entertainment

Well-known member
Music writers, at least the bulk of them, want mostly to be cool. What are the tenets of that 'cool' today?

What are the beliefs and attitudes they conform to in order to be cool? Are these doctrines converging, waxing self-confident? Is conformity of opinion / personality itself becoming cool?

What are the implications on the type of writing that's being produced / venerated / denounced / cancelled?

Would Lester Bangs be cool today?

tell me
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I think it'd be a good idea to lay out where music writing happens in the first place these days. The places I used to go for it are either shit or dead now and I'm totally out of the loop.
 

entertainment

Well-known member
Wide focus. Overarching styles in discourse. Of course it would be most relevant to look at the places with the mainstream idea of 'cool' is negotiated, cultivated and disseminated from. Pitchfork, Twitter, ILX more than lone renegade blogs.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
One thing I've noticed is that sites like FACT and Resident Advisor seem much more politically conscious than they were when I first encountered them, that or they're simply trying to give the impression they are. There also seems to be a bit of struggle in that the writers tend to be critical of capitalism whilst relying on companies like Red Bull to construct the spaces they're looking to work in.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I think it'd be a good idea to lay out where music writing happens in the first place these days. The places I used to go for it are either shit or dead now and I'm totally out of the loop.
Twitter seems like the place to me, moreso than articles anyway. Now and then you get a thread with a bunch of writers, djs and producers chiming in.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Is there enough substantial thought and discussion being dedicated to music these days for there to still be a wide focus?
 

mvuent

Void Dweller
I'd even question the extent to which writers today really do want to appear cool. maybe I've been reading the wrong reviews, but when I read blissblogger or someone talking about 80s music criticism and before--it sounds like a completely alien world. I can't imagine how a music writer today could get away with the kind of persona-building that was apparently common back then. people would be furious at them.

obviously not a writer but look at anthony fantano. he's the most popular music critic with "the kids" and yet you wouldn't exactly call him cool.
 

entertainment

Well-known member
One thing I've noticed is that sites like FACT and Resident Advisor seem much more politically conscious than they were when I first encountered them, that or they're simply trying to give the impression they are. There also seems to be a bit of struggle in that the writers tend to be critical of capitalism whilst relying on companies like Red Bull to construct the spaces they're looking to work in.
Criticizing capitalism is definitely cool. One of the pillars.

Critical theory is still cool in general, but more in the shape of the set of automatic assumptions it has diffused into. Every work/artist must be interpreted as deeply embedded into a certain historical context, and viewed critically in light of those circumstances. That's good, of course, but I think there's a downstream tendency forming to analyze from an exterior point of view and in some cases dismiss the notion of such a thing as a true essence of a work or an artist.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I'd even question the extent to which writers today really do want to appear cool. maybe I've been reading the wrong reviews, but when I read blissblogger or someone talking about 80s music criticism and before--it sounds like a completely alien world. I can't imagine how a music writer today could get away with the kind of persona-building that was apparently common back then. people would be furious at them.
Within the UK scene I think that's partly because the journalists are all mates with the artists and nobody wants to start badmouthing their mates in public or potentially mess up their career.
 

mvuent

Void Dweller
What are the beliefs and attitudes they conform to in order to be cool? Are these doctrines converging, waxing self-confident? Is conformity of opinion / personality itself becoming cool?
it seems to be a common observation that tribalism (at least along musical / subcultural lines) isn't as prevalent as it used to be, so omnivorous music taste and knowledge about previously "uncool" music has maybe become cool in its place
 

entertainment

Well-known member
it seems to be a common observation that tribalism (at least along musical / subcultural lines) isn't as prevalent as it used to be, so omnivorous music taste and knowledge about previously "uncool" music has maybe become cool in its place
Eclecticism = cool. Everybody loves everything. I think it's refreshing to come on dissensus and have someone like barty dismiss entire lineages of music based on some personal truth of his. He's anchored down somewhere. His beliefs come from someplace, some core.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
It's kind of mad how quickly things changed. At the start of the 2010s, if you were into 'nuum stuff, you could basically just head here, DSF and a handful of blogs and sites and a decent chunk of the discussion would be represented. Nowadays it's spread across comment sections, social media feeds and whatnot and it's spread so thin that there's no real momentum or energy unless you're directly involved in club nights or whatever.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
 
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Corpsey

call me big papa
Within the UK scene I think that's partly because the journalists are all mates with the artists and nobody wants to start badmouthing their mates in public or potentially mess up their career.
This is an issue I managed to avoid by reviewing mainly American rap records.

Re: the 'Woke', 'PC' thing - I subscribe to Byron Crawford's email newsletter thing, and he often writes crass horrible things that would never ever get past an editor at Complex, let alone FACT, and perhaps with good reason - but I find his writing extremely compelling and even exciting, partly because he's a great writer, but also because it's totally uncompromised and eccentric. He's a blogger, really, rather than a 'journalist', and avowedly a loser with no real career, and therefore has a voice, unlike 99% of music journalists. (Including myself, when I wrote, there.)
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
I enjoy The Wire a lot. They have some good more theoretical pieces but reading this thread makes me think about how the magazine exists in relation to a near infinite archive. Their reviews section tips more and more into this black hole every month. One month's reviews is more music than anyone could ever listen to. The little Primers they publish exist so the say, Death Metal curious can tap into Spotify or whatever and educate themselves. In a way what defines the magazine is this limitless abundance of music and how consumers will position themselves within that, digging deep into obscure little niches to create a self-identity.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I'd like dissensus to save the wire. I think they've lost their way a little bit. I don't think they quite know what they are anymore and the quality of writing and ideas and energy has declined alarmingly.
 

chava

Well-known member
Criticizing capitalism is definitely cool. One of the pillars.

Critical theory is still cool in general, but more in the shape of the set of automatic assumptions it has diffused into. Every work/artist must be interpreted as deeply embedded into a certain historical context, and viewed critically in light of those circumstances. That's good, of course, but I think there's a downstream tendency forming to analyze from an exterior point of view and in some cases dismiss the notion of such a thing as a true essence of a work or an artist.
No this has not been good. One of the reasons why stopped reading FACT and RA. That forced politization of anything. I enjoyed when Mark Ernestus in a RA features refused to be boxed in by the writers comment on the refugee situation. Also the overt PC-ness of RA prompted the reactionaries in the comment section which became the only spot for interesting viewpoints, really. Then they closed it, and now nobody cares about RA.
 
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