TVSEXDEATH Music Review Review
Tiny Mix Tapes - Interpol - El Pintor (2014)
If I was in a high-risk scenario with someone and there was a high-likelihood they were hiding information that could reduce the risk of the scenario, I would make them read this album review. Yeah, it’s a craven, hollow, capitalist industry with a robotic band that can only sound more and more like themselves, weathered rocks against a cliff hit by heavy rain and harsh winds and salty ocean spray. It sounds like Interpol, but what should it sound like? What should it be allowed to sound like? In an ideal, integral, perfected, utopian reality where El Pintor gets five little red circles instead of 2 red circles and a half circle from Tiny Mix Tapes, what’s the sheet music look like? What are the lyrics about, how long are the songs, what’s it supposed to feel like?
An easy way to insult the reviewer is to ask them the unanswered question, “So did you like the music or not?” Does Simon know that in a music review you are supposed to review the music? If he does, then his position is that El Pintor is so glossy, so “designed” in the intelligent sense, that it’s immune to a value assessment. If he doesn’t then we’re going to make it clear what a music review review is going to look like from now on: I did not like this music review! Look, it only talks about form, not a whiff of content! It’s kind of like he imagined this fake global context upon which El Pintor has some dire implications and went on dissect that non-entity.
Here’s a music review that can go on about what music means, what it stands form, what it implies, what feeling it gives you, everything except what it sounds like, and whether or not the reader should give it a try. My opinion is that El Pintor is radical only insofar as it awakens a reviewer to how bankrupt their position really is: after all, you’re going to have to pick another album after El Pintor that you’re going to like more or less than El Pintor, right? Or is it that El Pintor makes it impossible to like things from now on? Let’s let the review speak for itself:
"As welcome as this debut was at the time, and as arguably relevant as its topoi of absence and alienation are to us all, there’s something very disquieting about a band that, four albums later, is obstinately continuing to mine its somber wellsprings. It implies that, rather than being part of some process of existential and personal growth, the lamentations of a washy number like “My Blue Supreme” are an empty formality devoid of consequence and meaning. In other words, they feel like affectations that the band produce again and again in order to secure favorable press and the consumers that follow, and in the end, this preoccupation with repeatedly repeating forlorn detachment bears witness to the unhealthy, disproportionate influence critical and commercial adulation can have on a band’s development (or lack thereof). Because they might fear having their meal ticket removed if they significantly overhaul themselves, this insidious influence has conceivably robbed Interpol of control over their own trajectory, their own identity, so that they’re now as much a social or media construct as any cartoon character or faked news story."
Ha, so first of all, no, just because Interpol isn’t a Jazz band now and continues to be a bluesy post-punk rock and roll band ten years later DOES NOT imply that the ways the song sounds “are an empty formality devoid of consequence and meaning.” Ha, just because you are too thick and dumb to find some consequence and meaning doesn’t mean there isn’t any!
Anyway, think about it - exactly which songs, which albums, which texts and which experiences can be reasonably defended against the extremely too effortless assertion that they “are an empty formality devoid of consequence and meaning.”? What’s got any consequence or meaning nowadays we can contrast El Pintor with? Certainly not Antics, Certainly not the works of Dali (“You cannot find meaning in my works. I cannot find meaning in my works, because my work is an enigma”)
Hey, wait a hot second, why does an album have to have consequence or meaning? Aren’t you supposed to write down whether or not you liked the songs and maybe why or why not?
This album review is steeped in ancient, naive ways of relating to text. Ooh, fuck the ancient ways.
Where does Simon’s need to find meaning and consequence in music come from? When did music stop being sensory art and start playing this nasty role? How are we going to reclaim music? How are we supposed to listen to El Pintor? What are we looking for that hasn’t been reduced to a cartoon character, a fake news story, a bad impression of itself? Could Interpol not be a scary auto-caricature in 2014? Where’s this desire for “reinvention”, total overhaul, come from?
Of course, Our Boy Simon would be writing the same exact review about the utter meaninglessness of Interpol’s transition to a Salt and Peppa cover band, because he can write the same review about any album, forever, as long as the audience is demanding absolutely nothing.