Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Friday Music: History, motherfuckers

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  • Danielle, in reply to Danielle,

    tells us much about anything than what he thinks of Lorde

    What it tells us is that he's one of those annoying dudes (for some reason they are invariably dudes) obsessed with "authenticity" and other forms of purity. That's not a New Zealand thing; it's a music nerd thing which crosses international lines.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Danielle,

    Also I kinda don't think it's legitimate to say that someone should "just review the music'. Lorde's selling an image, and that image is entirely legitimately part of the reviewer's ambit. Sweetman's problem is that he's bad, not that he's engaged in an illegitimate attempt to bring things in that exist outside the music.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Welch, in reply to Danielle,

    What it tells us is that he’s one of those annoying dudes (for some reason they are invariably dudes) obsessed with “authenticity” and other forms of purity

    Yeah, maybe. Or maybe he doesn’t like her music because it’s not that interesting and he is over-reacting against the flood of Lorde-love in the media. Plus he put that weird shit about wanking to Farmers catalogues in which wasn’t really going to get many people on his side. Frankly I don’t really care about Sweetman or Lorde. I just have a hobby-horse about people saying “oh, that’s the tall poppy syndrome” every time a NZer says something critical about another NZer. It’s lazy, it's anti-intellectual, and it discourages honest debate.

    Sorry, rant over.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    Speaking of history, you probably all noticed that Yahoo! changed its logo last week…
    I’m wondering how much the designers got for the quick conversion to Optima font?

    …as per the nifty link at boingboing I’ve saved ya big bucks Russell – there’s your new masthead (above)!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I didn't say he should "just review the music"; I said he didn't review *any* of the music.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jim Welch,

    Criticise Sweetman, by all means, but don’t generalise about our (my) culture by saying that the fact that he doesn’t like Lorde tells us much about anything other than what he thinks of Lorde. And do you really think Lorde cares? She has bigger fish to fry.

    Jesus, you know, I think she would care a lot if she read that, and I suspect she has (her mother certainly did, and she'll have seen all the social media chatter). Some middle-aged man with an audience not only basically calls her a dimwit and a tool, he strongly implies her parents are bad people and then caps it off with a crude creepy sexual thing. How do you think you'd feel as a 16 year-old girl, for goodness sake?

    I probably could have done more to note that quite a few people (including the likes of Wallace Chapman, which surprised) professed to agree with Sweetman. I don't think they took in exactly what he'd said.

    I think that point where "I don't really get the music" morphs into "everyone else is a dupe" and "she's just being manipulated" is a bit tall-poppyish.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Welch, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Is she really going to read everything written about her? She's on her way to becoming a global pop star. She's going to have to develop a thick skin. I wouldn't have been able to handle it at 16, but then again, I wouldn't have been able to handle singing to a packed Vector Arena at 16 either (or now, for that matter).

    And I still don't think this is tall poppy syndrome. It's one nasty review. Let's not make it a referendum on NZ culture.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Welch, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But, yes, it is a shame if there is now an nasty anti-Lorde bandwagon. Though I think she has far more defenders than detractors at this stage. Miley Cyrus should be so lucky.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to Danielle,

    What it tells us is that he's one of those annoying dudes (for some reason they are invariably dudes) obsessed with "authenticity" and other forms of purity. That's not a New Zealand thing; it's a music nerd thing which crosses international lines.

    It's a strange notion - the idea that involving anyone else in the production of art is somehow wrong. I wonder if Simon Sweetman felt like a massive sell-out by having an editor work with him on his recent book.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Welch, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    I wonder if Simon Sweetman felt like a massive sell-out by having an editor work with him on his recent book.

    It obviously was a huge compromise which made him completely bitter and twisted....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis, in reply to Peter Johnston,

    As a 50-year old male I can't quite explain why I have been so caught up in the Lorde story. Partly it's been almost a paternal interest - because she is part of a peer group of young Kiwi musicians that my son is also part of, who don't see age or geographic isolation as being any barrier to them pursuing their musical dreams. They just get on with it.

    I happen to be 37 years old as well. And I'm interested in Lorde for 3 reasons I guess. 1) I quite like her sound and lyrics, I won't be buying any of it but it's a decent listen, 2) She's a Kiwi girl, 3) I teach high school students, including dare I say it 16 year old girls. To see what she is doing with herself at the same age is quite amazing.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Jim Welch,

    I just have a hobby-horse about people saying “oh, that’s the tall poppy syndrome” every time a NZer says something critical about another NZer. It’s lazy, it’s anti-intellectual, and it discourages honest debate.

    Sweetman's review is not honest debate. Of course critics should be able to respond honestly when analysing local acts, but this isn't analysis, it's bile and spite.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • andrew r,

    So neutral about the Lordes ..her toones are ok ...whatevers.

    auckland • Since May 2007 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown,

    I like Sweetman. He's refreshing. He's definitely passionate about music.. He has clear opinions. He is not a PR mouthpiece. Nor culturally PC. He says what he thinks and damn the consequences. That's unusual in these parts, in music or most other area of cultural critique, but the good critics internationally are like him. They ruffle feathers, piss off, polarise. They make people think, even if what they end up thinking is " Simon Sweetman's a wanker." And he's been good for 4 pages of interactivity here on what may otherwise have been a slow-blog day.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Arbury,

    Heh. I remember playing lunch time soccer with Joel Little at Western Springs in the late 90s. Awesome when people you knew as a kid are super successful.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 237 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    You know, it is perfectly possible to be a thoughtful and provocative critic without being a sexist asshole. I read a lot of music and film criticism and I have no problem with critique in any way. I don't know what "culturally PC" means in this context, but telling a young pop artist that she's a talentless manufactured sexpot is the fucking OPPOSITE of edgy, bro.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    This seemed apposite.

    Elvis Costello in Paris, 1983. Let them all talk.

    Especially for you D. ;-)

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2450 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I don’t know what “culturally PC” means in this context

    Not having a bizarre Farmers catalogue masturbation fantasy in relation to a 16 year old. A good label in that context really.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown, in reply to Danielle,

    And you are absolutely entitled to express that opinion - your opinion - as is anyone else entitled to express theirs.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to Martin Brown,

    And you are absolutely entitled to express that opinion - your opinion - as is anyone else entitled to express theirs.

    That's very generous of you, Martin. What else are we allowed to do?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Well, yes: people can say whatever they like. They should probably expect to be called on it if it's egregiously awful bullshit, though.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Martin Brown,

    And you are absolutely entitled to express that opinion - your opinion - as is anyone else entitled to express theirs.

    Seriously, you're going with that? Isn't that functionally equivalent to saying nothing at all?

    ..more likely, based on context, you can be interpreted as saying "you can't diss the guy for expressing his opinion", in which case, you're contradicting yourself.

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • Daniel Wilton,

    Sweetman does a great comic book guy impression. It is always novel to read his writing with the view of himself thinking he is an undiscovered genius. I sometimes wonder if he sees himself as a local Lester Bangs

    Wellington • Since Jan 2009 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Martin Brown,

    but the good critics internationally are like him.

    You're on. Which top international critic would you compare to Simon Sweetman?

    They make people think, even if what they end up thinking is ” Simon Sweetman’s a wanker.” And he’s been good for 4 pages of interactivity here on what may otherwise have been a slow-blog day.

    Except it's a discussion from which Sweetman is missing. He hasn't attempted any real justification of what he wrote, let alone thought the better of some of the nastier parts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown, in reply to Russell Brown,

    He doesn't have to appear here to defend his opinion. And I didn't offer mine in order to get into a knife fight. However, if I was AA Gill...

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 137 posts Report Reply

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