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“Weighing the Pros and Cons of My NME Subscription Thus Far”

Having fun has always been my primary objective in life, and I wouldn’t say I’ve always been kind about it. For college, I chose the big school, IU, that had the most concerts, had the most victims of this sweeping epidemic known as “alcoholism,” had the most instances of wall graffiti featuring inspirational tenets like “Meandering Butt Pole.”

Still, working as a cook in a bar and grille for the last year and a half as I have done, you sort of get the errant EXTREME of this debauched paradigm — artists now gaining fame for living fast lifestyles (or claiming to) — your Charli XCX’s of the world, your Macklemores, your Bruno Mars’. It makes you see what the big American “machine” is — even your Fetty Waps.
And probably, for me, the biggest disappointment, or at least surprise, with NME, is that they’re not purely music “snobs” — or, at least, they’re not music “nerds.” I mean, it’s hard to imagine any music “nerd” abiding a Fetty Wap whose song goes “She’s fine / I wonder when she’ll be mine / She walks past I press rewind / To see that a** one more time / And I got this sowed up.”
Ok, let me backtrack and say that I am white, so maybe I have no right to judge black music — and indeed rhythmically, and in unfortunate cultural hipness (tragically hip), the song does stack up on Smokin’ 99.1 against Fabolous’ “Baby Don’t Go” et. al., and that is no small achievement. Still, Fetty Wap seems at best a pastiche of a human being (believe it or not, guys are not sex-bots, we’re human beings), and part of this “stupidity” shtick seems tied into his very delivery, which sounds like he has Downs’ Syndrome or something. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Then, what surprised me mildly, but not as acutely as the Fetty Wap championing, was all the press to Kanye, and what’s more the UNABASHED support of what’s become the deliberate public buffoon, again I think SELF-GRANTING an artificial one-track mind, and selling it because… that’s what sells. Nobody paying even casual attention to Kanye’s exploits in the media lately should have any interest in his “music” — he’s not even passing himself off as a grown man, let alone an anxiety-ridden muse eager to paint new melodies and beats on our mental canvas.
I mean, does Kendrick Lamar ever talk to the press? Fu** no. He’s preoccupied not with being a good emcee, but a dominant, legendary one. NME had Lamar second of the year behind Grimes… and while I love Grimes, love Art Angels, I would persecute that ordering of things on sole grounds of the songs on Art Angels being too short: it’s not a fully indulgent project, she’s saving herself for her live show. Lamar is rapping for people in the ghetto who can’t afford concerts — he knows it’s all on the internet, but still, he leaves everything on wax. [1] [2] [3]
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[1] Another note on NME’s British coverage of hip-hop: I discount fervently any list which features Drake ahead of Earl Sweatshirt as Drake heavily borrowed from the latter’s idea for album cover, aside from the fact that Earl Sweatshirt makes way more American hip-hop headway (being American, imagine that!)
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[2] Props though to NME for at least repping England and including Blur’s truculent and succulent The Magic Whip at #15 on their year-end list (I had it at 7); I believe only about three out of the 10 journals I read had it on their list, and this was upsetting to me, it’s a real rockin’ ride.
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[3] The main other thing to talk about with NME is that they do have an albeit time-honored sense of humor (as in, you wonder how many of the histrionics were actually invented by the current editors, probably not many)… but the “Godlike Genius Awards,” and just the hilarity of the selections — U2, Coldplay, Oasis. I’m talking like THE MOST HATED BANDS ON THE PLANET. And they pass it off as if it’s bands they like. I remember cokemachineglow.com calling U2’s “The Fly” “indie,” but they’d also use U2 as a pejorative to compare Broken Social Scene’s Forgiveness Rock Record to. Well, the fact that “indie” is now all but a pejorative in itself, combined with the amount of time since Coldplay’s hatching, should show you how dated this whole “Godlike Genius Award” thing is. Still, it is momentarily amusing for the novice American.

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