Billboard Staff: “The 5 Worst (and Best) Ad Songs of All Time”
(Ad Week, June 2, 2009)
So, basically, the Buzzcocks and Violent Femmes suck for letting their songs be used for ads, but it’s OK for Os Mutante to let McDonald’s use a song, or Caesars (who?) to shill for Apple? And it’s OK for milquetoast crap like the Seekers to shill for Coke? And the Nike “Revolution” commercial is a great one? (Not for the Beatles or the backlash that Nike got, that’s for sure). And maybe it wasn’t cool for Dylan or Devo to bend over backwards to make commercials, but that’s been a pop tradition since Sonny Boy Williamson shilled for King Biscuit flour, and way before that too. Don’t these guys know anything?
Glenn Branca: “The End of Music”
(New York Times, November 24, 2009)
When telling us that nothing important happened in the music world for decades, he was noticeably very skimpy on any specific examples. If anyone who wasn’t a noted composer wrote a tired piece like that for The New York Times, they wouldn’t be published. It’s obvious why they printed it, but the editors there should also realize that just because a name-brand writes something, that doesn’t mean it’s a good article worth presenting to their audience. Also, if you want to follow his logic that nothing important in the music world has happened in the last 50 years, then we shouldn’t pay any attention to Branca himself, right?
Eric Felten: “That Synching Feeling”
(Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2009)
Ideally, we’d all like the performances we see to be live, but Felten is remarkably ignorant about the phenomenon. Does he say a word about the thousands of performers who faked playing on TV shows to give some historic perspective? Nope. When he assails Yo Yo Ma for playing synched music at the inauguration, does he mention how vulnerable stringed instruments are to the chilly weather that occurred that day? Nope. Anything about ghost writers or other parallels to other art forms? Nope. Would you think that a guy like Felten, who happens to be a musician, might know about these things? Yep.
Scott Galupo “Whither the Superstar?”
(Washington Times, July 3rd, 2009)
Have you lost count of how many times Michael Jackson got named as the last music superstar? Well, here’s yet another article claiming that and making it a headline. There’s nothing about Madonna, Macca, Jay Z, Bono, or Beyonce (though Prince gets name-checked), all of whom haven’t had terrible fates. Also, there’s nothing to read here about how superstar status is changing (not dying as claimed here) in the Internet age. Then again, what do you expect from a right-wing Moonie rag?
Jeff Heinrich: “Maria with the Long Bare Arms”
(The Gazette, July 2, 2009)
Reader Jennifer Bell: “I am torn as to whether the article is more offensive because of the author’s complete lack of knowledge of jazz generally and big bands specifically, or its blatantly sexist, ageist and misogynist tone.” To which I’d add that unfortunately, the controversy will probably keep Heinrich employed here or elsewhere since he’s causing such a stir.
Jeff Price: “From MTV to YouTube: When the Net Pays Everyone but the Musician”
(Huffington Post, Posted January 6, 2009)
It starts out sounding like a reasonable think piece about musicians getting paid in the digital age, and how MTV used bands and labels to build themselves up. But then it turns into an ad for his own service, to connect musicians with advertisers. A shabby misstep on the part of the Huffington Post.
Reiham Salam: “The Hipster Depression”
(The Atlantic, March 24, 2009)
If you need a very lazy zeitgeist survey that’s low on examples and loaded with half-formed thoughts, then this article’s for you. Most likely, the editor wanted the scribe to come up with some punchy hook which summed up the whole SXSW festival, but settled on squeezing a few observations from a handful of bands and passing that off as cultural critique. If you need wrong-headed music biz chatter, stick with Bobby “Back in my day” Lefsetz—he’s become a pathetic moron, but at least you can laugh at him.
// Notes from the Road
"Philip Glass, the artistic director of the Tibet House benefits, celebrated his 80th birthday at this year's annual benefit with performances from Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Brittany Howard, Sufjan Stevens and more.READ the article