the first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic-jessica hopper

“He hasn’t betrayed his crowd the way Dylan did when he went electric-this is something very different. The kids filling the 1,500-capacity tent know their Jesus from their Judas. There was a time when Bazan’s fans believed he was speaking, or rather singing, the Word. Not so much anymore.” (115)

“It’s easy to speculate about  what Cobain and Nirvana would have become had he lived. The band’s next album could’ve been a Chinese Democracy-like fiasco, especially embarassing in light of Cobain’s original genius-flash. He could’ve gone Corgan and released music with steadily diminishing returns for a decade plus. He could’ve joined the Foo Fighters. He could’ve taken the Reznor path, ‘retiring’ after a steady, respectable career. (Who knew then that Eddie Vedder would turn out to be the real punk among Cobain’s grunge-era ‘peers’?) Revisiting Nevermind is like flexing a phantom limb made up of Nirvana records that never were. That’s all it means now, all that’s left-fantasy. The tomb is empty; let the dead buy the dead.” (145)

“What’s being sold is an entree to punk, and most of the fans are too new to the music’s ideals to understand that they’re buying a version of fuck-all rebellion that’s been repackaged by businesspeople. Or maybe they do understand, and they come because they think it’s the only verson left. Warped is a mammoth shopping and marketing experience, a towering conglomerated product of the Clear Channel Age, and though the music is the initial draw, purchases are they way the kids express themselves to themselves, to the bands, and to each other.” (147)

“None of this, of course, was any less honest for being so obviously calculated-even when you’re a teenager faking it, approximating a borrowed notion of cool, you’re still bound to be more real, more transparent and more vulnerable than any adult.” (148)

“The look like scumbags who sleep in the desert.” (151, about the Mean Reds*)

i don’t know that hindsight is 20/20, but i do know that music is 395% nostalgia. i love learning things, and i especially love learning about music. i had a note to check out rollin hunt here, and though i didn’t find enough to be interested, i’m sure i made that note for a reason, and if it comes up again, i’ll have an automatic link to jessica hopper in my brain, and i’m not mad about that. i mean, at the very least, it’s another marker of chicago, and i’ll forever have “chance the rapper recorded his album at the library-i’m happy that i know exactly what room because i’ve seen it” in my brain because of the interview she did with him.

i love the inadvertent (or was it?!) retrospective on the industry and how it’s changed over the years. i went on a date with someone who met her current partner (yup, one of those) on myspace, thinking that she was going to have to extoll its virtues to me-but hey-myspace was amazing at the height of my music writing, it was a great way to connect directly to artists without having to go through handlers, and i’m happy to say that i’ve known, cherished, and was at least at one time held in high esteem by the winner of myspace-gabriel teodros. i don’t know what the current equivalent is-instagram? but i do know that something else will always be coming, and that the pendulum will always swing back. we just don’t have that many moves as humans. the good news about that is that we’re just as good as we always were, as well as being just as bad as we always were. giddy up.

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