Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Friday Music: History, motherfuckers

316 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 13 Newer→ Last

  • Ken Double,

    Simon is fun most of the time. He knows his stuff and he's a good provocateur. Unfortunately he does have a tendency to see bad faith when really it's just bad music. He likes to stage a wee show trial which can either be funny or exasperating depending on your feelings about the record in question.

    The problem with his Lorde piece is that by insisting the whole thing is a Universal-orchestrated hype/scam/lie, he takes her record away from her. As far as I can tell, her EP is exactly what it appears to be - a record made by a teenager from Devonport reflecting the worldview of a teenager from Devonport. A little callow maybe (duh) but also pretty smart. She had help from a grown up, but so did the Beatles. Myself I think it's a hit and some filler, but that's one more hit than most, so kudos.

    I don't get the sexualisation thing at all. I think it's an unfortunate symptom of his fever dream. He'll calm down later.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2012 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    So does that make Lorde appropriately and comfortably un-sexual, while it's OK to treat Miley Cyrus like a Whore of Babylon-bot?

    Hey now, I cited Ms Cyrus and Ms Minaj as examples of popstars with strong sexual images. I don't think what they're doing is bad, nor do I think Lorde is asexual. They're just all different. I'm sure Lorde has admirers! And that mesh top she wears in the "Tennis Court" video has a perfect "yeah nah" sexiness.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Ken Double,

    As far as I can tell, her EP is exactly what it appears to be – a record made by a teenager from Devonport reflecting the worldview of a teenager from Devonport. A little callow maybe (duh)

    Um, yeah... anyone who expects deep and profound insights into the human condition from a teenager (1) has surrendered any authority to speak about popular music, 90% of which is about fucking or getting angsty instead of fucking and, (2) makes me wish I had a Tardis to facilitate a cringe-inducing timey-wimey meeting with their teen selves. There's a reason why my crappy teenaged poetry and pretentious, mean-spirited diaries were reduced to ash as soon as I got my hormones under control.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    Hey now, I cited Ms Cyrus and Ms Minaj as examples of popstars with strong sexual images. I don’t think what they’re doing is bad, nor do I think Lorde is asexual. They’re just all different. I’m sure Lorde has admirers! And that mesh top she wears in the “Tennis Court” video has a perfect “yeah nah” sexiness.

    General observation not a personal slam, and please accept my apologies for not making that crystal clear. Reading way too much Miley-related concern trolling recently, I don't know how anyone can win a game I'm not sure is worth playing in the first place. In the great scheme of things, I find Miley Cyrus dry-twerking a sledgehammer a damn sight less offensive than another hipster-approved cable show whose idea of being "edgy" is another woman being graphically abused and/or murdered.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Double, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    The hardest subject in all of pop music ever is the mature, happy marriage. Even Paul McCartney couldn't get that nag out of the gates. It's why Neil Finn drives me fookin' insane. Shit, that's my passport revoked.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2012 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    Which is fine, but you need to have some idea what you’re talking about. I got the impression he honestly couldn’t see what he’d done wrong.

    He never does.

    He generated another shitfight late last year when he slagged off a George FM compilation. It was hardly the kind of thing you'd expect him to like or get (and it might indeed have been a bit average), but this is more than half the review:

    Here you will find traces of music, occasionally (it should actually come with the audio equivalent of a health warning) and there is the answer to the question whatever happened to MC Tali. She’s here. Again. I remember a decade or so ago she was being touted as some fresh voice, an original Kiwi MC for the dance/breaks scene. She released a horrific album. And promptly disappeared. Thankfully. Well she’s back – and we have to assume, given her “Bonus Beats” here where she gives a painful plug to George FM that she’s screwing someone at the station. My guess, from what I can hear, is that it’s the audience.

    I think we can assume that he would not have suggested that a male MC was "screwing someone at the station". He gave no indication that he got what was wrong about saying that. It's unfathomable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews, in reply to Russell Brown,

    He gave no indication that he got what was wrong about saying that. It’s unfathomable.

    I re-read this piece from the LA Review of Books on the Runaways and thought of that kind of reviewing at this point:

    McDonnell shows the sexist roots of the rock world and how the girls worked against incredible odds. “Rock critics,” McDonnell writes, “were allegedly steeped in the counterculture tradition of New Journalism, but it seems that the Runaways provided them with an opportunity to unleash their pornographic and misogynistic ids.”

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Slevin, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Worth remembering that Stuff bloggers don't get paid so all he has to measure his own impact are page views, comments and furore. (Also hard to justify time spent on second drafts too I'm guessing.)

    Wellington, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Oh, bravo. Someone has reviewed Sweetman’s review like he reviewed Lorde’s record.

    And superbly so!

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Also a terrifically fun Daft Punk/Pulp Fiction mashup, which has unfortunately gone off download.

    Gee that's got some ballast. Nice.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Anne R,

    I got the impression he honestly couldn't see what he'd done wrong.

    I disagree; Sweetman and people like him often get defended (not necessarily by you) with a "well, they're just ignorant to the harm they're doing, they need to be educated"...usually just after they've blocked their ears against any and all attempts at that education. Sweetman's sexist track record shows he knows exactly what he's doing, and that he gets personal fulfillment/financial profit from holding onto and exercising cis male power. I don't closely follow his work, but I saw he also gave an absolutely glowing review of The Eversons right after the shitfight around their godawful song Harlot happened.

    Also, it's really weird that one of the commenters called him a "pissed old racist guy at the pub". A) She's white, and B) why beat about the bush? It's okay to say someone is a misogynist out loud, guys.

    Since Sep 2013 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Stuff bloggers don't get paid

    and as it's Friday, one provides my other weekly pleasures to PA music postings.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Wendyl Nissen,

    Great post Russell, well said re Lorde. And I f-ing love Sarah's photos from the Windsor Castle days, thanks for the link and to David's writing as well.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Dan Slevin,

    Worth remembering that Stuff bloggers don’t get paid so all he has to measure his own impact are page views, comments and furore. (Also hard to justify time spent on second drafts too I’m guessing.)

    Very few bloggers get paid. But I could name you at least a dozen off the top of my head that write powerfully and brilliantly, far more so than most of what newspapers do pay for. Look at the folk here at Public Address. High standards got nothing to do with money.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3890 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Johnston,

    My son told me about the Sweetman post last night - I can't bring myself to read it.

    As a 50-year old male I can't quite explain why I have been so caught up in the Lorde story. Partly it's been almost a paternal interest - because she is part of a peer group of young Kiwi musicians that my son is also part of, who don't see age or geographic isolation as being any barrier to them pursuing their musical dreams. They just get on with it.

    Partly it's just national pride - I don't follow the ABs or America's Cup, but treasure any Kiwi musical success.

    And partly it's because it has all been such an amazing ride. Everything seems possible now. Number 3 in America? No probs - what's next?

    In the past I have also been a supporter of Simon Sweetman's - even when he has attacked my own sacred cows. But judging by the quotes you have presented here, this time he has gone way too far. NZ's tall poppy syndrome lives on, sadly...

    Wellington • Since Sep 2013 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I didn’t think it was stellar initially myself, but I warmed to it, in part through the many remixes of the songs.

    I actually like some of the remixes better than the original tracks, particularly if they're a bit more uptempo, because it disguises my main problem with her - the slightly mannered singing style. (This is one of my "issues" - no one else is ever bugged by it so I suppose I'm just a big old freak.) But the songs are terrific, so more power to her - I hope she takes over the entire world (and, uh, stops saying NZ is "culturally barren" in interviews).

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    There's one major omission from Sweetman's crit but - yes, Lorde's 16. Do you know who else was 16?

    Hitler.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    This is one of my “issues” – no one else is ever bugged by it so I suppose I’m just a big old freak.

    I know what you mean. I definitely prefer her studio to live, there's one word in the chorus in Royals that just grates. I'm happy to put that aside given that she's 16 and has got a decade for her voice and singing to mature for a pretty fantastic base.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Peter Johnston,

    judging by the quotes you have presented here, this time he has gone way too far. NZ’s tall poppy syndrome lives on, sadly…

    I totally agree.

    I’m usually in favour of “don’t feed the trolls”. But it’s one thing to be gratuitously mean about someone from the other side of the world who will never know or care what you think. Lana del Rey will survive your character assassination. But Ella is a local girl, and she will read this, as will her Mum and Dad and brothers and sisters. They will be hurt, and that sucks.

    If you don’t like her music, that’s fine, but she’s one of ours, and she deserves your respectful treatment.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3890 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If you don’t like her music, that’s fine, but she’s one of ours, and she deserves your respectful treatment.

    And it's OK for reviewers to slam a performer or performance, as long as they do it professionally. Don't like the music or the performance, up to you, we can disagree. Crass sexual references about a performer cross a line, moreso given her age. Have to ask questions of the publisher at that point.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lilith __,

    They will be hurt, and that sucks.

    That's why I call it bullying.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4452 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Eh I don't think there's an obligation on NZ reviewers to be nicer to locals. In fact I think there's an obligation to be clearer and harsher almost, because of all the incentives to be nice to local work --- including the blatant coziness and backscratching of large chunks of the New Zealand cultural scene.

    Not that that justifies Sweetman, because he is bad and wrong.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Welch, in reply to Lilith __,

    judging by the quotes you have presented here, this time he has gone way too far. NZ’s tall poppy syndrome lives on, sadly…

    I totally agree.

    I totally disagree. This ain’t “tall poppy syndrome” at all. In fact, can we retire the phrase now. It tells us nothing about NZ culture in the 21st century.

    If this were tall poppy syndrome, we’d all be tearing down Lorde because as a culture we can’t handle success. The exact opposite is happening here. Someone gave her a negative review, and the critic himself is being torn to shreds.

    Criticise Sweetman, by all means, but don’t generalise about our (my) culture by saying that the fact that he doesn’t like Lorde tells us much about anything other than what he thinks of Lorde. And do you really think Lorde cares? She has bigger fish to fry.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I don’t think there’s an obligation on NZ reviewers to be nicer to locals

    Being nicer about the music just because it's from here IS annoying. But since he didn't actually review the music, that's a moot point.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 13 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.