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Harnk
03-08-2005, 08:18 AM
I don't mind reviews that I do not agree with. I do mind cruel reviews. Though I did not expect anything more/less from Pitchfork. They didn't have anything nice to say about The Apples either.

"It happens all the time: Perhaps feeling trapped by the constraints of his successful full-time band, a frontperson/main songwriter forms a side project or records a solo record. These efforts are often stylistic tangents, and while they can painfully suck-- proving that a good band is more than the sum of parts-- it's occasionally exciting to hear that songwriter's voice in a different context.

That's not true here. Marbles was Robert Schneider's original recording moniker before he formed the Apples in Stereo, cranking out sloppy-but-charming four-track Beach Boys tributes that were compiled for 1997's Pyramid Landing and Other Favorites. Expo, however, is a planned and calculated Marbles full-length, recorded in the same room as Pet Sounds was, and mixed by the same engineer as Brian Wilson's revived Smile (Cello Studios and Mark Linnett, respectively). But instead of the Smile-stalking you'd expect from a guy who is known to have obsessively studied Wilson's studio techniques, Expo sounds like ELO via Gary Numan, with anachronistic electronic embellishments applied to inoffensive lite-FM melodies.

While criticising the leader of the Apples in Stereo for sounding "cartoonish" would be ridiculous, his typically quirkly affectations are unbearable here, outside their usual rock context. "Out of Zone" has simple guitar lines and sheets of electronic drums and effects, over which Schneider harmonizes with himself on a breezy melody. It's characterized by meaningless lyrics that seem to exist only for the sake of rhyming, overbearing vocal effects, and outmoded production gimmicks. And this is one of Expo's catchiest songs.

Elsewhere, "Jewel of India"-- one of the record's three instrumental pieces-- was probably meant to evoke foreign landscapes, but its horn melody sounds more like a Casio PT-10. That and the blissed-out nature boy anthem "Hello Sun" sound like incidental music from Cannibal: The Musical without the intended humor. Later songs like "Cruel Sound" aren't as cluttered, but recall B-sides from the Apples' later work. At least this album is brief"

-Jason Crock, March 8. 2005

everythingfallstogether
03-08-2005, 09:40 AM
fuck pitchfork. seriously. that really pisses me off.

kartoonz
03-08-2005, 12:14 PM
It's so easy to write a bad review. It takes talent to write a good and meaningful review. This, unfortunately, is a talent that the Pitchfork writers lack.

Harnk
03-08-2005, 03:30 PM
Originally posted by Half-Handed
So if they didn't like it (and they didn't) exactly what sort of review do you think they should have written?

a descriptive one

kartoonz
03-08-2005, 03:41 PM
Reviews are so meaningless. No one's musical tastes are right or wrong, it's just personal preferences. Therefore, nothing can be bad, so bad reviews have no validity. They're only useful when the critic who's review you're reading has the same taste as you, so if you're a pretentious prick who likes Radiohead, then Pitchfork is a good place to read reviews.

greenlander
03-08-2005, 04:06 PM
You kind of had a point there about reviews only being relevant if you share some opinions with the person writing them, but then you basically descended into lunacy. For one thing, not everyone who writes for Pitchfork has identical tastes (and actually, this is one thing that I find a little silly about review sites which have many contributors - the only way that you could actually say "Pitchfork gives it a 5.0" would be if all of their writers reviewed it and you took the average. Otherwise, the reviews really mean very little, because you have no base-level opinion to gauge other stuff with). Pitchfork might well be a good place to read reviews, if you can look through and find a reviewer there whose opinions you tend to agree with. Saying that, I do think Pitchfork have pretty much completely lost all semblance of sanity.

Pet peeve: people need to stop overusing the word pretentious in regards to music. I'm not even sure that everyone uses it to mean the same (wrong) thing.


That said, the review for Expo isn't very good at all. If anything, it gives the impression that the reviewer hasn't actually paid enough attention to compile any sort of actual criticism, and yes, it is unnecessarily mean.

"Elsewhere, "Jewel of India"-- one of the record's three instrumental pieces-- was probably meant to evoke foreign landscapes, but its horn melody sounds more like a Casio PT-10."

vertigothom
03-08-2005, 05:14 PM
Even if we just accept the reviewer's point of view he/she doesn't explain what that point is really. He just puts down things he doesn't like. What's wrong with Gary Neuman, ELO or using a Casio PT-10? "Inoffensive melodies"? What exactly is the definitiion of an offensive melody, and if such a thing exists why is it preferable to an inoffensive one?

"But instead of the Smile-stalking you'd expect..." Right there he tells us that before he even heard a note he was already expecting to hear a Wilson/Smile-clone. Robert may have recorded in the same room as Pet Sounds and had the great opportunity to work with Linnett. That doesn't mean he's going to make Smile or Pet Sounds which is apparently this reviewer's major complaint.

This reviewer apparently has no frame of reference for the kind of music he's is ripping on, and is putting down music that he hasn't taken time to listen to and critique on it's own terms. I don't mind a bad review either, but tell me what's wrong specifically with the music, lyrics or production, not what you just don't happen to like.

[Edited on 3-10-2005 by vertigothom]

kartoonz
03-08-2005, 08:03 PM
Originally posted by greenlander
For one thing, not everyone who writes for Pitchfork has identical tastes (and actually, this is one thing that I find a little silly about review sites which have many contributors - the only way that you could actually say "Pitchfork gives it a 5.0" would be if all of their writers reviewed it and you took the average.

Good point. What they should do, and I've seen it done before, is have more than one person review an album. I remember reading a video game magazine back in junior high not because I've ever been much of a gamer, but because they had multiple people reviewing every game and there was one particular reviewer whose write-ups I found hilarious.

The word 'pretentious' is one of those words that has lost its true meaning, like 'ironic', but I believe I used it in the correct context. Please call me on it if I didn't.

And yes, lunacy has been a long standing problem with me. Zoinks.

kartoonz
03-08-2005, 08:06 PM
Also, I'd like to stand up for what I said earlier. What did you take issue with?

greenlander
03-08-2005, 08:21 PM
"Pretentious prick who likes Radiohead," I guess, since I still have some degree of attachment to them (and it seemed to insinuate that liking Radiohead automatically = being pretentious), and also because people using the term "pretentious" (usually just because they don't like something) drives me crazy. I think most people use it to mean something more like "self-indulgent," which is pretty stupid considering that what they're referring to is creativity, which, it would seem, has to have some level of self-pleasing involved. Maybe if bands seem only interested in pleasing themselves it makes a little more sense, but still, at the end of the day, their job is really to do whatever they want with their music, and pleasing other people is always a by-product of that.

I can appreciate that people dislike Radiohead, and I can see the myriad differences between them and music like that of e6 (I increasingly feel that Radiohead's music is somehow colder and less "real" feeling than most of what I listen to regularly these days), but I don't like feeling lumped together with the kind of person that does just pick up on a certain type of music because they should, because it's cool, because they want scene points. I know people like that exist, and I find them highly annoying. Personally, I'm not really all that bothered about the politics of it; the alleged advances and whatever that Kid A is always discussed in terms of, I'm more concerned with what I hear.

kartoonz
03-08-2005, 08:41 PM
Actually, I think Radiohead is an amazing and immensely talented band, and some of my favorite people are Radiohead fans. It's kind of like that not all black birds are crows but all crows are black birds argument. Not all Radiohead fans are Pitchfork reviewers but all Pitchfork reviewers are Radiohead fans. And c'mon, the Marbles review reeks of pretentiousness. Obviously a Casio PT-10 has a horrible sound and I, the Pitchfork reviewer, know more about music than Robert Schneider for knowing that.

greenlander
03-09-2005, 05:42 AM
It does annoy me that Pitchfork seem to take that approach so often. While they do still get some things right, they seem to just be disappearing further and further up their own backsides with all this self-knowing, in-joking bullshit. And I mean, it really makes sense to be going for the intellectual, supremely knowledgeable high road as the ultimate purveyor of music when your page has 18 suicide girls ads on it with each refresh.

I guess the general overuse of the word "pretentious," usually thrown around with some bile, clouded your point.

Squirrellevel
03-09-2005, 07:35 AM
Originally posted by kartoonz
Obviously a Casio PT-10 has a horrible sound and I, the Pitchfork reviewer, know more about music than Robert Schneider for knowing that.

I don't know if I've heard the PT-10 (is that the big grey one?), but I love cheap Casio sounds in general. But really, to say that you know more about music than someone who's made over a dozen records because you have an opinion about a cheap keyboard? That's weird.

Let me clarify that I'm not a cheerleader, and I don't care that you don't like Robert's new record or even that you wrote a scathing review. I personally didn't like Expo at first. It grew trememdously on me, though, which I didn't expect it being such a seemingly simple record.

Bad reviews generally fall into two categories:
1. the reviewer doesn't 'get' the record (the CD went to the wrong reviewer, the reviewer's taste differs significantly from the artist's)
2. the reviewer understands what the artist was going for, but thinks the result falls short of the mark.

In general, you've got a #2, which is far more preferable.
What's HILARIOUS, though, is that this board bitches about Pitchfork's tone, and it turns out the enemy is US! :o

ladylamentingonalawnchair
03-09-2005, 09:52 AM
Um, Casper, I think kartoonz was being sarcastic.

kartoonz
03-09-2005, 10:19 AM
Damn these computers. Where's the sarcasm key?

Squirrellevel
03-09-2005, 11:15 AM
Oh. I see.

Darn. I was really kinda wishing the enemy were us.

Hey, why isn't anybody here writing for Pitchfork? It can't be that hard!

[Edited on 3-9-2005 by Squirrellevel]

Salman
03-09-2005, 11:26 AM
I don't really see why people get all angry over a review. It really doesn't matter. Pitchfork gave NYC Flowers and Ghosts a 0.0, and it's one of my favourite Sonic Youth records. There writers aren't the most objective or even good, so don't take it too seriously. Stop worrying if pitchfork likes something or not.

[Edited on 3-9-2005 by Salman]

dereksmalls
03-09-2005, 04:28 PM
I'm pretty sure this wasn't recorded at the Pet Sounds studios. Maybe one backing track. It was mixed by Mark Linnett, though. Robert recorded most of it in Lexington I think.

uncle eggma
03-09-2005, 05:24 PM
isn't robert's new studio in lexington called pet sounds though?....maybe that's what they were referring to....

Squirrellevel
03-10-2005, 10:41 AM
I believe dereksmalls is right. Robert recorded it at home, and then Mark Linette mixed it at Cello Studio.

Harnk
03-10-2005, 10:43 AM
Originally posted by Squirrellevel
I believe dereksmalls is right. Robert recorded it at home, and then Mark Linette mixed it at Cello Studio.

You ready to work? That's some gruelling tour coming up. Or are you not touring this round?

seandavidson
03-10-2005, 07:15 PM
Last I heard Robert moved the Pet Sounds Studio to Lexington, KY. So it was recorded at Pet Sounds....


Sean

kartoonz
03-11-2005, 10:31 AM
The insert doesn't say anything about where it was recorded, just where it was mixed and mastered.

Squirrellevel
03-11-2005, 11:35 AM
Originally posted by Harnk

Originally posted by Squirrellevel
I believe dereksmalls is right. Robert recorded it at home, and then Mark Linette mixed it at Cello Studio.

You ready to work? That's some gruelling tour coming up. Or are you not touring this round?

I'm on, although I'll miss the first date in Jackson, MS. Things have been so incredibly hecktic lately that I haven't had any time to think about how long this tour will be. Rehearsals are going well, and I think we're almost ready to kick copious, veloptuous, juicy fields of azz.

[Edited on 3-11-2005 by Squirrellevel]

Harnk
03-11-2005, 11:39 AM
Originally posted by Squirrellevel

Originally posted by Harnk

Originally posted by Squirrellevel
I believe dereksmalls is right. Robert recorded it at home, and then Mark Linette mixed it at Cello Studio.

You ready to work? That's some gruelling tour coming up. Or are you not touring this round?

I'm on, although I'll miss the first date in Jackson, MS. Things have been so incredibly hecktic lately that I haven't had any time to think about how long this tour will be. Rehearsals are going well, and I think we're almost ready to kick copious, veloptuous, juicy fields of azz.

[Edited on 3-11-2005 by Squirrellevel]

Nice. If you smell something in the front row it is me.

Squirrellevel
03-11-2005, 08:09 PM
Originally posted by Harnk

Originally posted by Squirrellevel
[I'm on, although I'll miss the first date in Jackson, MS. Things have been so incredibly hecktic lately that I haven't had any time to think about how long this tour will be. Rehearsals are going well, and I think we're almost ready to kick copious, veloptuous, juicy fields of azz.

[Edited on 3-11-2005 by Squirrellevel]

Nice. If you smell something in the front row it is me.

Actually, I'll be at the soundboard controlling the band by telepathy, playing guitar, and being the disembodied voice. Barring any accidents, I'll see your ass before I smell it.

hypecity
10-31-2005, 06:33 PM
http://www.blacktable.com/images/0412pics/jesus/28000.jpg

[Edited on 3-23-2006 by hypecity]