Reynolds wrap

If you want to read a pretentious, ill-conceived and flat-out infuriating essay on the subject of Britpop, then by all means check out <a href=”
” target=0>Simon Reynolds’ review of The Brit Box, a four-disc collection of music that meant a lot to a large number of people. His essay for Salon has reminded me yet again why it’s a waste of time to read so-called “serious music criticism.” Besides being needlessly ponderous and unintentionally plodding, it is about as much fun as a sack of yams. Not to mention that the core argument — that Britpop barely matters because it’s not based in the rhythms of black music — is absurd.

Here are some highlights from the article:

“For a certain kind of American, being into pop music from the U.K. has long been a way to express a sense of being different from everybody else.”

There are so many things wrong with that blanket statement that I won’t even get into it. But I will say this: maybe some of us are into pop music from the U.K. because it sounds good?

Reynolds then goes on to single out some U.K. bands that were successful over here.

“Tellingly, though, almost all of them –from George Michael to Soul II Soul, Simply Red to Stereo MCs — were deeply steeped in black American music.”

The Stereo MCs were popular in America? When? And what is George Michael’s name doing in a review of a Britpop compilation?

These three sentences alone sum up what how unpleasant Simon Reynolds is:

“Anglophiles would probably argue that British indie rock of the ’80s and ’90s failed to find success here because of the conservatism of American radio. But maybe the failure of U.K. indie, shoegaze and Britpop comes down to these genres’ gradual divorce from black music. Fetishizing the guitar sounds of the ’60s, they forgot about its rhythmic base and impulse toward sonic hybridity.”

“Sonic hybridity”? Please make Britpop sound more boring. Please!

Ugh. I feel like I have to wash myself now.

I spent a shocking amount of time playing this game today.