Second last thoughts on the decade that was


December 22, 2009 by admin

I never did properly finish up with the “favourite music reads of the ’00s” did I? (Well, I guess Mr. Wenner waxing lyrical about Mr. Jagger was my sarcastic kissoff to the project.) Truth is, I could have posted another two or three dozen (at least) great pieces, but, as usually happens when I embark on these listy web projects, I lost steam, interest, breath, gumption, etc. before reaching the finish line (not that I ever defined what the finish line was). There’s also the fact that a lot of my favourite writing about pop in the last ten years happened not in articles or essays or reviews or books per se, but in comments boxes and chat boards and e-mails and blog and livejournal and facebook posts — stuff that I didn’t (and probably couldn’t) even begin to properly track. I felt like I was trying to tell a story in those posts that was a bit false. Don’t get me wrong — I really did love the stuff I linked to, but the whole thing started to feel a bit too “official” for me, and counter-intuitive to the way I’ve come to find and enjoy music writing.

Anyway, I do feel a bit guilty about short-shrifting so many critics here, so at least allow me the opportunity to link to some writing by one of my three or four favourite music critics of the decade — someone I didn’t get to in the first 25 entries but who could easily have been represented in half a dozen of his own entries: Marcello Carlin. I first encountered Marcello’s writing on I Love Music and have continued to follow him ever since through various blogs, from the indispensable The Church of Me to The Clothed Maja (which I believe was a follow-up to The Naked Maja, which sadly no longer exists) to his latest ventures, The Blue in the Air to Then Play Long — the latter a rundown of every British #1 LP (did I mention that Carlin is British?).

Click on any of those links and you’ll encounter a wealth of great material, though you’ll have to do the rest of the work yourself (I suggest you start by just randomly clicking through the archives). I am, however, happy to point you to Marcello’s latest (and rather timely) post, “Decade,” which neatly summarizes music blogging in the ’00s; the timeline he posits of the rise and fall makes a lot of sense to me. (Though FWIW, I intensely disagree with Marcello regarding comments boxes. Let commenters through, including all the moronic stuff, I say. I also have a longstanding beef with Andrew Sullivan about the same; let us decide if we want to read what other people think about what you write.)

(Just to be keep the rumour mill at bay: yes, it’s true, I DJ’d and acted as best man at Carlin’s wedding in Toronto a couple years ago. I also read and enjoy the writing of his wife Lena — cf. Music Sounds Better With Two and the now-dormant Carrot Rope. But no, neither of these factors impacted my judgment in naming him one of the music writers of the decade. Promise.)

Final-final thoughts on the decade still to come. Lucky you, it doesn’t involve very many words on a page.

3 thoughts on “Second last thoughts on the decade that was

  1. Tom Lane says:

    I’m bookmarking Then Play On via your suggestion. So far, looks interesting. Hope he can keep it going.

  2. May I just add that if Scott makes it over here to London he should definitely be given a stint at Club Poptimism – the best wedding DJ ever, and I’m not just saying that because he DJ’d at our wedding…😉

    Just to clear one matter up: all the good stuff from Naked Maja was reposted on Clothed Maja but I got rid of quite a few posts which I considered substandard and unnecessarily sour. There is also the blog which never quite took off, Koons Really Does Think He’s Michelangelo; I’ve kept a few posts from that up but all the posts, including my 2004 best-of lists, still exist in draft form and if enough people want me to republish them I will. I may or may not go back to the 1974 project at some point in the future but in truth this territory is going to be covered pretty thoroughly by Then Play Long when it reaches that point.

    As far as comments boxes are concerned, I sympathise greatly with Momus when he talks about letting your enemies on board, because that’s how you learn new things. I certainly wish I had his amused tolerance of the eejits he gets on Click Opera from time to time. But at least with those there’s a semblance of thought-through argument at work and a good, hearty examination of ideas. If I had top quality nay-sayers commenting I’d let them straight through but I’m afraid career trolls who want to make things personal and offensive without even having the courage to append their own name (and indeed frequently without any evidence of their having read any of my writing other than perhaps the first or last two lines of any given post) will be kept well away; if they want to have a go at me, then they can set up their own blogs and do it there or else go let off steam on ILM or Dissensus or wherever. My blogs have taken a great deal of time, effort, energy and resources to set up and I’m not having any dope coming in off the street with their spray can and trashing the place.

    Anyway, there’s a bit of steam being let off in time for the festive season. Best possible wishes for Xmas and for 2010,

  3. s woods says:

    I may or may not go back to the 1974 project at some point in the future but in truth this territory is going to be covered pretty thoroughly by Then Play Long when it reaches that point.

    Well, since you mention it, Marcello — and thanks for popping in — one of the pieces I spent a good deal of time looking for by you was your amazing writeup of “Kung Fu Fighting,” which I believe was part of this project also, no? But I could not find it anywhere — is it currently in hiding? If so, hope it makes it into your book (also recall loving your thoughts on “Beach Baby”).

    Anyway, thanks for all the great stuff this decade — really looking forward to your book and all the best to you & Lena for the holidays. (But just to clear one thing up: I’m in fact the Second Best Wedding DJ in the World Ever. The Number One Best is my friend and mentor, David Newfeld. Though I guess because he’s officially retired — unlike me who is merely semi-retired — I’m the current holder of the trophy.)

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