Before I launch into a full-fledged critique of the preposterous faux-publication named after the devil’s weapon, “Pitchfork,” I want to thank Mr. Seth Green (see page 12), and award him the exceptionally highly regarded honorary title of “President-in-Chief of Death Match.” Your contributions to this art will not fade with time.
Anyhoo, arguments: I’ve been given the unenviable task of defending the modern world’s favorite punching bag, supposed arbiter of hipster elitism, Pitchfork Media. But really, why does everyone feel the need to beat up on Pitchfork. Sure, they’ve done some indefensible shit (generally it’s not a good idea to open a record review “ours is a generation overwhelmed by frustration, unrest, dread, and tragedy”), but they’ve gotten better. Now they’re just another source for well-written, well-considered reviews.
And these days, the Pitchfork staff aren’t just acting as reviewers, they’re trying to be critics. That’s a subtle but important distinction: instead of considering each record or song in a vacuum, they identify and analyze the trends in contemporary pop, and try to shape what kind of music actually gets produced. And generally they’ve used their power for good: introducing dubstep and other innovative British electronic sounds to America, separating the wheat from the chaff during the lo-fi boom of 2008, and lately promoting really fun, summery Balearic pop. So hey, that’s pretty admirable.
Sure, when Pitchfork announced they were going to count down their favorite records of the decade, we all got ready to decry it. We all assumed they were going to do something ridiculous and controversial, just to troll the indie set. But then the list came out, and it was…well, pretty non-controversial. The countdown is topped out by Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Jay-Z, all of whom made pretty some pretty unassailably great and influential albums in the Third Millennium. And sure, their taste skews towards 2000-2002, while I’d give more props to 2007, but that’s just an issue of age. We all like whatever shaped our taste when we were 19, and the folks at P-Fork are a touch older. So maybe I don’t always agree with Pitchfork, but I respect what they’re trying to do. Not like those elitist assholes at Car & Driver Magazine. Hipster douchebags.