Ironically, this feels like exactly the kind of complaint about the world a baby boomer would make - that that stuff kids today watch has gotten dumb. The problems with media today are legion - among them, lack of representation, stereotypes on the people they do represent, and a reliance on the idea that the world is dark and scary and dangerous (especially in our critically-acclaimed media) - but I wouldn’t say it’s any more shallow than it was in 1994, or 1984, or 1974, or 1964, or 1954.
I hereby sentence anybody who talks about the dumbed down media of the present day to attempting to sit through entire episodes of Romper Room without their eyes bleeding.
"Vapid Music" = what someone in their 40s thinks of today’s pop music, as if George Michael or James Taylor had been revolutionaries. & what is a "Top Ten Pop Station" anyhow? It plays ten songs only, or only songs that crack the top 10? Has the poster-maker listened to the radio since 1995?
and TV in general, even reality shows, is far better crafted than it was in whatever fucking halcyon period this poster pines for. Sit down and watch a season of the most revered, “serious” TV program of the 1980s (say, “Hill Street Blues”) and put it up against, say, “True Detective.” Get back to me. Some things actually improve. (Another example: go back to the 1970s and order a beer in an American bar.)
Appealing to generational solidarity is a mug’s game. The Boomers actually were something of a threat—-something like one in every third person in West Germany was under 20 at one point in the ’60s—-and despite this they were catered to, set against each other, and due to various reasons, including the fact they were fallible human beings, many eventually became placid and compromised. Others are still pissed off and remain radical activists, and painting them as part of some cabal to Oppress the Youth is rather fucking defamatory.
"They cut off your Art," although you can see any masterpiece in Western art whenever you’d like on-line, which something nobody except a handful of rich eccentrics were able to do for most of human history. "They took away your music" except that that you can listen to seemingly any piece of music ever recorded now. If they Took It Away, they did a piss-poor job of it, as you can still find It pretty easily.
If I have accrued any wisdom at age 42, as the son of Boomers, it’s that setting people against their parents and grandparents does not work. Building a political coalition based on people staying 25 forever does not work.
Yes and: the insinuation that if you are into reality shows and pop music and “brain candy,” that you’ve been helplessly duped into a complacency that leaves you completely unprepared and/or unwilling to deal with major social upheaval? That can go take a deluxe flying fuck off a freeway overpass. Like being into Black Flag and Ted Rall comics makes you ideologically purer and more connected with The Struggle According to Gen X Adbusters Cynicism than someone into Rihanna and Storage Wars. Go sit on your thumb, you insular shit.
Re: my Danny Brown blurb, I give Brown full credit for bringing home why that album resonates with me by outlining his perspective on the difference between drugs as party-enhancement vs. drugs as coping mechanism in this Complex interview. Needless to say, this is a pretty fraught and crucial week-or-so to think about the kind of coming-of-age black experience records like Old and good kid, m.A.A.d city touch on, and whether or not they can actually reach people who don’t live it firsthand. I’ll say this much: I went to bed last night after watching another livestream of Ferguson citizens under siege by shocktrooper cops and woke up feeling like I needed to listen to Pharoahe Monch’s PTSD again. (That might be the release from this year that’s been the most consistently underrated, including by me — I’d tack on at least another half star now — and with both mental health and the stress of being black and under siege in a police state at the forefront right now there’s a case for it being the stress-rap Album of the Summer.) Maybe it seems kind of superficial on the surface to try and cope with this shit through music, especially when I’m the kind of person who’s never had to worry about being profiled, much less murdered with no recourse, by the people who are supposed to represent absolute authority over a citizenry. But in a situation where it’s best for someone in my position to listen and witness and defer to people with experience, I’ll take the truth any way I can get it these days.
List Talkin’ II: Album Talkin’
Pitchfork’s 10-14 Albums List is up, and somehow I wound up getting the opportunity to write about the album that placed #2 on the list (and #1 on mine). I hope I did it justice, since it’s modern-classic status to me and a lot of other people. I also wrote about Danny Brown’s Old, and that spurred some sociological thoughts on recent events that I’ll post separately.
Anyways. Like my singles list, which this shares a fair amount of crossover with, I feel safe in saying this represents (a) the music I straight-up enjoyed the most, (b) the stylistic/cultural breadth of that music, and (c) something that actually feels definitive, personally or otherwise, of a certain idea of “early ’10s” and how it’s felt beneath the pop/viral surface yet outside the indie-churn bubble. Focusing largely on stuff that’s forward-thinking without being insular, maybe, while the throwbackish/kinda-trad stuff (Ted Leo, Tame Impala, Dum Dum Girls) feels like it works as pop even in an alt context.
1) Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city
2) Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
3) Danny Brown - Old
4) DJ Rashad - Double Cup
5) Ka - The Night’s Gambit
6) St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
7) Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
8) Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid
9) Thundercat - Apocalypse
10) Cooly G - Playin’ Me
11) Run the Jewels - s/t
12) Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
13) Jay-Z/Kanye West - Watch the Throne
14) Disasterpeace - Fez Original Soundtrack
15) Dum Dum Girls - I Will Be
16) Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks
17) Kelela - Cut 4 Me
18) Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
19) Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
20) Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh
So Pitchfork posted their/our/mine and others’ list of the top 200 tracks of the time period spanning from 2010 to mid-2014. My contributions include writeups on ScHoolboy Q, DJ Rashad, Kavinsky, and a nomination ballot that features this top twenty:
1) Kendrick Lamar, “Swimming Pools (Drank)”
2) Disclosure, “White Noise (Hudson Mohawke Remix)”
3) DJ Rashad, “I Don’t Give a Fuck”
4) St. Vincent, “Cruel”
5) Kingdom, “Bank Head” (ft. Kelela)
6) Kavinsky , “Nightcall”
7) ScHoolboy Q, “Hands on the Wheel”
8) Killer Mike, “Big Beast” (ft. Bun B, T.I. & Trouble)
9) Madlib/Freddie Gibbs, “Thuggin’”
10) Daft Punk, “Get Lucky”
11) Skipp Coon & Mr. Nick, “4-28-1967” (ft. David Banner & Luca Brazi)
12) Girl Unit, “Wut”
13) Robyn, “Dancing on My Own”
14) Burial, “Street Halo”
15) Egyptrixx, “Chrysalis Records” (ft. Trust)
16) Clams Casino, “I’m God”*
17) M.I.A., “Bad Girls”
18) A$AP Rocky, “Palace”
19) Roc Marciano, “‘76”
20) Jessy Lanza, “5785021”
With links to more obscurish/undervalued stuff. (There were far more than 20 songs in my ballot but I only managed to copy down these ones for future reference.)
*original Lil B track was ‘09 but I circumvented that loophole via Instrumental Mixtape's 2012 release
[MAJOR SEIZURE WARNING FOR THIS VIDEO, SERIOUSLY, DON’T WATCH IF IT’S A PROBLEM FOR YOU]
(Album Teaser for Flying Lotus’ upcoming record “You’re Dead!”, featuring artwork by Shintaro Kago and of course music by Flying Lotus. Animation by Strangeloop.)
“The album isn’t about the end, it’s really the beginning. It’s a celebration of the next experience. It’s the transition and the confusion. It’s not ‘hey you’re dead.’ It’s ‘hey you’re dead!’”
Congratulations Flying Lotus, you basically managed to raise my expectations without any limit.
Seriously though: This teaser that Flying Lotus posted today after revealing the last song of the album’s tracklist, looks and sounds incredibly promising: It’s Flying Lotus as we know him, but way more jazzy and with more live instrumentation, which gives the music an incredibly warm feeling. But let’s not get this confused: We’re talking about the virtuous, crazy, free-jazzy type Jazz here. Flying Lotus’ songs are, as far as one can tell from these 3-5 second snippets, as nutty, hectic and experimental as ever, but like I said, filled even more with fast basslines, sax solos and live drumming. And that combination seems really, really exiting to me.
The guest list is illustrious too: Familiar faces like Niki Randa and Thundercat of course, but also stranger collaborators like Kendrick Lamar, Angel Deradoorian and … Snoop Dogg of all people? Also it should be noted that Jazz legend Herbie Hancock will be playing some keys on the album, and hearing FlyLo guest on his own track under his rapper alias Captain Murphy is just an act of insanity I especially look foward to.
The only question is: How am I supposed to wait for this until October???
This is going to move mountains, holy damn