(Not) Rock-Critically Correct: “Village Voice” Flunks The Intern’s Test


And now it’s time for another installment of Rock-Critically Correct–except this time we’ve made a few changes to the feature. After the jump, our non-anonymous correspondent critiques the most recent Village Voice music section, where she used to be an intern.

Lindsay Anne Arnold is currently studying communications at New York University. Ms. Arnold holds the record for the shortest amount of time ever spent in the Voice music intern’s chair–a scant nine days. (Even Megan Mullally’s talk show held out longer than that, Lindsay.) When we asked her if she would be interested in anonymously running down the latest Voice music section, she agreed, on the conditions that a.) we pay her in “dorm bucks” and b.) she got to sign her name to her work.

Being a music intern sucks. You’re forced to listen to, like, the worst music ever, for one thing. And going into work always feels like you’re going into a frat house or a porn shop or something. When I filled out my application for the Voice, I specifically wrote no music section, please! Well, you can guess where they stuck me. Everyone who works at an alt-weekly is a sadist who used to snap bras, even the girls, and especially the girls who administer the internship programs. When I was going to school in Baltimore before I transferred to NYU, I interned at one of the papers there and I got stuck in the music editor’s office. The guy always looked like he had just woken up under a pile of gym socks and he was always scratching himself in places that I don’t really want to think about. He needed to get laid, bad. Also one time he hit me up for five dollars.

Anyway, in this week’s Voice snooz-ic section, Rob Harvilla’s “Down In Front” column features a pregnant woman who plays bass. I didn’t really get it. Also I don’t know if this has anything to do with anything, but when I worked there, this guy, I dunno if he was the janitor or the editor-in-chief or what, would come up to me sometimes and sheepishly ask to touch my belly. You know, whatever, I had a belly. Freshman 15. So a couple times I let him do it because I felt sorry for him or I thought maybe I’d get transferred or whatever, thank God, and he’d walk away muttering something about “I can feel it kicking…I can feel it kicking…” I’m not saying the guy had a pregnant chick fetish or anything, but he always smelled like Desitin.

Ben Westhoff wrote something about…MTV? I couldn’t really follow it–it jumped around a lot. Something about how it was cool that MTV was showing videos instead of that awesome and hilarious show where the girls walk through the boys bedrooms with the blacklight to see where they, you know, messed their beds. One time it was–ewww–on the wall. I told my little brother the show was being broadcast from inside our house. He didn’t think that was too funny. This Westhoff guy kinda writes like how my aunt Gina (who is also a music writer, don’t ask me why) talks on Thanksgiving after a few glasses of box wine: “We won, we won…” I always have to help her put her shoes on and drive her home.

Mordechai Shinefield wrote something about the Used, who are apparently a screamo band and that stuff is played out. He’s got a good name though. Music critics always seem to have made-up sounding names. Like Grayson Currin or Alexander Lloyd Lindhardt or Michaelangelo Matos or Sam Ubl, which is more consonants than vowels. I wouldn’t, like, date these guys, because their names make them sound like they wear sweaters knotted around their necks or have the pinky fingers of their victims in a Christmas cookie tin under their beds. They’re good names, though.

Michael D. Ayers wrote about a band called Parts and Labor who play “art-jam-noise.” I like jam bands, so I downloaded some of this stuff. It sounded like a sheep taking a dump with a Green Day album playing underneath it! Maybe the sheep pooping part is the “art” part, I dunno. Like one time, back in Baltimore, the music editor told me, “art in music is like pornography–you know it when you get a hard-on.” That’s when I asked to be moved down to the IT offices.

Christopher R. Weingarten wrote about a bunch of hip-hop songs. These were the first songs that I had any idea what they were or who they were by. So Christopher R. Weingarten is okay in Lindsay’s book. Then I looked back at the Parts and Labor article and saw that this guy is their drummer! I have about just as much of a problem with drummers as I do with rock critics so I can only imagine what this guy is like. When I was working at this kitchen supply store in the summer between freshman and sophomore year, I started dating this drummer who worked in the stockroom. But then he turned out be 32, divorced, living above his parents’ garage, and the kind of guy who clipped his toenails over the lunch room trash can on his break. And then he got fired for stealing whippets to sell to grade school kids out of his Hyundai. And then he turned out to not even really be a drummer, but that’s really neither here nor there.

Michael Hoinski wrote about a country band that apparently sounds like the Ramones. Zzzzz, right? BRB, I need to go get some coffee.

Mikael Wood wrote about a band called Lavender Diamond, which is a good name. After reading it, I really still have no idea what their music sounds like though. Judging by the picture I’m gonna guess indie-rock. There’s a guy wearing Chuck Taylors with a suit. Not a good look, guys. First girl (other than the pregnant lady, I dunno if that counts) in the entire section. Note!

Phil Freeman wrote an article on a salsa label called Fania. He talks about not liking salsa at first because his neighbors used to play it all the time. The guy that used to live below me in my dorm used to play the same heavy metal song 18 or 62 times every day. I mean, I assume it was the same song. It all sounds like that Parts and Labor sheep taking a dump to me. So I put up with this for four or five months–waah waah, kill for satan, eat baby heads, drink the blood of the non-believers–until I finally had enough. I “got my Irish up” as my mother always says, even though we’re Jewish. So I storm downstairs and prepare to beat on the door and suddenly the metal song stops! I press my ear against the door and I hear this music playing faintly. It was that guy my dad likes so much…ummm…Michael McDonald! And the heavy metal guy in the background kinda sobbing into his pillow and singing along through the sobs. That was kinda weird. This Freeman guy seems like that. Angry–but the kind of angry guy who secretly cries to Michael McDonald songs. And that stacks empty pizza boxes outside his room until his RA has to leave a note on his door.

In summary, I thought this week’s Voice music section sucked about as much as as any alt-weekly music section…Wait, I have to look at the blogs too?? Okay so there’s this blog called Status Ain’t Hood and it’s written by this gentle giant named Tom Breihan who always used to be lurking around and peering over the partitions of the cubicles at the Voice office like the guy in that movie Big Fish. He’s talking about Kanye West and he’s going on and on and saying stuff like “ethereal synth arpeggio.” He’s kinda doing his own thing apart from the section, I guess, like when President Bush talks about “rogue nations.” When I’m an editor at an alt-weekly (supposedly you have to be before you can get a real job at a newspaper) I’m going to institute two rules. 1.) No blogs. And 2.) Nobody who writes for “Pitchfork” gets to work there. Oh and every music editor has to work in the basement like Sloth from Goonies. Can I go now?

village voice > music [villagevoice.com]