Writing Copy for Sasha-Frere Jones

On April 16, in this here blog, I wrote about Battles:

“… even the “Atlas” single grates – it sounds like an Alvin and the Chipmunks version of a Gary Glitter song.”

In this week’s New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones writes (although usually an alright writer, this takes him two sentences packed with passive-voice constructions):

“Atlas,” a juddering song that is totally compelling though it is little more than a rhythmic vamp matched to Chipmunk slike vocalizing. “Atlas” is Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part Two” for the art-gallery crowd—a visceral and addictive bit of nonsense.”

I don’t think he took this from me; a google search shows I may have been among the first to ring this comparison true, but I’m far from the only one.

It proves that the song sounds like what we all think it sounds like. But when you get New Yorker bucks, ain’t it responsible to not repeat comparisons you’ve no doubt come across on the web? Without acknowledgment? Rock writers are the laziest of journalists, maybe second to sports writers, but this is outstandingly lazy. I would require myself, at the very least, to add a qualifying statement like “embraced by a blogospshere which immediately recognized Battles’ bouncy, futuristic song “Atlas” as akin to Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2,” if sung by the Chipmunks.

Credit. If you don’t give it, you don’t keep it.

The Briefs – Looking Through Gary Glitter’s Eyes

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2 thoughts on “Writing Copy for Sasha-Frere Jones

  1. SF-J is a total tool, I think. I lost all respect for his “critical” abilities when he made this statement (in a Slate year-end music wrap-up):“An ancient proverb springs to mind when I think of Coldplay and Radiohead: A boxer and a painter may be friends, but two boxers, never. Why does this spring to mind? Because though people may hate Coldplay because they love Radiohead, Coldplay’s new live DVD makes the differences between the two bands look minimal. Each band makes consistently pretty, smart, and texturally varied rock that rarely gets aggressive enough to put anybody off…The bands are dreamy and Romantic, and swapping songs wouldn’t be hard for them: Add a whine here, subtract a major chord here, and nobody would know.”This statement convinced me that he really hadn’t listened to Radiohead with any sort of depth (seriously, Amnesiac anyone?!) yet felt he could speak with authority on them. Ridiculous. And now come to find that he’s a plagiarist (or maybe just lazy, but either way, lame), too? Eff that guy.

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