so many before me have would only mask my true feelings.
This is merely an excerpt from Mr. Kemph's "tellin' it like it is" entry (this dick has a personal logomotto!). Oy: "let me preface by disclosing..." that this here is a pretentious young douchebag who seems to think his "true feelings" matter to anyone, anywhere, ever. I too was once a young numbnuts, but I would never have wasted such effort on words better spent championing something else that I dug enough to share. Note that the stilted syntax and the "I simply must say this... it needs to be said" contrivance of this sprout's blather is a handy tip-off to a wannabe journalist. I'm surprised he didn't add some horseshit about "full disclosure." Again though, the folly of youth. A good ass-whuppin' or twenty and he'll be safe to bring out and greet visitors.
I'm just asking: why? And why do I care? Well, I don't really. Just priming the ol' blog pump.
By the way, Mat, Harry and Richard... if you've Googled yourselves and discovered this tirade, feel free to retaliate with bad Amazon reviews of my albums. No need to listen; just make shit up. Good words to use: indulgent... stupid... goofy... boring... have at it. Then you'll be just like the other jackasses who get paid to do it. And it'll give me something else to make fun of here.
And remember, gratuitous, unilateral online insults suck, don't they?
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