the Horn Farm Paste Mob


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And here are two more.

At the link above are two more roughly CD-length mixes of new music from 2006 (and, as ever, year-2005 releases that staggered into 2006 due to poor distribution or my own obliviousness). This appendix was going to be short– just a few songs that would have been included if CDs were a few minutes longer, or that broke my own finicky rules about how many times the same musician can show up. Instead, when I looked at my bin of worthwhile near misses, I had six hours of music to work with.

Unlike the other mixes I’ve posted, these are tiered– while this is still all awesome music, I rate everything on mix A higher than everything on mix B, and nearly all of the eight earlier mixes higher than both. I’m definitely interested to know whether you agree or disagree.

Just to convey a sense of scale, there are 50 or 60 more songs that I tagged as ‘good’ where these came from, but I have to stop somewhere. That’s close to 300 records I heard last year from which I found at least one song seriously enjoyable. I mention this not because I think it makes me wonderful or awful, but because of two arguments I hate having:

a) “Music just isn’t as good as it used to be. I hardly bought any new music last year at all. You can say I’m just getting old, but I’ve looked, and the good music isn’t THERE.”

b) “People who take the so-called critical perspective on pop music are so negative. They sit around picking apart things other people enjoy instead of being able to just sit and enjoy things themselves.”

Admittedly, each of these has a seed of important truth in it… In the first case: popular culture is demanding and often implies to its followers that it has a monopoly on the fulfillment of whatever desires or ideals led them to popular culture in the first place. People who insist it’s all been downhill since records X, Y and Z may just be trying to establish that they liked those records for the right reasons and that they are still a worthy bearer of those reasons. As though that’s what hating Death Cab For Cutie will buy you! I blame society.

In the second case: one of my little personal axioms is that people who like a record (or book, movie, video game) always understand something about it that people who dislike it probably, initially, don’t. But again, I don’t think that critics’ desire to be conscientious members of the latter category when they find themselves in it is what’s really on the table when I get stuck in this debate, defending something mean somebody said in a review I liked. People entrust part of their identity to art they like, in return for pleasure. They get angry when they feel like Pitchfork’s writers are standing nearby to bump their hands at the crucial moment in the transaction.

Anyway, you can see how the scope of my own listening makes me want to dismiss people out of hand for swinging one of these claims near my head, even though I know it’s not friendly of me.

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