Rockcrit and A-Mama Ann Powers thinks way too hard sometimes

Saturday, February 11, 2006


I hesitate to even begin commenting on the ongoing rockism/popism "debate" that in some ways defines the music-crit cabal of late. I will say this, however, re. Simon's assertion (on Feb. 1 for those scrolling through the blog) that no one voted for M.I.A. in the VV Pazz & Jop poll because of her plastic-fun qualities: I voted for her because her music reminds me of jumprope rhymes. Not that doubledutch is not serious or meaningful; ask Kyra. But it's equally, crucially fun.

I just don't understand the distinction between fun and meaningful that Simon implies, and Matos falls for a bit here, in his post from my birthday. It's about hierarchies, right? Rockists overvalue meaning over fun. But stepping outside the tiny world of music-crit, I wonder if those hierarchies can actually be maintained. In the experience of absorbing music, no matter whether it's on the dance floor, in the bedroom, in the headphones, or on the blog, who really separates meaning from fun? Sure, maybe some people say they're just having fun with music -- that's how they feel in the moment, or in casual conversation of the kind you might have with an Armenian cab driver who can't think of his favorite artist and says he listens to everything -- but nostalgia proves otherwise: the theme from Dirty Dancing comes on at his son's bar mitzvah and a tear forms in his eye. Fun or meaningful? Not to pick bones or be thick or rest in rockism, but isn't meaningful actually quite fun?


Blogger Raised By Bees said...

Man, why is it only rock critics see fun and meaningful as two separate things. For the record, I don't care if MIA is the daughter of a Tamil tiger or some mall chick. I like her because she reminds me of Neneh Cherry and Poly Styrene. Fun, natural fun.

6:52 PM

Blogger Anthony said...

This was my comment about MIA, for Pazz and Jop:

The politics have been gone over a million times, and if you need a million and one go read Tom Wolfe's Radical Chic because nothing has changed since the mid-60s. The closest thing right now, to the random signals received, that we call music. The death of the album by its own successes.

Which is a round about way of saying, the album is worth listening to, and which is against Simon's obsession that her no. 2 place is b/c of poltical/social concerns of political correctness (WETM)

10:43 PM


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