What I see with all of these angry people saying “I’ve never heard of Arcade Fire, therefore they must suck” is angry people going out of their way to declare their ignorance about something. They’re taking pride in their very narrow, commercial tastes the way you’d expect people with more expansive tastes to. This is pretty strange because, well, people usually brag about what they do know, rather than what they don’t know.
The thing about indie music is that it’s something that takes a lot of time and effort to be serious about. Sure, you may be perceived as being pretentious for reading Pitchfork all of the time, but it’s still something that has to be continually worked on and may therefore be considered a legitimate source of pride, just like the in-depth study of any other subject. On the other hand, anyone who is even remotely conscious of American pop music knows who Eminem, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga are. It takes absolutely no effort to become familiar with their hits, because they are incredibly pervasive. Arcade Fire’s album debuted at #1, meaning that they have a lot of listeners, but they remain largely on the fringes in terms of the coverage they receive, hence the confused tweets.
Regarding all of the naysayers who think that someone more mainstream should have won: is it really too much to ask for people who are not knowledgeable about something to not try to speak about that subject? The fear of the unknown is a common phenomena, and it appears that the uninformed opinion is as well. It seems much simpler to just quietly acknowledge something’s existence rather than go out of your way to denounce it. It’s okay, everyone has their own set of interests and talents, and if you’re not good at reading about indie bands on the internet, you’re probably good at something else.
However, it is acceptable to say that something sucks without ever consuming it in the cases of the television shows Two and a Half Men and Outsourced.
I got to see Oberhofer opening for Tapes ‘n Tapes last night. I’d heard a lot of good things about them and had semi-high expectations, but they definitely stole the show. Visible energy is always impressive. Pictures soon!
I’d like to start this by saying that I actually do like Lady Gaga. While she doesn’t necessarily deserve to call herself one of the best songwriters in the industry–”I’m up in the club and I’m sippin’ that bub and you’re not gonna reach my telephone” doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the table–she possesses an exceptional vocal talent. ”Bad Romance” is nothing short of a triumph of pop music. In an environment where pop singers are typically seen as force-fed puppets, Lady Gaga has made concerted efforts to assert her own sense of style. This is good, because it’s made her a compelling figure whose attention to detail makes her stand out, but you have to wonder if it’s also given her an overwhelming sense of self-importance.
I speak, of course, of new song “Born This Way,” in which Lady Gaga professes support for a full gamut of oppressed peoples. If you have been on the internet at all recently, you know that the song contains the line “You’re black, white, beige, chola descent / You’re Lebanese, you’re Orient.” This is pretty obviously offensive! ”You’re Orient” may be minor compared to the crasser racial sins of Robyn, Nicki Minaj, and Gwen Stefani, but it’s still evidence of a striking ignorance. Italians are historically on a different level on the scale of whiteness used in America, but that’s obviously not a concern here. What we have is someone who will never experience being black/mixed-race/Latin@/Lebanese/Asian trying to speak for those who are.
There’s also the issue of “The Great Gay Pander-Off.” Though Lady Gaga may not have also had a song called “Ur So Gay,” it remains debatable as to how genuine she is. While she has spoken out extensively about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, it’s easy to be skeptical as to whether or not she’s just doing to further her image. Lady Gaga is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, but she also loves making herself out to be a champion of the outcast, generating a false sense of subversion from listening to music that’s realistically not very challenging.
In spite of the self-congratulatory tone, at least Lady Gaga stays consistent with her message, misguided as she may be. I don’t think I need to say anything aboutKaty Perry going from “Ur So Gay” to “Firework,” or Ke$ha claiming that “We R Who We R” was inspired by gay suicides, but also singing things like, “I don’t want to date a dude with a vag.” Considering that music is ultimately a product associated with a personal brand, that particular move of Katy Perry’s is akin to American Apparel trying to go classy–consumers will never forget the metallic gold booty shorts. Lady Gaga has built her own image, but it’s not as carefully-crafted as it appears if its foundation is sheer mindless egoism.