A Couple Of Supplemental Reading Suggestions For Those Who Might Still Be Confused By tUnE-yArDs' Pazz & Jop Victory
This morning Chuck Klosterman took to his perch at the ESPN-gone-McSweeney's site Grantland and tried to figure out why tUnE-yArDs' w h o k i l l, a record that he wasn't familiar with (but, he noted, that was loved by his wife), won this year's Pazz & Jop albums poll. He gave the album a listen, wondered about what Merrill Garbus might have on her mind, and asserted that she "must validate other people's belief in her own brilliance" in order to live up to her win this year. The piece was a bit "Old Man Yells At Cloud That He Seems To Find Gender-Ambiguous," to be honest, complete with confused Wikipedia citations, notes about its "superficially indecipherable lyrics," and so on. There are also attempts to play pundit as far as her future success, with this perhaps being the most eyebrow-raising: "Garbus will end up with this bizarre 40-year-old life, where her singular claim to fame will be future people saying things like, 'Hey, remember that one winter when we all thought tUnE-yArDs was supposed to be brilliant? That fucking puppeteer? Were we all high at the same time? What was wrong with us?'" Sigh.
Most frustrating about the piece, written by one of the country's most celebrated music writers on a high-trafficked platform: It seems to have been the result of a listening session or two in a vacuum, with only Wikipedia and a couple of preconceived notions about Garbus being kind of "out there" as research assistance. To that end, I'd like to provide a couple of reading suggestions for those still confused by what tUnE-yArDs might be about. I'm not saying, "You have to like this record." I do, but I also know that it's pretty divisiveif you look at the numbers, it won on passion as much as it won on number of votes! Rather, I just want to provide a bibliography of sorts, especially since claiming that one is engaging with an album (or, really, any artistic product) while refusing to do so in actuality is really not all that good of a look.More »