My Favorite Writer (today)
If there’s a better, smarter, funnier, righter music critic at work today than Sasha Frere-Jones, who writes super-insightful pieces like this laser beam to the heart of The White Stripes’ appeal and limitations, for The New Yorker on a regular basis, please feel free to bring him/her to my attention. The line about how Jack White “has succumbed to the indie-rock delusion that the idiosyncratic part of your gift (I have a weird voice, I recorded this all on vintage analog gear in my own house, I have large biceps but also look like Michael Jackson) means more than its universal aspects (my weird voice is appealing, I write great words, my songs are easily sung)” is a perfect encapsulation of a fundamental truth about the last 20 years of pop music. Frere-Jones states the case, makes it true, makes it funny,
and never succumbs to the mandate that bedevils so much arts writing: the moment where you're supposed to tell readers exactly what you think, and by extension what they should think, and more to the point (sadly), what they're supposed to buy. I read a lot of music writing (not as much as I used to before my hopes and dreams all died, but still...), and find that very little has any connection to the sense of infinite thrill and rich contradiction offered by even cheap music. Sasha Frere-Jones is all over that shit (I have awarded a Personal Pulitzer to his Bright Eyes piece from a few months back, and keep his M.I.A. profile from last year up on my wallwell, the photo anyway...), and love means never having to say "I love this record."
As if I wouldn't have done it anyway, please renew my subscription.
P.S. He has a killer blog, too. The photos are the best part.