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“Where Would We Be without Our Platitudinous Categories?”

Categories, scatter-gories. Somebody always has to come out with a really stupid statement, to remind us all how smart WE are. Note the sarcasm, the implication of the phantasmic, there.

I just saw Whip-Smart, Liz Phair’s second album, described as “Mainstream Alternative Rock.” I WANNA believe this guy. I don’t want to ruin his bar-mitzfah, ya know. I don’t want to be a prick. But “Mainstream Alternative Rock”? I mean, God forbid we could just say, Liz Phair just took over the world, became the first female president of the United States and mandated chimichanga vendors on every block, or whatever Liz Phair would do if she were president. No, that would be too progressive. We have to place music inside this basset hound kennel of “Mainstream Alternative Rock,” an utter oxymoron, obviously, so that a bunch of douche bags will remember that “Mainstream Rock” is different, and write songs about their honeys waiting for them on the other side of an Iraq Smart Phone…
Music is like a big board game. It’s like Chutes and Ladders — the mainstream is the chutes, and the underground is that ladders. They’re always working in tandem, too, always chafing each other, now with Taylor Swift even attempting to diss on “indie” records in that “We Are Never Getting Back Together” song (I really hope Iggy Azalea sues Taylor Swift over “Bad Blood”), and financial income and musical quality sometimes seeming almost mutually exclusive. Mike Pace of Oxford Collapse told me that “Clearly online sharing has killed music commerce.” There are the lucky ones, though, like The New Pornographers (it’s not actually luck), who sell a song to a commercial (“The Bleeding Heart Show”) like Modest Mouse did with the great “Gravity Rides Everything,” and there’s Pandora playing in bars in towns like Asheville, Pavement Grizzly Bear, but up here in the north it seems like everybody just wants to play Satan, and condescend toward music that shirks convention. Perry Farrell couldn’t even get underground acts to headline Lollapalooza. That Charley XCX chick is just a joke. Did it ever occur to people that THIS would contribute toward a narrowing of the socioeconomic gap? But then, where would we get the friction? If the world were perfect, what would be the point of living in it? Because then we’d know that if we weren’t happy, then WE weren’t perfect, and how would we handle that? Find someone else to hate. But we’ve already got it. Aren’t we lucky.

 

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