Yo so I am a fan of your shit, but I have to question why you only criticize Drake for his "bro"-ish tendencies ("I end up fucking with her friend, I ain't never satisfied") on your "Honest" review, when Future drops charming lines like "cum bitch then cum again, how can I not want to fuck her friend?" throughout the album?
CONTRAST BB, CONTRAST. Like I said in the review, Future contains multitudes. He’s capturing the different emotions he has on different songs, and he’s taking the world in, whereas Drake is projecting his own horse shit onto the world. Even in that line you quote, Future is much more focusing on the simple, base pleasures of fucking, whereas Drake’s whole “never satisfied” thing is trying to afford his horn dog qualities some kind of respectable or admirable edge.
Huge Kevin Gates fan...but since I've heard "Posed To Be In Love" and "Can't Make This Up" I get the feeling he's a bad guy? Is it just me?
I feel like Kevin Gates is confessing to the listener, whether or not those songs are “true” or not, you know? So, you shouldn’t hold dude’s staggering emotional honesty against him. I don’t know if he’s a good or a bad guy, but he seems like a guy who is trying.
Hey man, it's your fanboy/Norwegian actively-striving-to-not-be-a-dummy high schooler again. Thanks again for the criticism books list. Come September, I'll be a freshman studying comp. lit./film & tv in Glasgow, so I thought I'd ask the god: what do you consider essential reading/watching before I start my studies? (I guess the answer to this is everything but I ask anyway)
Um, this is hard, man. I appreciate your comments here (email me if you want more specific recs). So much to choose from, so this is just going to skew towards stuff I like. I guess if I were teaching freshman a comp. lit./film course (I can’t with TV, sorry), this sounds like a sturdy still weird enough intro:
isn't it weird that instead of being this monumentally over-discussed mortifying thing like early p4k the dissolve just kind of sits there like a dry shit people step over without looking twice? I mean, it's great. But still.
I don’t wish for anybody or anything to fail other than Colton Burpo, but the limp thud that was The Dissolve’s arrival is kind of interesting. Part of it is because they just grabbed all those clueless goobers from the AV Club, so the site just kind of transferred a certain pseudo-discerning AV Club reader over to another site, which is wise (and was relatively easy to do; easier than creating a staff from scratch and building an audience from scratch) and as a result of all that, isn’t letting much new air in. I think this is kind of a good strategy though for the site sticking around and maybe ideally, over time, once it’s firmly established, it will just become a very different and hopefully more interesting site.
On another level though, the Dissolve’s meh-ness has to do with how because it’s just the OG AV Club moved somewhere else; it’s a relic from another era of the Internet. I’ve said this plenty of times before, but for fuck’s sake just look at this image of the staff! So many white dudes! A few women but also white! And the site’s writers not pictured who contribute to the site also skew mostly white and male. It’s 2014! This is a new website with Pitchfork money or something, right? It’s one thing for this kind of sexism and racism to be grandfathered in over generations, which is the case when it comes to the staff of most “notable” websites (not to excuse it, but just saying), but to me, it’s a whole other thing to start a new website, especially a “film” one, when film skews so international, and still create a blindingly white staff. Oh, brother.
your lack of self awareness is staggering. how can you write what you wrote about rap and listen to Burzum.
Been sitting on this one for a long time, not because it’s a complicated question but because it’s an incredibly unsophisticated question that requires a certain level of boredom for me to dive into and explain for the 100th fucking time. Also, it originally popped up within hours of this nice little comments section slander over at the Martorialist’s blog, which should be a reminder to everybody out there who has Internet trolls out the digital wazoo that most of them come from a few mildly charismatic incredibly idiotic sources (mine: the Martorialist and other clueless Cocaine Blunts wannabes, the Chris Ott worshippers of Hipinion, and those ever vigilant Lupe Fiasco stans).
Also: I think the only reason anyone knows I’ve listened to or care about Burzum’s music is because I have mentioned it specifically as a way to call myself out or you know, point out that we’re all hypocrites and got work to do and feelings to parse when it comes to art and morality and all that. Especially when we happen to think the #problematic music we like sounds really really cool. So, this isn’t some kind of gotcha zinger because you only know I listen to Burzum because I told you I listen to Burzum (though all of his work post-prison has been incredibly shitty).
The short answer here is I listen to plenty of questionable music when it comes to ethics, both IRL (as in, it’s made by awful people) and content-wise (as in, they are fairly average-ass people who make art espousing shitty things) and usually acknowledge that, which is kind of what I wish more of my rap writer peers would do. Because look, here’s the difference between rap writing and fandom and metal writing and fandom: There’s a fairly vocal group of people willing to say “Fuck Burzum” or at least, acknowledge his shitty terrible politics and you know, the fact that he murdered somebody. You’ll see very little writing about Burzum that doesn’t go out of its way to at least acknowledge all of this. It is rarely a given.
Plenty of more progressive metal places I’ve ordered records from over the years tend to mention the iffy politics of bands (especially when they aren’t always overt; Aquarius Records has always done this); or you know, I am purchasing the records from actual fucking garbage human racist themselves who are willing to admit that, which also feels kinda more admirable than the “but it’s art man” arguments that still persist when anybody, even someone like me, who occasionally (occasionally!) dabbles in ethical criticism of rap music, pulls back and is like, “Um, I don’t know about Kanye West on this record, guys.”
If more of you rap bros were just willing to admit that you don’t care about sexism or the predatory aspects of drug dealing and crime than you too would be on stupid but at least solid ground with Neo-Nazi metal morons! I mean this was what the whole Rick Ross “U.O.E.N.O.” thing kind of boiled down to for me: Just admit you’re totally cool with rap songs about rape and how they are part of rape culture (which then, you must acknowledge you don’t care about) and keep it moving. Yes, there is a separate conversation (which I had also acknowledged) that points out that focusing on Ross there had a lot of “this ain’t real hip-hop” witch trials quality to it and a construct cannot hold when a rapper is able to rap dozens of songs about selling poison to people and killing them without being protested against. But that also doesn’t make rape-rap okay. Pick your battles better bro-ish rap nerds.
That’s all. Which yeah, all of this shit is incredibly obvious to any reasonable person, which is why this is a shitty question that I probably should’ve just never answered.
Reviewed Future’s excellent Honest for SPIN. It got an “Essential” tag, which sounds about right. I’d really encourage everybody to take some time with this record and also, pare it down in your iTunes to the “standard” 12 track version because it’s clearly how this thing is supposed to be heard. Recall that Future rereleased Pluto with different (and slightly better) sequencing as Pluto 3D, so you know, the guy is thinking hard about the album as experience.
A chance to blab a little about the greatness of Todd Terje’s incredible It’s Album Time, which yes, is lots of goofy, playful, immaculately-produced fun, but also a super smart, sonic dots connector (I hear Terry Riley and Burt Bacharach and Deodato in there along with the usual suspects). More importantly, I try and parse his video for “Leisure Suit Preben” which is something like a Leisure Suit Larry adaptation starring Peter Sellers directed by Gaspar Noe.
Hey, this is a pretty good album! Alsina’s the-Dream-isms are fascinating and his basic idea to just sing about the shit street rappers rap about is a stellar shtick. Everything wrong with this album is because it’s a major label record rather than a mixtape, which is nothing new, but this is so close to be great. Still, check it out.
They don’t? Haha, this is a very too much time on the Internet question! I think Jodorowsky love though mostly comes from the things he “codes” or looks to be espousing when really he isn’t: trippy, mystical, dark shit, etc. Which I think his work is parsing or outright mocking most of the time. He’s like Wes Anderson: He’s got a lot of fans who see him as a lifestyle filmmaker when he’s pretty much making movies deconstructing the lifestyle they think he’s riding hard for, you know?
Do you just get a kick out of Jodorowsky because of how unique, visionary and out there he is, or do you find it possible to take his mysticism seriously in some way?
I mean, he’s having a lot of fun for sure, but I take his mysticism pretty seriously. Namely, his presentation of all that stuff though is that it’s kind of useful only temporarily and like, part of the journey/experience, which is the point. He’s using “film” the way people use acid: a shortcut to insight and inpiration. A way to get there without say, meditating for decades, etc.
Often in life, you begin and end in the same place but you gain experience and insight by doing that circle. Think of how Holy Mountain is ultimately, an anti-mystical movie. All of its amazing, creative, inspiring artifice gets slowly stripped away once they actually go outside to climb the mountain until you’re left with close to nothing (because in the end, it’s highlighted as a false thing, just “a film”). And so, you essentially went “nowhere,” but you experienced so much in the two hours that it will inform you once you leave the theatre, live life, etc. All of its visionary-ness is ultimately useless compared to you know, going outside, hanging out with the person you love, and all that good stuff.
Seeing Holy Mountain was definitely one of those life-changing experiences for me. It definitely got me tapped back into using my imagination and creativity and I think it all worked for me on a level beyond “woah, looks cool,” because Jodorowsky’s fun spirit and brutal realism hovers around the edges of the movie (it’s a very gritty movie even at its most trippy) and so, it felt earned and lived in, you know? I could go along for the ride because it wasn’t really about escapism in the end. It was about getting to insight by any means necessary.
I mean, isn’t his attempt at Dune the ultimate example of this momentary existing? Where process became more important than final product! Dune even incomplete lead to Hollywood product like Star Wars, Alien, and Lynch’s Dune and endlessly inspired creative types doing “artier” things to this day and all of Jodorowksy’s post-Dune creative work (especially his comics which are INCREDIBLE) begins with the ideas he was developing there while making Dune, which I suspect, he never expected to actually complete. So, even his huckster qualities, etc. is just him living in the moment, being temporal, which is kind of the only way to live really. Not because it’s the “right” way to live but because everything is unpredictable and chaotic and you have no control over anything and could die at any moment, so process and the moment have to matter a whole lot, you know?
Can you recommend some songs where Lil Wayne displays his skills as a technical MC?
MOST OF THEM? What kind of question is this? Seems loaded. Tha Carter is probably his most sturdy and pen-and-pad technical in my opinion, but all of his unhinged mid-2000s freestyles clearly build on top of conventional “skills” and then doo-doo all over “skillz.”
As a "Young Writer," there is nothing worse than submitting something that goes up with very light editing. You want to blame the editor, BUUUUUUUT then you remember you're the one that put the words on the page. Anyways nice post.
Very smart and very humble David Turner, everybody.
I reviewed this for the Baltimore City Paper, but I’m so obsessed with this album and its concept that I sat down with Cex last week and wanted to get more info on its creation and conceptualization. ANIMAL was kind enough to let me do that. If you don’t know: Shamaneater is the soundtrack for a fictional Playstation 2 game (about video game addiction) and it comes with a fake GameFAQ for the fake game, so there’s some meta on top of meta type thing going on here. But it also isn’t some nostalgic video game thing, you know? Check it out. Also, I just realized the cover is kind of a clever riff on DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing. So many levels to this shit.
On Feeling Weird With How One's Work Is Edited (And How to Not Be a Big Fucking Baby About It)
So, this morning, I got into an email exchange with a relatively new writer who wanted my opinion on dealing with edits, accepting them, etc. I thought my response might be useful to other people and kinda gets at some stuff I’ve been telling a lot “young” writers lately. Below is one of my emails to this writer, with some additional thoughts crammed in there, expounded upon, clarified, and all that. Maybe it can help some of y’all out there? - b
I think that edits are both very frustrating and really good for this kind of writing. You’re totally right to be annoyed or even bummed out by them, but you are also totally right to kind of feel like you’re being a bit unprofessional by being bummed out by them, which is ultimately good! Like being of two minds about it is healthy. This is sort of a complex issue, but it’s of my opinion that publications tend to be a little harsher on new writers, whether they realize it or not. I think you get less of the benefit of the doubt early on (in part because writers of note are essentially tiny “brands” and editors understand the language of that “brand” and give it a longer leash) but also it will help you get a thicker skin too. A friend of mine started writing recently and had similar responses that you’re expressing here.
Ultimately, getting edited, even harshly (and sometimes wrongheadedly, for sure), is a good experience. Even if like, it kinda pisses you off or makes you wanna cry. Edits I received early on used to make me feel so fucking bad about myself. I still feel that way sometimes with certain editors I write for, but almost always, I’m the one who didn’t put enough work in or didn’t put the right kind of work in and it also sucks to realize that. It’s like being in an argument with a partner and like slowly realizing halfway in that you’re indeed the dick here who did something wrong and not them and so, you better cop to it like a grown-ass person.
Sucks! It’s good to talk these things out though because edits can fuck you up and make you lose your confidence AND THEN YOU NEVER GET BETTER AT WRITING HOW THEY WANT YOU TO WRITE AND/OR FIND A BALANCE BETWEEN YOUR STYLE AND A PUBLICATION’S VOICE B/C YOU FEEL LIKE SHIT FROM THEIR MEAN EDITS. Oh, brother.
Of course, I have been doing this shit since 2007 so I am maybe a bit brainwashed by clarity and the who, what, where, when etc. of journalism/”professional” criticism, but I also think I’ve gleaned a lot from figuring out the tension between style and delivering information clearly and it has ultimately helped my writing a ton. I think that the trick to writing for publications that still edit and value editing (which is preferable to no editing or lazy editing, in my opinion) is to get good at the structural demands (lede, nut graf, kicker, all that shit) and if that’s in place, then the edits will become lighter.
From an editor’s point of view, they are probably super fucking busy and stressed. And when you’ve written something that isn’t structurally sound or appropriate, well, that’s when the edits get rough or extreme because they’re crunched for time, and have a lot on their plate and have to start rearranging a piece and massaging it into like, the structural demands of proper criticism/journalism, so clarity takes precedence over your turn of phrase and style.
I don’t know what the “problems” with your piece were, but usually it has to do with the information not being presented in an orderly or clear enough fashion. Which is in my opinion, reasonable. The other thing is just turning in really clean and combed over copy. I’m not sure how you write (and I am not saying I hand in super clean or even um, grammatically correct copy) but for me it’s a matter of writing the thing and then editing, editing, editing, editing, and then editing some more. I probably read a piece I submit 30 times before I send it over. I read it a lot and then take a break from it and walk the dog or get in the shower or whatever and return to it a few more times.
But to put a little bit of an onus on the editors here: You gotta do all of this because a lot of editors don’t really edit these days so much as they minimally change your shit after you hand it in. There’s not as much time being spent showing writers how they fucked up (because no one has the time) or where they went wrong (or even, what they did well!) and so it just becomes a stupid loop of decent writing being handed in to overworked editors forever and ever fixing the same problems for the same writers day in and day out. Ultimately though, it’s on you to see a piece you handed in and internalize the changes made to it and figure out why and learn from them.
Not pimping my own work here, but below is something I wrote that was lightly edited. It was published almost exactly as I handed it in. Not saying it’s perfect (no doubt you could find some issues with the prose or clarity still) but I think it really captures my voice well and I don’t think it reads too dry and I think the reason I was able to get away with a fairly conversational, and at times weird ass piece, is because my structure is all there. When those core structural elements are there, editors are less apt to edit you aggressively: "Bmore Club Year Zero" from the Baltimore City Paper
A profile of Baltimore singer-songwriter Caleb Stine, whose new album Maybe God Is Lonely Too is pretty incredible and very weird if you really dig in and listen, all bird sounds and Bach interpretations and forward-looking Americana that refuses to indulge too much cynicism. RIYL: Mount Moriah, Will Oldham, that Jim Sullivan reissue from a few years ago. There’s a song on this thing about a dude who picks off some Klansmen, goes to jail for it and saves himself from being brutalized by getting the whole cell block to sing Ray Charles that’s just truly inspired. It’s a Monte Hellman movie waiting to happen.
Reviewed SZA’s Z and it’s totally whatever. Still a T.D.E. product, so it’s well-sequenced and way more thought-out than it needs to be, but at some point in the past year or so, “alt-R&B” or whatever just bent back into late-era neo-soul noodling. Why?
I spoke to Baltimore rapper Los, who has been signed to and left Bad Boy Records twice now, and has a history with the label that goes back even further because he was chosen for the first season of Making the Band and then decided not to go on the show. If anybody understand how absurd being a major label rapper is in 2014, it’s Los. This piece tries to make it clear to anybody who still thinks being on a major label is important or that getting dropped is a bad thing that well, shit doesn’t work like that anymore.
Reviewed EMA’s new one for SPIN. It’s pretty great and pretty freaking weird, but also a little bit SMH at times when it comes to its Internet commentary. And then though, you realize that the supposed endless possibilities of all this content in our ears and eyeholes and at our fingertips and now, stuck to our stupid faces (Anderson sports an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset on the cover; Facebook just bought Oculus Rift for two billion dollars), is worth kicking against, especially when you’re a woman. Your space is already encroached upon every time you leave the house, only now some goober wearing Google Glass can stare at your ass and take that leer home with him and load it onto his computer and just, Jesus Christ, man, what the fuck?! That’s what The Future’s Void seems to be about.
have you ever been scared for your life at a show?
Nah. About the closest I got to genuine fear at a show is this one time when I saw Jay Z and R. Kelly at the Baltimore Arena and there was def this weird Jadakiss looking dude in a long-as-hell white T in my row who def shit his pants and was just like shuffling back and forth. It was pretty awful. Also, the gross Jesse Pinkman lookin’ boy piggy men that act like aggro dickheads at any “real hip-hop” show I attended between 2002 and 2008 might count though again, not scared for my life.
Um, nah. I mean, what’s there to say? That piece is incredibly stupid and very pull-your-head-out-of-your-ass embattled old white man type shit. This Jeremy Gordon post here pretty much nails why it’s dumb and clueless.
About the only thing I’d add to this discussion: A big fuck you to Austerlitz for trying to temper what is so clearly a white male perspective on popular music by nodding to some non-white male artists he digs like Speedy Ortiz and Ka. To me, that kind of cloying pseudo-inclusionary attitude just makes his flimsy argument worse (cherry picking a female and black artist he likes to bolster his credibility while promoting a very exclusionary vision of popular music that is known to dismiss female and black artists is fucking gross!!!) and kinda says to me that he realizes he’s full of it, you know?
A collaborative piece by Karen Peltier and I about comix artist Edie Fake’s incredible book Memory Palaces, which debuts at MoCCA Fest in NYC this weekend (also introduces the concept of “trans architecture” as proposed by Karen). Based on research into queer spaces from the past, Fake’s book attempts to reimagine these now gone clubs, bars, bath houses, etc. as idyllic, trippy structures that are too ornate and beautiful to exist anywhere but on the page. I like to think of Edie’s project as “productive nostalgia,” where learning of these closed spots taps into their potential and leads to creative inspiration rather than a simple lament for what’s no longer around.
Ideally, not knocking out copy constantly to keep my head above water? Maybe editing somewhere if websites that don’t demand you sell your soul to function as an editor exist then? Maybe finding a boring job and doing this on the side and working on more creative stuff. I’d def like to have contributed something actually *artistic* to the world by then.
The sculptor because I saw one of those big weird suit things he does at the Hirshhorn last year and it was pretty cool. And the musician is well, a humorless ninny playing hard-ass and who has time for that?
What are your thoughts on Curren$y's output of work? Any favorite mixtapes/albums?
The first Pilot Talk is so great. I kinda randomly got back into it over the past week actually and it’s a classic record, no doubt. Everything else kinda pales in comparison, though Pilot Talk II, Verde Terrace, the one with Alchemist, and Weekend At Bernie’s are also pretty great. I’d say his output from 2012 to now though is kinda whatever. We’ve hit a peculiar problem with rap right now where it does artists no good to release truly great records (unless you’re being handed your superstar moment a la Kendrick and then I think you just have one time where it’s worth making a great record and after that its advantageous to diversify your sound and limit your scope and make mediocre albums). But when they release lots of pretty good stuff, it tends to bury their voice or make them seem less impressive. Records are for keeping your name on blogs and allowing you to keep touring and feeding your stans. Curren$y gets that. I just kind of wish it wasn’t how shit worked right now.
can we have a best of FUTURE ISLANDS before "Singles" list? you seem like the person to ask.
Go to In Evening Air, which is kinda their best. Then check out Little Advances and On The Water. Personally, I noticed Wave Like Home seems to be the hardest to get into for people, but it’s still good! A few songs from each big-ish deal releases…
Favorite DVD commentaries? Also, a list of movies that you wish had commentaries?
All Larry Cohen commentaries, but particularly Black Caesar and Q: The Winged Serpent
The Kurt Russell and John Carpenter commentaries for Escape From New York and The Thing
The Peckinpah scholars commentaries but particularly Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid and Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia
Michael Mann commentaries, particularly Miami Vice and Public Enemies
The First Blood Sylvester Stallone commentary. I’m surprised this isn’t kind of an Internet LOL thing because this thing is so apocryphal and full of backhanded compliments to anybody not named Sylvester Stallone and he takes credit for so much stuff he clearly had no say in and suggests that his life was in real danger a bunch of times. It’s nuts.
I wish Juliane Lorenz did commentaries on all the movies she edited for Fassbinder. I wish Ray Carney did commentaries for all the Cassavetes movies. Armond White on Belly and/or all the Hype Williams videos. I wish Stallone did one for Cobra.
This week’s ‘Almost Art’ music video column is about Jennifer Lopez’s “Luh Ya Papi” video which should be a bigger deal, right? Additional words about sexism, ageism, and homage via Kylie’s Minogue’s “Sexercize.” And finally, I crowbar in a theory I’ve had for awhile now. Namely, that if Kenneth Anger, a gay underground filmmaker “invented” the music video back in the ’60s (and he did) by way of hawt guy-centric shorts like Scorpio Rising and Kustom Kar Kommandos, then music video body exploitation has its origins with images of men and not women, which makes music video’s default sexism even more frustrating.
post a photo of your bookshelf like the arguing critics did last week. My guess is yours is much cooler
We hit a new critical nadir when critics are throwing out pics of their bookshelves on some dick size type shit. My bookshelf is small and more than 50% comics (also I’ve actually read everything on my bookshelf):
What do you mean when you refer to the 'hedged stoicism' of Ang Lee's films?
Dawg makes boring movies that do everything “right” but that’s about it and I think it’s more out of a sense of not wanting to polarize or alienate mid brows than it is out of some broader bolder sense of like, cold minimalism or even emotional sobriety that say, Ozu or Alan Clarke do very well.