There is probably no better place to discover new, cutting edge indie than pitchfork, the online magazine that thrives on being that annoying dude who posts “First!” on the comment thread that is the independent music scene. That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind. When reading album reviews on pitchfork, you’ll see a score out of 10 that you can immediately refer to (saving yourself minutes of having to sift through pretentious cultural references), but there’s more that goes into a score than “how good is the music”. You have to keep in mind that if a reviewer feels a band has “hype”, the album score will be 2 points lower than it really should be. If the band has embraced anything in the “digital realm”, their score will be inflated by 1.5 points. If a band is famous, deduct 3 points from any score. Most of all, if it’s a review of a hip hop artist, throw any continuity or sense out the window because pitchfork has about as much streetcred as the star of the “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” video. Better yet, make that The Offspring.
So I introduce to you a potential Katuwapitiya feature:
Pretentiousfork: How Pitchfork Is Wrong
Lil’ Wayne – “Tha” Carter III
Now if you’re a fan of hip hop, you’re well aware that “Cash Money” was a rap crew that came along in the late 90s with a very clear goal: to destroy hip-hop (currently, that torch is carried by Soulja Boy). They were able to do this with an amount of bravado that would make Slick Rick cringe. With a hit that caused black males to put their hands together like pigeons and go “Brrrrrrrrrrrrr“, they were also able to make some long for the return of the good ole’ days of parachute pants and choreography.
That being said, amongst critics, there is no “rapper” right now with more popularity than Lil’ Wayne. He’s swimming in grammy nominations, blogomania, and most of all, he’s basking in an 8.7/10 from pitchfork. (Note: The “hype” factor did reduce this album from its real score of 6.7 to a 4.7 but Lil Wayne’s embrace of digital music is amplified by sheer volume of material, hence the additional 4 points)
Now let me go over how pitchfork is wrong.
Obviously, the album features Lil Wayne. No amount of growth as an artist can remove T-Pain as a guest vocalist (who definitely shines with a chorus stating “got money, and you know it, take it out your pocket and show it, throw it, this a way, that a way, this a way, that a way”), No amount of symbolism can give the words of “lollipop” some sort of deeper meaning than a clichéd-immature sexual innuendo.
In the review, I find more noteworthy lines than I did in the actual album. Pitchfork talks about “the extraterrestrial fetishism of “Phone Home””. Could they be referring to: “Lock, load, ready to aim at any target/I could get your brains for a bargain/Like I bought it, from Target”? Or the gem: “I’m rare like Mr. Clean with hair/No brake lights on my career/I never had life and I never had fear/I rap like I done died and goin’ to heaven, I swear”. Or maybe, they’re just loving the “eclectic unpredictability of it all.”
They continue: “lush ballad “Comfortable”… doubles as its most crazed and pained.” Craze and pain? I must have missed something in “Yeah, it’s no sweat no sweat/I will never 1, 2, 3 4-get/About you, your love, your sex…You know I work you out like bowflex”.
Pitchfork then refers to Lil; Wayne’s legacy (and I’m assuming it has nothing to do with the increase in sales of Amelie) and mentions how “his anguish burns as hot as his punchlines.”
“told her to back it up like erp erp
and make that ass jump like shczerp shczerp”
…feel the burn…
Now it wouldn’t be a pitchfork review without some pretentious out-of-place vocabulary to jazzercise the latter half of the review. Of particular note: “After dozens of listens, the record’s overflowing minutiae– from Fabulous and Juelz Santana’s overachieving cameos to Wayne’s hilariously apropos kinship-” . Aha! Apropos indeed. Hear hear.
Most of all though, the kicker to the article is its ending: “Wayne updates what it means to be the best rapper alive-”. By “update”, I’m assuming pitchfork means “drag that title through the mud”.