Author Topic: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009  (Read 5164 times)

Pat K

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THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« on: January 13, 2010, 09:49:32 AM »
Robert Christgau's Best Albums of 2009


It looks like The Dean of American Rock Critics forgot to include any actual rock music in his top 5.

Can we all pretty much agree that this guy is the worst ever? Seriously, is there any living person on planet Earth who actually looks to this man for insight about music?


I'm warning you with peace and love.

mackro

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2010, 10:34:41 AM »
Robert Christgau's Best Albums of 2009


It looks like The Dean of American Rock Critics forgot to include any actual rock music in his top 5.

Can we all pretty much agree that this guy is the worst ever? Seriously, is there any living person on planet Earth who actually looks to this man for insight about music?




I don't agree with Christgau all the time, but I highly respect him for cutting through the rock vs. pop vs. whatever thing.  His column is a lot more entertaining than many preaching-to-the-choir publications.

So, in brief, I guess I disagree with you.


Pat K

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2010, 11:13:12 AM »
I highly respect him for cutting through the rock vs. pop vs. whatever thing. 

I get that that's his thing and all, but I think one can make a pretty healthy case for the argument that, with Brad Paisley at #1 and the Black Eyed Peas at #5, perhaps the pendulum has swung a little too far in one direction.

With a top 20 that includes those two gems as well as Miranda Lambert, Lily Allen, Willie Nelson, Louden Wainwright, and Nellie McKay's tribute to Doris Day, I just don't understand why this guy considered the King of Music Crit, as opposed to the music editors at People or Newsweek.
I'm warning you with peace and love.

mackro

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2010, 11:56:03 AM »
Apologies for anyone that works at People or Newsweek, but I've never read a music review there I remembered.

King, Dean, Blah, whatever. It's just a title. Ignore it.


todd

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2010, 12:07:24 PM »
I highly respect him for cutting through the rock vs. pop vs. whatever thing. 

I get that that's his thing and all, but I think one can make a pretty healthy case for the argument that, with Brad Paisley at #1 and the Black Eyed Peas at #5, perhaps the pendulum has swung a little too far in one direction.

With a top 20 that includes those two gems as well as Miranda Lambert, Lily Allen, Willie Nelson, Louden Wainwright, and Nellie McKay's tribute to Doris Day, I just don't understand why this guy considered the King of Music Crit, as opposed to the music editors at People or Newsweek.

While I agree, who are the good ones? Are there good ones? I feel like music criticism is pretty useless.

Where DO people find out about new music these days?

daveB from Oakland

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2010, 12:18:46 PM »
^^^^^^^^^^

shovel.com
"He didn't sound like a human when I was talking to him ... he sounded like a shape ... what's that shape of that building ... you know, where the Army lives?" -- Bryce, 11/24/2009

todd

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2010, 12:19:47 PM »
uggghhhhhh

Bryan

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2010, 12:23:45 PM »
^^^^^^^^^^

shovel.com

Yep, and blogs, 'FMU and also right here on this board. Maybe this is stating the obvious...?

I generally agree that most music criticism doesn't have much value for me. For me (probably just because I don't have much of a musical vocabulary), the most useful thing rock criticism can do is say, "if you like band X, you might like this new band Y". I would guess though, that in most serious critics' minds, that's the laziest approach.

not that clay

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2010, 12:26:18 PM »
Robert Christgau's Best Albums of 2009


It looks like The Dean of American Rock Critics forgot to include any actual rock music in his top 5.

Can we all pretty much agree that this guy is the worst ever? Seriously, is there any living person on planet Earth who actually looks to this man for insight about music?




I guess you've never heard of Greil Marcus.

(By that I mean Marcus is worse)

Pat K

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2010, 12:35:50 PM »
In case anyone missed it, here's XGau's #62:

Quote
62. Jozef van Wissem: A Rose by Any Other Name: Anonymous Lute Solos of the Golden Age (Incunabulum '06)

Seriously, is this guy just fucking with me?
I'm warning you with peace and love.

todd

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2010, 01:20:26 PM »
^^^^^^^^^^

shovel.com

Yep, and blogs, 'FMU and also right here on this board. Maybe this is stating the obvious...?

I generally agree that most music criticism doesn't have much value for me. For me (probably just because I don't have much of a musical vocabulary), the most useful thing rock criticism can do is say, "if you like band X, you might like this new band Y". I would guess though, that in most serious critics' minds, that's the laziest approach.

Can you share some good music blogs? Thanks!

cutout

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2010, 10:39:27 PM »
I enjoy Dusted Magazine overall for reviews/reviewers - http://www.dustedmagazine.com/reviews/

mackro

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2010, 11:31:46 PM »
More thinking about this, and I stress this isn't a reply to Pat K per se:

Music critics just can't be canonized, can they? (Outside music critic circles that is.)  Musicians certainly can.. you don't have to be into music to know who Dylan or Pink Floyd or Michael Jackson are.   But I doubt anyone on that same cursory level (which is a perfectly healthy level to have!  I kinda envy it sometimes) knows a thing about Christgau, Marcus, Bangs, Meltzer, Leland, Eddy, and too many others to name.

Part of the former feeds into the latter.  Some people are comfortable with certain groups remaining in each's personal throne of music... so the whole notion of a music critic must seem *disgusting* to people who have a more monarchical take on musicians.  But critics just asked to be burned in such a point of view.  They are The Devil.  But hey, that's normal.

To people who are far more into music, technology has made it a LOT easier for one to go online and post an informed opinion in public. "Informed" is a relative term, but that's not the crux.  It's the "in public" part.  So basically anyone can be an Informed Music Critic for free on the net.  So, to many, reading people like Christgau, Eddy, etc. certainly injects a lot of self-empowerment i.e. "Hey Christgau, looks like my site is just as accessible as yours. How you like THEM apples?"  Which is fine, too.

So why am I rambling?  Because there is so much history lost here.  Christgau had his gig for decades until just a few years ago when Village Voice became Village Voice Media i.e. New Times, and he was laid off.  Most people unsurprisingly shrugged...

...BUT -- ok, here comes the Velvet Underground analogy -- Christgau may have been known by about a few thousand readers.  But most of those readers went on to be inspired and formed their own forays into music criticism and music journalism that even casual music fans know today... Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, SPIN, etc.

The history loss comes in because a lot of the institutions built by the inspirees of Christgau, Eddy, etc. have creatively and/or financially collapsed.  When the music industry is dying, all the interconnected pieces fall too.  If they don't fall, they *creatively* fall.  (Granted, Rolling Stone and SPIN have been "falling" for quite a while, but the turnover rate in the staff might as well make these publications seem like refurbished new entities anyway.)

Music criticism has taken the worst hit as far as public opinion.  I love the self empowerment and fort building that technology gives artists.  That same state of affairs is poison to people who once made a living writing, whether writing very well or very poorly, about music for a living.  The critic industry is in a coma.

So, it kinda saddens me when I open up a thread and it's all "GOD, Christgau is like the WORST THING ever."  There's so much disconnection and so much unneeded anger, yet I can't avoid threads like this wherever I go.  I'm not upset, but I'm posting this in hopes that some of you kinda get where I'm coming from... I hope?

P.S. See what happens when you're on Twitter a lot?  You start posting rambling essays on the FOT board!


ImitationBlackTurtleNeck

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2010, 11:55:44 PM »
I like Christgau just fine and find some of his reviews highly insightful. His longer articles, archived at his site, are often better. I agree that list is not too awe-inspiring (read: awful), but his consumer reports @ msn have been pretty sharp this year.

I guess I'm not sure what you think the value of criticism is...that is, I'm not sure any criticism "matters." It's writing about art, music, books, architecture, theatre, movies, whatever, that tries to understand the subject matter. Or the people making the work. Or how the work reflects what's happening in larger culture. Music criticism tends to be bad probably because the reviewers tend to be the youngest and least experienced. And music is cool, so it attracts more people than architecture or whatever.

daveB from Oakland

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Re: THE DEAN'S LIST: Robert Christgau's best albums of 2009
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2010, 02:50:52 AM »
Historical perspective ...

I think Christgau had a pretty good sense of What Was Great about Led & the Zeppelins, while simultaneously being in tune with What Was Ridiculous about them:

http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=Led+Zeppelin

I had a similarly simpatico reaction while reading his capsule reviews of Funkadelic's discography.

I guess you can plug whatever band interests you into this site. It's interesting to see his at-the-moment reactions to canonical (?) works.

As far as music of more recent vintage, probably his instincts are not as solid. Whatever. Neither are mine.

"He didn't sound like a human when I was talking to him ... he sounded like a shape ... what's that shape of that building ... you know, where the Army lives?" -- Bryce, 11/24/2009