“New York Times” Still Allowing Serial Charticlist To Run Amok

Aug 19th, 2008 // 13 Comments

jamonit.pngThe front page of today’s New York Times arts section was overtaken by yet another “whimsicial” music-related graph by Andrew Kuo, an artist who’s been making inscrutable charts of his music-consumption habits for Times‘ readers perusal for a little over a year now. This time, the subject is the ever-popular topic of “songs of the summer.” In it, we learn that he really enjoys Hotstylz’ “Lookin Boy” and Lil Wayne; also, he has zero familiarity with Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” and thus has no opinion on it, a super-contrarian pose that leads me to believe that he either doesn’t leave the house much or only visits bodegas whose ambient radio choices he approves of. (Or he’s fibbing to be “funny,” but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.)

Kuo’s charts have revealed a few tidbits about his likes and dislikes:

• His radio stations of choice: Power 105 or Hot 97. BUT NOT Z100. NEVER.
• He goes to shows at McCarren Pool and other Brooklyn Vegan-approved venues.
• His font choices are similar to those of Wes Anderson.
• He really, really likes Lil Wayne.
• He was clearly scarred by Lollapalooza 2.

And… that’s it. You know, it’s nice that the Times wants to break up its pages with pretty images, but it would be an awful lot nicer if those charts actually, y’know, said something beyond “Futura is almost as awesome as Da Drought 3, you guys.” I don’t have a problem with people taking music criticism in new and exciting directions, but I do have a slight issue with a joke being beaten into the ground, especially when said joke wasn’t even “ha-ha” funny when it first came out. Clearly, it’s time to whip out the response Jess crafted back in January one more time:


Color Them Summer’s Hottest Songs [NYT]

[Addendum: Apparently the colors on the Web version are messed up, too. Oh, Times!]

  1. janine

    It’s not hard to avoid Katy Perry. I’ve only heard that song once.

  2. Clevertrousers

    The only radio I bother to listen to anymore is WFMU, WNYC and WNYE. Lo-Fi and/or local. Everything else sucks the hawg.

  3. Maura Johnston

  4. Nicolars

    @janine: It’s harder that I would have hoped! If I never have to listen to one bar of her music again, I will still have been exposed to her aural pollution way too many times this summer.

  5. Rob Murphy

    Also, that long-ass paragraph at the bottom of the chart is actually a shorter-ass paragraph repeated again.

  6. Ned Raggett

    @janine: I think I’ve heard five seconds of it. It was enough.

  7. mishaps

    See, I read that “huh?” as a “how is this song even on this list?” sort of “huh” not a “never heard of it.”

  8. Anonymous

    I heard him speak at a design lecture a couple of months back. He made it sound like he doesn’t leave the house much (hipster shut-in?) but it seems like part of the pose.

    Interesting idea — the first couple times — but lazy execution.

  9. janine

    @Ned Raggett: All I needed was five seconds, but I made sure to finish so I could feel completely justified when I dogged her.

  10. Maura Johnston

    @mishaps: but that’s even worse, given that this list was crafted by him.

  11. janine

    @revmatty: I heard it on the internet. I was kind of rickrolled, because I thought I was getting Jill Sobule or a cover of her song.

  12. kicking222

    I assumed that he meant re: “I Kissed a Girl” that he didn’t understand why it was ever popular in the first place, not that he’d never heard it.

    I like Kuo’s charts. I tried to find an archive of them on nytimes.com today, only to find that no such thing exists. I consider that pretty ridiculous- why not have his name be a link, as it would for any other byline?

  13. revmatty

    @janine: I’ve never heard it. Not through conscious effort though: I don’t listen to radio at all.

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