Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I Can't Believe He Actually Put the Accent Over the "U"

It's actually completely coincidental that September, the month I've declared the "I Hate Tommy Bartlett" month, has five Wednesdays in it this year. Just more of my vitriol to suck down, beloved friends!

So, aside from the fact that he, very pretentiously, put the accent over the "u" in Medulla (the frickin' album cover doesn't even use the accent), Tommy's actually pretty right-on in his reading of the album. "I think Medulla is brilliant, one of the best records I've heard this year. I also think it's the least successful of Bjork's five studio albums."

As I've stated elsewhere on this blog, I feel like Bjork's all-vocal mission led her astray when it came to the lighter, funner, more dance-y tracks, so I'm inclined to agree with his statement that "Desired Constellation" is one of the better cuts. However, I will take him ever so slightly to task here for choosing that song specifically; I feel like part of the reason "Desired Constellation" is so easy to relate to and love is because it sounds the most similar to the bulk of Vespertine. (It was kind of hard for me to believe when I checked the liner notes that Matmos weren't responsible for the programming; I could have sworn that dark, dense glitch-field had their fingerprints all over it.) So, Tommy, though it's totally valid to make the distinction between the all-vocal tracks and the ones that use more actual instruments and programming, maybe you're just having nostalgia for an album you've already digested.

[Side note: as ever, Bjork discussing her own work is vastly more interesting than most anything the music critics are saying about it. A friend recently pointed me in the direction of this brief but thought-provoking interview from Newsweek.]

Ah. Now on to the mock-worthy nit-picks.

What's with the proliferation of short parenthetical phrases this week?

"(mostly rapturous praise)"



"(I might as well say it)"

I love the kind of borderline autistic ruts he gets into, where he locks on to a phrase or a rhythm in his writing that he just uses over and over and over again in the SAME damn column. I know I can get kind of redundant in my own writing; we all have our pet words and phrases we trot out more frequently than we'd like to admit. But his tics become almost comical in their frequency and density.

Also, calling The Arcade Fire "the most hyped band of the moment"? Hilarious. I mean, yeah, Pitchfork has annointed Funeral as among the best new music of 2004, but there's just something so wonderfully, pathetically snobby the exclusionary diction there. "Wellllll, YOU may not have heard of this band, my dear, sweet child, but if you were privileged enough to rub shoulders with the cabal of brilliant, underappreciated artistic types I run with here in New York, you would certainly know what I'm talking about. But you don't live a life as fantastically urban, or urbane, as mine, so allow me to feed my opinions and prejudices directly to you."

Only one Wednesday left in September, kittens. Get your vitriol while it's hot. (Though if you think I'll permanently swear off giving him a hard time just because the month is over, you're sorely, sorely mistaken. Tommy Bartlett will always have a special place in my spleen.)

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