Sunday, March 13, 2016

NYT knows the Shape of Things to Come?

H/T to a good friend (and pretty great Food/Beverage blogger) for hipping me to this NYT Magazine piece about "where music is going" as viewed through the lens of some current tunes.

Whenever I see long-form music writing, I always think of this quote:
    "Writing about Music is like dancing about Architecture"
 (variously attributed to Thelonius Monk,  Frank Zappa, and Laurie Anderson, among others...)

For the busy people among you, and echoing the NYT piece, I'll give my impressions in list form, with a simple Agree/Disagree/Neutral scale about whether the song in-question "tells us where music is going".
  • Introduction - Liked it, good essay by Nitsuh Abebe
  1. Sorry - Justin Bieber - Disagree
  2. Say No to This - Hamilton Cast - Disagree*
  3. I Watched the Film, The Song Remains the Same - Sun Kil Moon - Neutral
  4. Get Away - The Internet - Disagree*
  5. One Sunday Morning - Wilco - Neutral
  6. '06 - Vince Staples - Disagree*
  7. Hurtin' (On The Bottle) - Margo Price - Neutral
  8. John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 - Keith Urban - Neutral
  9. Consideration - Rihanna - Agree^
  10. Blue boy - Mac DeMarco - Neutral
  11. Marvin Gaye - Charlie Puth - Disagree
  12. The Blacker the Berry - Kendrick Lamar - Agree
  13. Early - Run the Jewels - Disagree*
  14. The Colours of Life - CFCF - Neutral
  15. Hymn for the Weekend - Coldplay - Disagree [editors note: I almost abandoned my review effort when I saw that Coldplay was in the list!]
  16. Trap Queen - Fetty Wap - Neutral
  17. Hello - Lionel Ritchie - Disagree*
  18. Untitled - Pharrell  - Agree^ [editors note: this article was written by the most awesome street artist JR... if you're not up on him, you should be.]
  19. Partitat for 8 Voices - Caroline Shaw - Neutral
  20. El Taxi - Pitbull - Neutral
  21. Really Love - D'Angelo - Agree
  22. Weh Dem Feel Like - Vybz Kartel - Disagree
  23. Stressed Out - 21 Pilots - Neutral
  24. Sunday Candy - Chance the Rapper - Disagree*
  25. Habibi - Azis - Agree^^^
About my ratings:  If I was Neutral, I haven't heard the song.

Rating footnotes:
* - I actually like the song :-)
^^ - I haven't heard the specific Rihanna or Pharrel songs, but they've historically been really good predictors of where music might be going, so I've given them the benefit of the doubt.
^^^ - I don't agree that this particular song points the way to anything interesting, but... I do think that music in the US is headed towards a more cosmopolitan and internationally diverse set of influences (basically the way the UK has been forever) so I agree with this song as an example of that trend.

huh, would you look at that... Pareto-optimal... aka the 80/20 rule... didn't plan that, I swear!
So, about that premise...

Before you write me off as a crotchety old critic for the apparent harshness of my assessment.  I have to confess that I disagree with the premise that we can reliably identify the sign-posts towards the musical future beforehand.  It's usually only clear to us in the rearview mirror :-)

I definitely predict getting several blog posts out of deeper dives into some the the NYT selections though!

Yours in music,

- Cliff

No comments: