Earlier I read a series of about 100 comments on a "premature evaluation" of Frank Ocean's new LP, Blonde.
It was fascinating, since it was mostly 40 people trying to convince themselves that they "got" this probable masterpiece and another 20 urging them forward, saying things like, "some records take YEARS to appreciate" and "try listening to it stoned", which to me says that maybe you're not listening to that great an album if it requires either years or drugs to sound good to you. But the masses have been told that this is a great and important record, so that is what they are trying so hard to hear.
Now, I don't like Frank Ocean's music that much (read: at all, really) but it's almost impossible to avoid news of his recent LP, which, as far as I can tell, is so important that Frank Ocean must be the resurrected Christ and I missed that memo. Here is just two days of Pitchfork's MAIN STORIES bar (the top three headlines of the day from the premier name in music "journalism" in 2016):
and this is from their additional news bites section just below that:
Prince died and didn't get top three headlines.
So to the casual music listener, perusing the preeminent online music resource on the web, Frank Ocean must be a fucking huge deal. There is no way this is some middle-of-the-road, mildly experimental within the confines of modern R&B but otherwise unimpressive former ghostwriter of pop songs. This must be the next David Bowie, whose death likewise didn't trump ALL OTHER MUSIC NEWS for the mighty Pitchfork.
Only he's not, is he?
I've bemoaned the relinquishing of personal taste to the Pitchfork machine for almost a solid decade or more, but it never ceases to bring me all the way down, watching such blatant forcefeeding do its job, and seeing all the other, smaller websites scramble to mimic the juggernaut, and then to watch all their readers doing intense mental gymnastics to contort their taste to suit the consensus. "I don't like this, but I'm probably just not getting it. Maybe I just need weed."
Or headphones. A lot of people suggested noise canceling headphones.
Oddly, nobody suggested a different record.