Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beatles' Day is Upon Us!

F4F1E687-67D3-4B9F-9041-441BCF3FD6DC.jpgSo, it's finally here: the entire catalog, all twelve albums plus Past Masters, remastered in (I'm told) pristine quality. Allan Kozinn in the Times says that "this music has dimension and detail that it never had before, and the new packaging reflects each album’s musical and cultural importance. Over all, the new discs sound substantially better than the Beatles’ original CDs, which EMI issued in 1987. The most striking and consistent improvements are a heftier, rounded, three-dimensional bass sound, and drums that now sound like drums, rather than something in the distance being hit." Joy!

I don't want to get back into how Apple Corps. and EMI dropped the ball in waiting this long. I'm far too busy spending all my energy on not impulsively buying the entire box set (leaning towards mono so that I can pore over all the nuances) from Amazon.

Looking, for some reason, for more Beatles' coverage? Check out Pitchfork's reviews of the albums, both individually and as a collection. These at first seemed like a silly joke ("great, I finally know that Sgt. Pepper is a 10/10") but turns out, they're a really well written analysis of records that, if you're like me, course through your veins.

Finally, if you want to read Chuck Klosterman beat a dead horse of a joke, check out his "review" over at the Onion. It gets old fast, but it's got some pretty great zingers.

How are you celebrating Beatles Day?

Long and Winding Road, Repaved [nytimes]
The Beatles, reviewed [pitchfork]
Chuck Klosterman Repeats the Beatles [the onion]

Thursday, September 3, 2009

In Which Pitchfork Makes Sense of Lady GaGa and Millenial Pop

Pitchfork's recent list of the top 500 songs of the 00's seemed a bit premature, as it's 2009. I'm sure it's just chock full of misplaced songs, missing entries, and love for artists who in no way deserve it. But to be perfectly honest, I haven't combed through the list at all, because the particulars don't concern me. I can't even think of 500 songs from the last 9 or so years, let alone rank them.

But if you're interested in what's been happening in pop over the last decade, then check out Tom Ewing's wrap-up essay, "The Decade in Pop." It's one of the best pieces of music crit I've read in a long time. He distills the list (I assume) into a thoughtful critique of just what the hell happened in the 00's, and how it shaped a new pop. I don't buy it all (the argument that American Idol is music criticism on a national scale seems a little flimsy to me), but what I kept thinking while reading this piece, which seems destined for next year's Best Music Writing anthology, was "this is on Pitchfork?!" Now, I don't hate Pitchfork as much as some, in fact I think it's a pretty alright central voice in online music writing, if at times a bit heavy handed. But aside from the odd well-written album review, I don't think I've ever read such a thought provoking piece on their site. Maybe it's that I haven't been paying attention all that much. Go check it out.

The Decade in Pop [pitchfork]
The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s [pitchfork]