This is going to be highly personal so if that sort of thing bugs you …
Actually, screw it, half you will probably already be schooled in what I want to talk about anyway. Because I’ve spoken with you about it. I feel like I’ve hit, not an impasse exactly, but a frustration point as to what I want 24 Hour Party Pooper to be and what I’ve let it become. Although posting the schedules last week for The Athens PopFest was necessary ( and, as an organizer something I was pretty much beholden to doing) I’m so tired of so many ‘blogs’ having content that amounts to nothing more than short news items. What’s worse is how many items are actually purloined directly from other sources. It’s one thing to pick up on a news story, item, whatever and then post your own take on it but so many people are out there just re-posting the same crap over and over.
I’m starved for good, critical, thoughtful music writing. Sure, it’s out there and I don’t mind hunting it down. But I think mostly I’m starved for a community of thoughtful writers. The nature of the music blog world is now at the point where everyone is so worried about their Technorati rating falling or being a half-second behind someone else posting the new hot shit MP3 that no one seems to care that this potentially wonderful (and largely freely available) means is becoming nothing more than a copy of a copy of a copy. And no one gives a shit enough to say, “Yeah, that Vampire Weekend record really is a shitty album.” Hell, why do that when it’s so much easier just post a string of tour dates and a link to the band’s MySpace page? Get enough hits doing stuff like this and you just might be able to pull down a few thousands dollars a year selling ad space. And publicists will love you, too! (And, yes, that Vampire Weekend record is dog shit and you should feel ripped off.)
The other problem is with myself and my own writing. I constantly fluctuate between venomously ripping an album (or being so excited over a record that I froth at the virtual mouth to tell you in very vague terms how wonderful it is) and writing 5,000 words attempting to find the proper cultural context in which to place a band and their recordings. It’s less Jekyll vs. Hyde than it is hobo vs. historian. But, dammit, I also like to read those styles of writing so I’m stuck there, too. I like Bangs and Marcus. I like Owings and Byron Coley. But, for myself, I’m still trying to reconcile the two sides and am not sure why I feel like I need to necessarily go either way (as if there were no third option available) but I just feel this need to be serious one way or another. Laugh all you want but, to me, this Rock-n-Roll stuff is serious business. Yeah, I mean it. Music is important and for reasons that go far beyond the personal. Nothing is born in a void and when ever a record comes out it is a cultural artifact informed by the culture from which it came. This is especially true if said record was made as a conscious reaction to said culture.
I’m not at all interested in records as commercial products; I’m extremely interested in records as cultural products. No, the two are not at all mutually exclusive but you sure as hell wouldn’t know it with every blog reading as if they were one giant advertisement.
All that said, here’s one of the best songs ever written about the utterly dorky, ridiculously obsessive world of record collecting.