Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, Part Eight: What Happened When Skrillex Helped America Discover Rave
Sound of the City's year-end roundtable, with contributions from Tom Ewing, Eric Harvey, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray, and Katherine St. Asaph, continues. Follow along here.
Thanks Katherinethough I'm afraid I'm going to kick the "defending Drake" can further down the road, and leave it to Nick or Eric. I don't enjoy Drake, and sad to say the main thing he makes me feel is "I'm too old for this shit": the world of gender, fame and power relations he's a window onto seems grim and thankless, even if playing it up is his game. Whatever emotions a man of 38 is meant to feel listening to a man of 25, relief surely isn't one of them.
But on the other hand, the first thing I thought of when I heard "Marvin's Room" was, er, my own teenage faves The Wedding Present, and David Gedge's habit of transcribing knotty, private half-conversations in songsthe woman's responses sometimes implied but never given trackspace. Nobody ever called his productions beautiful, but while the genre changes, the manipulative angst remains and will always find an audience.
This kind of automatic pattern recognition is the curse of listening to music too long: You identify things too quickly, it becomes hard to push ghosts aside and focus on what a piece of music is doing in the now. The most-cited book in music criticism this year was Simon Reynolds' Retromania, his attempt to tackle this head-on and ask whether our culture is addicted to its own past. The book touched a nerve with many readers, who intuitively agreed with Reynolds' sense that music's drive towards the future had sputtered and stalled. My feeling is that private retromaniathe involuntary encroachment of your own memoryis more of a problem than acts reusing and referencing the '80s and '90s. Occasionally in 2011 I found myself unable to offer much comment on an artist, simply because I felt like I knew and had heard too much.More »