As I stated in my year end round up of the best albums of 2005, I didn’t include Franz Ferdinand’s latest, You Could Have It So Much Better, because 1) I hadn’t heard it and 2) I didn’t really like the first album.
Sure, the single from the band’s debut had that scorching riff that alone justified people taking notice of the band, but the rest of that album didn’t do anything for me. Bland like a Kenny Chesney record….ok, maybe not that bland.
So I didn’t really seek out FF’s new one until it became available through the library. After listening to it today (actually I didn’t quite make it through all of it) I’m glad to say it didn’t end up on my list and shouldn’t have ended up on anyone’s top 10 list. Even though it sounds competent and may offer some highlights, the overall product is weak and just isn’t worthy of any praise. You Could Have It So Much Better is right; definitely a signal that the band isn’t going to be back on SNL any time soon.
Which leads me to my next point: Pitchfork: my, my how the mighty have fallen.
Pitchfork used to be one of my fave websites to read about music, but it’s quickly becoming a total fucking joke. I wrote, a couple years back, about how I liked Pitchfork, but some of their writer’s willingness to berate its audience left me cold. Go ahead and make fun of the people who don’t “get” what you’re doing. Heap piles of shit on to the people whose beliefs and interests are in conflict with your own. That’s fun. But don’t blast your readers in record reviews because you think you’re cooler than they are. It just smacks of being an insecure music dork that possesses no real power except when it comes to reviewing the new Jörstääd Wilköömen record. I made that name up because it sounds like some dumb Scandinavian techno bullshit Pitchfork would review.
But that was then, this is now. I remember Pitchfork giving a favorable, if not lukewarm review to this awful Franz Ferdinand record, but dissing the new Strokes record mainly because of its bad song titles. Now, I’m sure a lack of attention to something like a song title could spell bad things for a record. Look at anything Bon Jovi has done over the last 30 years, or Britney Spears In The Zone, but I question this in the Strokes case.
Beating up on the Strokes is easy. I would imagine bagging on the Strokes record would be like giving a bad review to the last Bin Laden/R Kelly video tape. It’s effortless and it’s what’s expected. You’re in the clear if you don’t like it.
But I don’t trust the opinions over at Pitchfork anymore. Sufjan Stevens was their number one album of 2005 for fuck’s sake. If that doesn’t say “too up-our-own-asses-to-think-straight,” I don’t know what does.
The Strokes record may be bad. It may be good. A good friend (of whose opinion I trust) said the first single was good. Regardless, there was a time that I took to heart what the reviewers at Pitchfork had to say. Not anymore.
For now on I will be applying the following formula when it comes to Pitchfork:
1) Band with too much hype + no backlash + lukewarm review= Bad album. Pitchfork reviewers can’t figure out if they will lose hipness points by giving a bad/good review.
2) Band with too much hype + lots of backlash + bad review= the album is probably pretty good because Pitchfork reviewers are trying to look jaded and above the rest of you plebeian assholes.
3) Band with too much hype (from hipster geeks) + no backlash (because nobody wants to hear it) + great review= total shit. These are music geek, elitist pricks with axes to grind. You don’t want to hear this crap. Please see Sufjan Stevens and Jörstääd Wilköömen for further enlightenment.
Yeah, I know I’ve been beating the Sufjan (and now Jörstääd) drum, but after that shit was proclaimed to be the best of 2005 by Pitchfork, I’ve been on a tear to make sure everyone knows the awful truth about Suckass and the ‘fork.
I’ll keep checking Pitchfork from time to time just to see what albums have been released because they are very current. But I really can’t suffer through another flowery review of some lame band with umlauts get the golden hand job while what maybe is a good record gets torn down because the indie rock equivalent of the Bush Administration keeps eating their own bullshit.
I’ll have mine with a side of rice please.