Make no mistake- I think Pitchfork is the most pretentiously douchey (music) publication that has ever existed. But that doesn’t stop me from hate-reading it daily and, even occasionally agreeing with their opinions. This has been especially true over the last several months- Phoenix, Sunn O))), Dinosaur Jr., Mos Def, Isis, Japandroids, and Bat For Lashes have all received their “Best New Music” certification (admittedly, anyone should think these are excellent records, BECAUSE THEY ARE. So it’s not like I’m applauding Pitchfork’s ability to not avoid the fish filling it’s barrel to the brim).
If the worst thing about Pitchfork is their smug, self important “Look how we throw you a curve ball by liking this mainstream pop record and disliking this other beloved-by-blogs indie act” faux-trendsetting additude, then the second worst thing is their incessant need to objectively rate things by placing them in lists, a device pioneered by the other Great Joke Of Music “Journalism,” Rolling Stone Magazine. I can think of few bigger fool’s errands than ranking the degree to which one Arcade Fire song/album is better or worse than one Outkast song/album, except, perhaps, deciding the “#1 Album Of The 60’s.”
However, that is not to say that I disagree with the majority of the choices on their latest listicle “The Top 500 Songs of the 2000s.” However loathe rock n’ roll purists are to admit it, there has been some undeniably great music recorded and released in the last 10 years. (The fact that the last year of the decade is barely 2/3 over doesn’t seem to phase those know-it-alls, however. I’m sure they can look at the rest of the years release schedule and divine its hits and misses. Of Course.) Anyway- like I was saying: the worst thing about Pitchfork lists is not the songs they choose, but the order they rank the in. There should be no question whether or not the following should be on anyone’s list, based on their lasting influence alone: Mastodon, The Roots, Nick Cave, Fugazi, The Strokes, Little Wayne, Pulp, Alicia Keyes, Nine Inch Nails, Boris, QOTSA, Elliott Smith, Primal Scream, Jay- Z, Sigur Ros, Sonic Youth, Kanye, etc. etc. etc. But things get pretty fishy when you start saying that a David Banner song (ANY DAVID BANNER SONG), is better than Beck’s Lost Cause, or an LCD Soundsystem song is even slightly better than Jay-Z’s 99 Problems (or, for that matter, that a different LCD Soundsystem song is better than at least 498 other “great” songs. Even Radiogodhead).
So am I any better for commenting on Pitchfork’s seemingly arbitrary music rankings? Of course not. Am I playing into their hand by semi-publicly commenting on their articles? Probably (I’m sure they wouldn’t mind saying “We make these lists to piss people off!” because they’re insufferable).
To conclude: blahbitty blahbitty blah, I’m bored and Pitchfork is annoying.