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“One Particularly Poignant Day on Paste.”

Well, it’s crazy, but my favorite journal, cokemachineglow.com, really is defunct now. I just checked it for the first time in a couple months, and it’s the exact same as when I checked it before. Circa 2010 CMG is a shredding and unstoppable beast, rattling off invincible quips about Women, Four Tet, Flying Lotus et. al., writing these verbose but somehow less sterile and more geographically integral reviews very much in the vein of pitchfork. Man, that Women album Public Strain got me through many an anticlimactic drive, the songs feeding complimentarily into each other like “Narrow with the Hall,” “Drag open” and “Locust Valley.”

Having struck a delicate balance for so long, they apparently ran OUT of ambition, but to me TOO MUCH ambition is a plague every bit as pestilent in various journals which just gnashingly bash everything in sight, from Don Cheadle to British fare, or write in these overly academic sentences set to bizarrely kitschy phonetic rhythms. It’s almost like in this ennui of America where we’re forced to look at Donald Trump’s thoroughly despicable mug every day, [1] the instance of an upstart artistic catalyst initiates such a level of panic in the perceiving mind as to yield an instant confrontational disposition, a certain spiny rigor mortis of deliberately destructive semantics. [2] The need, the craving is there for artistic comeuppance, a leveling of all the machinated tendrils of the corporate machine which have warped our constitutions, our intuitions, our playlists and our discussion topics from time immemorial.
Now, cinematic barbarism from our nation’s leaders is nothing new, we’ve come to expect that in America, but widespread slipshod morality inherent in the general public is another matter. Enter Paste Magazine, folky and alternative leaning and once economically ebullient but victim of humanity per in 2007 their “Radiohead experiment, offering new and current subscribers the ability to pay what they wanted for a one-year subscription to Paste.” [3] The plan backfired, people took advantage of it copiously, the publication was forced to truncate its print edition and go all digital, but one new slogan was borne, in 2009, out of the ordeal, a tagline to go with the ensuing magazine’s masthead: “Signs of life in Music, Film and Culture.”
Let me backtrack a bit here. The ’90’s were, so goes the zeitgeist, a decade of “slackerdom.” [4] “Nirvana,” as we all know, means afterlife spiritual destination, in Buddhist ethos — a concept only remotely fathomable, obviously, during waking life. But in this lies ambition’s wake, a certain contentedness, in this case from art itself.
But rock and roll, itself, is borne on atrocity — the shipment of black people to North America. It rises up from melodic gospel songs and tribal drum patterns — a paradigm of suffering’s evasion by way of the major scale. It’s still possible today, too, see The Struts’ “Kiss This,” although the rest of that album sucks.
Now, sadly, it stands to reason that the people most in a position for enjoying rock and roll are those in the most concentrated respective states of individual suffering. By this logic, the overall pervasion of great music is intrinsically flawed, given that humanity itself is flawed, unfeeling, and slipshod, which it arguably, ARGUABLY, has shown that it is, in the form of people paying $0 for that excellent Radiohead album, and ripping off Paste. Or, rather, there is a mechanism in humanity which can’t help but manifest and emerge as GREED, possibly one of many conflicting factors, but a dominant one, one which tends to outweigh and prevail, in swatch definitive behavior.
So then by this reasoning, Paste’s ambition dissipates, to a certain extent, in exact proportion to the decline of humanity’s worthiness of, or need for, great art, in their eyes. Because I can tell you right now, I am a person, and to me, very few things feel as good as donating to a great charity. It gives you an enormous sense of satisfaction, and what’s more, tells you exactly who you are: it even grants a certain focus and discipline to your ensuing endeavors. Maybe Paste got more vision, truth and discipline than they’d initially bargained for, and on the cover of their website today I saw a rather sad and unassuming, un-revolutionary figure sitting idly and with melancholy physiognomy, staring with a guitar. The title read: “I bet it all.”
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[1] http://www.factmag.com/2016/04/01/fugazi-reunion-5-songs-ep-donald-trump/
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[2] This would be evidenced in Consequence of Sound’s review of Miles ahead, in which the scribe readily and sadistically offers that Cheadle has “given everything he has to the film.”
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[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paste_(magazine)
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[4] Screw Merriam-Webster, it’s a word, in my book.

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