11 May 2009

In Response To...

What follows is a response to Mr. Liam Smith's comment regarding my review of the Kinetic Stereokids' LP Kid Moves. If you wish to completely skip and ignore this petty internet squabble, please do so and feel free to visit this site.

If you're still here, you can read Mr. Smith's comment here in the "Comments" section at the end of the review. His blog is Quietly Loud. The very same "comment" he left was published a blog posting on his blog, but it has since been removed.

Mr. Smith:

First, thanks for reading my review of Kinetic Stereokids' LP Kid Moves. I hope you found it interesting or that it at least presented a different viewpoint from your own. Judging by the post you left on your own blog and the subsequent cut and paste in the "Comments" sections of my blog and the "Comments" section of Stereo Subversion, I gathered (from intuition) that you clearly wanted me, and possibly others, to be aware of how you felt. Mission accomplished, and congratulations! You now know what it feels like to be a critic!

I suspect that when it comes down to brass tax, you and I are not that different. We both maintain a blog, we both clearly love music, and we are passionate defenders of the things we appreciate and enjoy. I deduced by reading over your blog that you enjoy the music of Kinetic Stereokids. Fantastic! I enjoyed some of their songs, too. The album as a whole, though? Not so much. But you knew that. And instead of choosing to offer an opinion or reason for why you enjoyed the music of the Kinetic Stereokids, you simply choose to deride the role of the record reviewer and, seemingly, all reviewers' inability to "assess the world" accurately.

Well. Guilty as charged.

I am quite unable to assess the world accurately because I have no frame of reference for the world we inhabit--besides my own frame of reference, of course. As you say, once you grew up and "realized...[you] knew nothing," you found yourself incapable of speaking to the state of the world at large. Realizing that there is more out there than you first imagined is a daunting realization. I daresay that's why there are millions of bands who believe they have something special and something worthwhile that other folks beyond themselves and their garage walls should hear. The problem is (and here's where it all ties together)...not everyone wants to hear your opinion--or your "music," per se. (Yes, I'm using 'music' as a metaphor for 'criticism'--ironic, isn't it?)

Now, I respect and admire that you do not want to hear my opinion. But then you must assume that others may not want to hear yours, either. Correct? Or did you assume that we were only interested in your opinion? Now that would be ironic! But, let me see if I can address you argument a bit and, hopefully, illuminate the essence of the diagreement.

The metaphors in your posting/comment are a little exaggerated if I may suggest so. You assume that no critic or record reviewer has ever played an instrument "in a legitimate band"--by the way, how do you define legitimacy? By lack of recorded material? Or by the minuscule realm of your own scope of listening?--and you also assume that we learn nothing from the "small town" of our youth. But is not the "small town" of our youth the basis for our continuing frame of reference? Or does all memory and "legitimacy" disappear once we realize something bigger is out there for us to explore? Also, your example of a five-year-old describing "Paris" is just dumb. I don't think you thought that idea through very well.

But let's not digress.

I am at fault for being long-winded (probably due to my small town frame of reference). Maybe that's because I spend what I consider to be an ample and sometimes superfluous amount of time thinking about what goes into my reviews--you know the ones that "remind [you] of [your] youth"? I do not take the power of the written word lightly as it is very prone to upset the balances of human nature from time to time. And, as for frame of reference, I like to think I have a pretty good one, though I'm not sure it would be worthwhile to convince you of that. Your world view is obviously much greater than mine, since you have obviously been privy to some type of Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus conversion (i.e., "Than [sic] I grew up and realized…all that time I knew nothing").

Anyway, I'm glad we had this chat. And I'm glad you like the Kinetic Stereokids as much as you do. I'm tempted to break out their CD once again to see if it strikes a different chord in me this time. But that's pretty narrow minded of me to say and I wouldn't want you to think that my word "holds supreme." Because it doesn't. Not at all. But thanks for saying so.

Scott E

PS--I wasn't really planning on responding to you, but when you left the same post twice, once on my blog and once on the site I write for, Stereo Subversion, I figured you really wanted me to know what your opinion was. And I certainly wouldn't want it to go unnoticed.

1 comment:

aaron thomas smith said...

Mr. Pitchfork,

my comment was removed from my own blog to spotlight a mini-tour put together last minute. It's now back-up, it had nothing to do with anything else!

While trying to stay awake throughout your elaborate assessment of my comments, I found amusement in your presented inquiry to defend the album in words, to your readers I state 'listen to it'. My favorite quote in music is by Trent Reznor (of all people)
"the goal was to create a record that, ultimately, you'll like - but probably not the first time you hear it"

Let people judge for themselves, (especially in today's myspace world) unless you choose to promote something. In doing listening sessions (in which the Kinetic Stereokids floored me past 1,000 other applicants) for the Pop Montreal festival, I've realized it gets tiring to stroke ones own ego downplaying others music, rather spotlight what merits in your mind. See KSK live, than let's talk!

I love your patting me on the head, like a God appointed journalist telling me how it is!
"I do not take the power of the written word lightly as it is very prone to upset the balances of human nature from time to time". Wow, good thing we are in this solely for music!!!

I give you a 4.3/10. Leave it to pitchfork already!!