Couldn’t agree more. “Pensacola” was my least favorite off Monomania at first. Now I realize it’s incredible.
I wish I could give you a thousand thumbs up.
I would also put “Like New” on my top 10 list.
Someone has a strong opinion. Yeesh. Calm down, there.
On another note, I <3 LOCKETT PUNDT 4EVER.
I love that you put “He Would Have Laughed” at #1. Halcyon Digest is my favorite Deerhunter album, and every time I listen to it I look forward to that song most of all.
I totally agreed with this review when I first listened to the album. I especially disliked the title track. Then something clicked, especially with the second half. Now I think Bankrupt! is almost, if not totally, on par with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. I have a feeling more and more people will have the same experience after giving the album a little bit of time.
New Girl is actually very funny, even if you don’t really like Zooey Deschanel.
I agree with this list, too. The best Spoon albums are a mixture of tightness/coherence and experimentation. Transference was too experimental, and I would argue Gimme Fiction is almost too tight/coherent, which makes it a tad less interesting on repeated listens than Kill the Moonlight or Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. A Series of Sneaks has a lot of great ideas and moments, but it’s too rambling and uneven. AKA, not enough tightness/coherence.
That’s my little philosophy on Spoon albums.
Ben, I think that’s only partially true. I agree that “prepackaged mainstream music” is not as pervasive anymore. When it was pervasive, everyone who identified with indie music had to grasp at and claim everything that was indie, whether it was great or not. Now that mainstream music is no longer a relevant distinction, the stratification of great indie vs. not-so-great indie has bubbled to surface a lot more. In effect, we’ve won the battle against mainstream culture, so we now have the luxury of being nit-picky about our indie. A band that indie culture would almost unanimously praise in 2003 (I.E. The Decemberists) would attract a lot more naysayers in 2013.
However, I’m not arguing that Mumford & Sons would have been more critically accepted 10 years ago. I think in every age of music culture, artists fall into one or both of the categories you talk about: indie and mass culture. These categories will always exist to some degree, and they have only a small correlation to the quality or craftsmanship of the music. Plenty of mass music is of a high quality, and plenty of indie music is of a poor quality. I don’t think any conscientious music lover would argue Mumford & Sons is bad on the grounds that it has mass popularity. On the same note, I don’t think any conscientious music lover should argue that it’s good simply because it’s massively popular. Tom’s article isn’t doing that. He’s merely saying, “Hey, this band is massively popular; we should at least give them a second look and see if there’s a good reason why they are.”
We live in an era of music consumption that is highly individualistic. Hence your conclusion: “you decide what you like.” This individualism is a modern idea, and it has its pros and cons. We can’t listen to, much less judge, music in a vacuum. That’s why we come to an online community to see what others think about music. In some cases, we find that an artist garners a ton of praise, and the people who don’t enjoy that music are at least willing to concede that, while they don’t enjoy it, they know it’s quality music. Thus, their judgment falls under the realm of taste. You’ll hear people say something like “I’m not really into R&B, but I can see why people really like Frank Ocean.” That’s usually a sign that the artist in question is good. In other cases, an artist will be much more polarizing, with some people absolutely hating the artist and trying to argue against them with objective criteria. I do believe in objective criteria, and I do believe that Mumford & Suns fall short of those criteria almost across the board. Tom didn’t dare to compare Mumford & Sons with Led Zeppelin; he did, however, compare them to Skrillex. My guess is that even he knows it’s because there’s a fundamental, objective difference in quality that tends to get pretty well sorted out in retrospect.
My point is this. We can say to one another, “you decide what you like.” But as conscientious consumers of music in a community of other consumers, don’t we have a responsibility to steer our neighbors clear of bad music when we can? Not with superiority, smugness, or aggression, granted, but at least with conviction.
I revisited this album for the first time in a long time recently while driving across the country. I played this particular album at the start of my trip, around 3 in the morning. Let me just say, that is one of the best moments to experience it.
Fun song. Terrible music video.
The man is NOT a musicless tire factory.
I’m not even kidding, that “Handwritten” music video got me all teary-eyed like a little school girl. What is wrong with me.
It sounds like Snaith is trying to appeal to a sort of grassroots EDM movement, but I don’t know enough about the history of EDM to tell whether “Ye Ye” achieves that or not.
Can anyone shed some light on this for me?
I like this song. It almost sounds like early Spoon to me.
Rick, what headphones do you use? Maybe I can buy them and find out what you’re talking about.
Finally, a proper home for Drake’s vast antique book collection.
Tom and Katie are back together?? And they’re having a kid named Coachella?!?!
I don’t know if I love or hate what Kitty Pryde represents. Either way, I’m kind of fascinated.
I really enjoyed reading this, thanks!
Breaking News: Stereogum issues the first ever ALBUM*S* OF THE WEEK to both Confess and Channel Orange!
No? Oh. Hm.
Major psychedelic boner right now.
Hearts and Diamonds are gonna be pissed when they see this.