21 December 2006

Non-Favorites of 2006

There're musicians much beloved in the blogosphere, that I just don't get. Why is there such massive swooning over Beirut, Sufjan Stevens, Destroyer, and Joanna Newsom? I couldn't say. Most of them do have the occasional nice song--but aside from that, I don't want to listen to them!

Can we please get over Joanna Newsom (Cosmia), collectively? It's interesting, I'll grant that; but it's music-major music, and not in a good way: it reminds me of atonal music in its unevenness and occasional beautiful phrasing. Her voice is so pinched out of shape, and her sense of meter is so odd--it's like Björk without the power or compelling sweep.

Yes, it is amazing that Zach Conden of Beirut (The Gulag Orkester) is only twenty; but does that mean that a full CD of Eastern European brass is amazing music? It does not. And yet I've heard "amazing" so much about this CD that you'd think I'd been listening to Tom Cruise.

Sufjan Stevens (All The Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands): This one, I just don't get; it must be a cultural phenomenon, but I am so tired of twee and sensitive and sluggish. Sufjan more than the others has the occasional successful song, and I understand that his shows are Flaming Lips-esque in their theatricality, but really, can we be done now?

It's not that I hate Destroyer (Your Blood) exactly; it's enjoyable in a jangly, raffish-hobo kinda way, but . . . why is it on everyone's list of bests? There's shrieking and howling, and guitar strings that sound like cats; it's not brilliant.

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don baird said...

thank you so much for this post--you've chosen all the same artists i dont understand why bloggers are so apeshit about. its nice to hear that someone feels the same--that its not just me who doesnt understand why i'm not totally on the tip of joanna newsoms dick like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

what anon 1 just said. Spare me from music that makes me cringe.

Anonymous said...

Just because you don't appreciate these artists doesn't mean they suck. Maybe you need to expand your tastes in music. All of those records are touted for a very basic reason - they're good. They did something to change the bland scene of supposed indie rock this year and because they get cred you think it fair to bash them? You're no better than the writers who shower them with blind praise, imo. Because too many bloggers like them is hardly a worthy argument for disliking them.

Anonymous said...

Count me in . . . these folks received a bit too muh hype this year.

Erika said...

Totally with you on Joanna Newsome. I just don't get her. Sufjan Stevens, well, I will admit to all his shortcomings, and I have yet to listen to an album straight through, but then he has a couple songs which I've gotten totally obsessed with. I'm afraid I'm one of those who has raved about Beirut (like Magnetic Fields! Except not Magnetic Fields! Because one can't listen to Stephin Merritt all the time...), though as it turns out I got sick of them pretty quickly.

Also, interesting that of your top five things you're listening to this week, R.E.M, Yo-Yo Ma, Kings of Convenience, and Thomas Tallis are all staples for me, I mean things I listen to over and over and over (well, a bit less so of Kings of Convenience, but they're a recent favorite), which is interesting because I didn't think our musical tastes were that close. Haven't heard of George Winston though. Have a good time in Ghana.

Anonymous said...

"Ys" is to 2006 what "Surfer Rosa" was to 1987, or what the first Ramones record was to 1976. And I'm old enough to remember that the Pixies in 1987 evoked the exact same knee-jerk dislike from people who didn't get it that Joanna Newsom is getting now.