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Ths Strokes
October 10, 2004 10:46PM
I know I'll probably get ripped for this but the entry for The Strokes is really awful. I love the band and I could respect a dissenting argument but not this nonsense.This is the worst thought out/written entry I've found for any band (maybe the inexplicable short shrift The Only Ones get is close).It's even factually incorrect , the album's name isn't an act of arrogance at all, it's an obvious act of tongue in cheek humour. Maybe it's time for a reappraisal updated to include Room On Fire because this entry is elitist psycho-babbling at its worst.

Re: Ths Strokes
October 11, 2004 12:46PM
Then again, others might find that this review is no different from the other 99.9% of the work that this particular author has put forth. They may conclude that it contains the same remarkable wit and wisdom cosistent throughout Mr Robbins' carrer. Another honest, engaging, historical and up to date excerpt of a bands strengths and challenges. Shoot heck fire, the real pleasure in this review can be found when Mr Robbins takes it personal that the band omits the song "New York City Cops" from its album. Where the band has now failed them, New Yorkers can at least take comfort in that they still have a vital spokesperson -a real Bowery call to arms voice rather than some bleached toothed pouter.
Re: Ths Strokes
October 11, 2004 10:03PM
Then again, still others might find the criticizing of leaving "New York City Cops" off the record a cheap shot, more concerned with artifice rather than the actual art and 20/20 hindsight by a craggy hipper than thou old bastard.I don't see how the band has failed anyone (much less NYC) by making 2 filler free great pop records, which, by my count is 2 more than Ira has made.The entry flat out sucks - it's factually incorrect at the very least. I like alot of Ira's writing, but I guess I'm not as (disturbingly) in love with him to not call him out on his garbage pieces."A real Bowery call to arms voice"?whaaaaaaat???????

ira
Re: The Strokes
October 12, 2004 02:16AM
as happy as i am to take heat for my criticism, i'd like to make a couple of points in my defense:

1) nowhere do i call the first album title an act of arrogance. in fact, my reference to the Strokes "arrogantly posing as bored young rock stars" is acknowledgment of their sense of irony. Arrogance and irony are hardly mutually exclusive, as anyone familiar with Oscar Wilde (or Bob Dylan) would surely agree.
2) if i had, how does that qualify as a matter of fact rather than interpretation?
3) my recorded achievements (or lack thereof), like any critic's, have absolutely nothing to do with my right (or lack thereof) to discuss a recorded work. "Could you do better?" is the dumbest argument in the book, since at no point do i make my own musical talent (or lack thereof) a topic of discussion. Neither should you. In any field of critical endeavor, no student of a field is disqualified from discussing a work until surpassing it.
Rather, I firmly believe that 40 years of seriously attentive and critical music listening entitles me to exercise my profession, which is to assess, contextualize and dissect popular music.



Post Edited (10-12-04 07:17)
Re: The Strokes
October 12, 2004 02:04PM
Now THIS is a great string!!! I have to side with Ira and not just because it's his website, but because accuracy is not a laudable or even possible objective in criticism. Ever since Ruskin accused Whistler of "flinging a pot of paint in the public's face," the best criticism has been provocative. Incidentally, I do happen to disagree with Ira's assessment of the Strokes - they're a killer live band and I'd rather see a bunch of guys ripping off Television instead of Pearl Jam - but I do recall what fun I had when I first read the review.

And finally, whatever Ira said that was "wrong" about the Strokes is a misdemeanor when compared to the crime of praising that perennially overrated artist Lou Reed (especially "Berlin"). Oh well, somewhere in here there's a point but no longer sure what it is.
Re: The Strokes
October 12, 2004 04:20PM
thanks for the shout out to Florida, did you say that ira looks like Dennis Eckersley? Oh Ira, Ira, Ira! please send your most recent softball tourney photos.
Re: The Strokes
October 12, 2004 10:22PM
Just to clarify some stuff and specifically about Ira's post in this thread - or to put it another way, to attack his defense :1. Ok, you didn't say "Is This It" was an arrogant title specifically but you used the word "arrogance" in the preceeding sentence and then say that the title "says it all". Nowhere do you mention the word "irony" but now in your post say that's how you meant it. Ok, fair enough, I'll take you at your word since you've never lied to me (well unless you count the Goo Goo Dolls entry that calls "A Boy Named Goo" a "child of genius".....but I digress). 2. If you did mean the title of that album was arrogant it would not be factually incorrect. But since that interpretation would be so wacky as to leave any sane person reeling it might as well be.3. I never said in my original post that you had to produce greater art than the Strokes before having the right to criticize it. I mentioned that the band are leading you (among others) 2-0 in the great album department in response to Steve's post which ludicrously suggested a critic (a critic for Godsakes!) could somehow be more "vital a spokesman" than the artist themselves.I still say this is a half-assed, smug entry on a great band, but at least through this thread I've reconsidered my opinion on Yanni's piano playing.

ira
Re: The Strokes
October 13, 2004 02:17AM
well, then, our work here is done. I actually took an ex-wife of mine to see Yanni, it was the first concert i reviewed as a Newsday staffer. It was not an eye-opening experience on any level, but it did force me to reconsider my choice of shampoo.
Re: The Strokes
October 13, 2004 10:48PM
Ira writes: "In any field of critical endeavor, no student of a field is disqualified from discussing a work until surpassing it."
In fact, if you have surpassed an acheivement, it looks awful when you critique a peers work in anything but a positive light - which wouldn't be a full critique. For example, see the LA Laker mess or picture Mark McGuire critiquing a fellow MLB on his poor batting average. In the multi-millenia old art of the critique, the best observer is often not the peer.

Willie if you want a great string, start one on the utter brilliance of Lou Reed.



Post Edited (10-13-04 20:01)
willie/lou/male models
October 14, 2004 12:02AM
ok--
i'll bite:

i think lou reed is the totemic litmus test for rock between beatles and post-punk; i find him simultaneously wanting and brilliantly compelling on so many fronts (dreaded yankees are winning and wife just reminded me that this is our 10th anniversary--As if!) but will just say that his best work is collaborative rock (cale, sterling, quine) not singer songwriter, not experimental, not confessional, whatever THAT all means.

i guess, in other words, he ain't dylan, he ain't neil or james brown. Rather, he's McGuinn, Lennon, Ray Davies.

bless his pointed and pretentious head: he has rudely changed my life for the better.

turntable greatness today:

Terry Reid
Georgie Fame
Larry Williams
the coral
ira
Re: The Strokes
October 14, 2004 04:12AM
criticism is not ripping on people. mark mcgwire having an opinion about the stats of a ballplayer is to criticism what counting mcdonalds hamburgers is to describing the food at a fine restaurant.
Re: The Strokes
October 16, 2004 02:17AM
Exactly. Though I should have said 'swing technique' not ' batting average'.
Re: Ths Strokes
October 11, 2004 10:47PM
Filler free? I must differ.
Curious from the massive hype (magazine covers before popularity, a sold out tour in England where they were yet to even be heard) I found 'Is this it' to be generic fodder. Granted, 'Room on Fire' is yards better but is still half filler. As is apparent from interviews, the band itself was not solely to blame for the massive hype attack (paralleled only by the likes of the Sex Pistols or Nirvana but without the chops) but nonetheless will receive the brunt of the inevitable backlash.
As for the reivew, it may not hit the target as well as the other reviews but we're talking thousands and TP is still the most spot-on there is, remaining not only inspired but indispensible. I must agree with the assessment of 'NYC Cops' as they were pitched as band who would not have 'slipperied' out like that - particularly GIVEN the press releases that abounded at that time and the media events surrounding the proceedings. That was more the move of the Britneys trying to avoid dissapointment at the Wal-Mart checkout.
Did they 'turn into actual rock stars' as arrogantly promoted at the time? I say no though they turned out to be fine musicians. Out of all the bands with similar names, sound and look in that era did ANY emerge to be the front runners or have quality lasting LPS?
'As so many before them have done, the Strokes scanned their record collections and stitched together a sound from the bits they like'. Maybe this should read as a compliment. This is why you can trace all music we love back to Muddy, Chuck, Howlin and Bo. Great bands do this every day.
The review does smack of a subjectively personal distaste in tone, but then, you can always go somewhere like Playboy where reviews are based on the amount of production gloss, Grammy 'they deserve it at this point in their career' votes and projected sales figures.



Post Edited (10-13-04 19:35)
Re: Ths Strokes
October 12, 2004 02:45PM
1. i cannot (regrettably) play the piano.

2. Yanni can (regrettably) play the piano.

3. The first valid statement doesn't, as if in some wierd derridaien (RIP) overturning, invalidate my belief (shared by almost everyone on god's green earth and many in the icy tundra of siberial permafrost) that yanni plays horribly and sentimentally and badly: anyone with an iq over 23 (sorry Terxans, but you all have to sit this one out) agrees that it lacks inventiveness, originality, chops, meta-presence--playing about playing {cf tristano], humor, terseness, and emotional resonance, as opposed to emperor concerto-bloatedness, which, incidentally, is why messiaen is better than beethoven. Now, i'm willing to grant for the floridians here that he has a wistful dennis eckerserly-type look about him, but gentleman! let's keep this clean.

4. i would rather listen to yanni than the strokes.


ps:
i like much of IR's writings, but that don't make him my hero: number 32 for the Cleveland Browns is my only altarpiece.
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