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Music Criticism News

Ties That Bind: Rockists v. Poptimists

My new “Ties That Bind” column is up at PopMatters today, so as the Tom Tom Club said, check it out y’all. The subject this month is the fabled “rockist v. poptimist” debate, which I generally think impoverishes the way we talk about music despite the major benefit of more inclusivity brought about by the poptimist argument. The point is to go beyond this way of hearing music, and to do that, we need to get past r v. p, so RIP r v. p, I say. What I’ve tried to do is look at some new ways of considering the debate, including some overlooked angles. The stuff about York, Pennsylvania is true.

Re-reading the column online, sure, I see some holes, a few jagged transitions, and I realize I didn’t mention that Carl Wilson’s book is about Celine Dion. Everyone knows that book, though. It’s good, you should check it out. Anyway, maybe I’ll have an “extended thoughts” follow-up to the article, maybe not. I’m writing like a madman, trying to get as much done before classes begin. I will say that writing this piece made me sick to my stomach; I’d been thinking about the topic for a while, but once I started writing and committed to it as this month’s column, I immediately felt like I’d stepped into quicksand, or a house of mirrors, or a house of mirrors with a quicksand floor.

Yeah.

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