Pick Of The ‘Fork: Can You Spot The Fake?

Oct 27th, 2006 // 3 Comments

pitchfork.jpgWelcome to another edition of Pick of the ‘Fork, our weekly look at the prose offered by the number-slinging reviewers at Pitchfork. The drill: We give you four sentences, or snippets of sentences, and you try to pick out our decoy.

We’ll post the results of the poll–and links to the original reviews–later today. Happy guessing!

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  1. shallowrewards

    I generally like Marc Hogan as Pitchfork’s current staff goes, but the marble-mouthed refrigerator-magnet parting shot from his Nuclear City review stabbed me in the brain. I’m impressed that you have so internalized the lyrics of obscure Warner Brothers recording artists, Marc.

    “If it’s not the bomb, then it’s love that will tear us apart.”

    Somebody send him a copy of Bloodletting.

  2. mreasy

    Worse than these intentionally-abstruse gems?

    Today’s ‘Fork is rife with sexism. Nothing new there, but today’s reviews are especially bad. First, Nellie McKay, who last time I checked wasn’t 10, is infantilized by being called a “brat” who threw a “temper tantrum” to get out of an exploitative major-label record contract. (They’ve never affixed this epithet to their nemesis Ryan Adams, who is unabashedly “bratty.” I did a search for “brat” on ‘Fork and didn’t find another time it was directly applied to a musician in a review.)

    Then…far worse…this sentence, in Grayson Currin’s wretched Frida Hyvonen review: “Indeed, perhaps a female songwriter talking about the male anatomy and controlling her own sexuality would still be a valid critical point if, say, the last 60 years of recorded music– from Mabel Scott’s “Baseball Boogie” of 1950 (“Get your bat ready, baby/ If you can hit that ball, you can make a home run”) to Missy Elliott (You fill in the blanks)– didn’t exist.”

    Currin’s point? That Hyvonen’s frank treatments of male anatomy and female sexuality are irrelevant – excuse me, not “valid” – because OTHER FEMALE MUSICIANS HAVE DISCUSSED THE SUBJECTS BEFORE! How, then, does popular music made by males, 90% of which treats female anatomy and male sexuality, continue to be relevant?

    But when a woman discusses them, she “is complicit, if not culpable, in being taken either as a cute pop songbird or a feminist newcomer.” What does that even mean? Later, Currin proves that Hyvonen doesn’t even have this choice, calling her “a diminutive, pretty Scandinavian blonde who plays piano like a panther.” First thing – she’s lovely, yes, but Frida isn’t a tiny girl, and she certainly oughtn’t be called “diminutive”; that would be appropriate if, say, in Lady Sov-style, she referred to herself as a “midget,” making it part of her act. To Currin, Hyvonen would be “diminutive” regardless of her height – he’s proven that by being a female musician who uses her own perspective in discussing sex and relationships, she is already diminished, she is automatically dimished.

    As a woman who works in independent music, I get tired of Pitchfork, to many the public face of “indie rock,” perpetuating this image of small-minded, dateless boy-nerds being the only people who like e.g. Animal Collective. And reviews like these two certainly do a lot to keep it that way.

  3. shallowrewards

    Whoawhoawhoa there mreasy – your premise is flawed. You can’t expect active, consistent editorial oversight here, they’re just a little DIY fanzine, it’s the writer’s opinion, not Pitchfork’s!

    That’s what they hide behind whenever anyone tries to hold them accountable for their content. When they’re selling ads, though, they’re the most important independent music publication on the planet, with over 1.5 million readers a month. If they weren’t so lazy they could resolve that hypocrisy – it’s their key flaw – but aww dude who really has the time, who’s playing this weekend?

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