The famous music review website Pitchfork recently laid off staff and is merging with GQ, essentially ending its 28-year run.

I can’t say I regularly read the site, but some of the postmortems resonated with me, and underscored the extent to which user-generated content and social media distribution are changing culture. Like this post from Yancey Strickler, a former writer at the site. While they started with an idealistic view of music criticism, they…

quickly learned how editorial” fit in a corporate worldview. Nobody cared about what was being written or who was writing what. They simply saw editorial as a way to make their offering feel more quality — like a rug or oil painting meant to impart a touch of class.


A decade ago cultural criticism was a sparkly pixie dust you could spread over a business to give it a veneer of prestige. But in a world where TikToks dwarf all over forms of consumption and a video that someone spent a day making will get more attention than something a studio spent years and millions of dollars to make, who needs prestige?


The decline of the critic mirrors the decline of the mediums they cover. Music and film are industries whose relative cultural value has dipped, thus their critics’s cultural influence has plummeted. In realms like politics and the culture wars, however, critics are thriving. Where there’s power and money, critics can have influence and get paid. When the money and power dry up, the beat does too.”

Color me old fashioned, but I like getting recommendations for stuff from people, not algorithms.

Lots of good stuff in the post:

February 9, 2024

New Gary Gulman standup special

Available on HBO/MAX or whatever. Highly recommend.


Watch the full thing

December 31, 2023

Two bands I saw last night that are good

Frankie CosmosFrankie Cosmos

I saw two solid indie pop bands last night and they were good.


First up was Market.

Frankie Cosmos

The headliner was Frankie Cosmos. Their most recent album is called Inner World Peace.

image credit (no relation)

December 30, 2023

How Mr. Brightside became a generation’s anthem”

I enjoyed revisiting that song in this NYT article. Can’t say I ever thought very much about the lyrics or the place of the song in the culture, but I guess that’s why we have articles like this.

Yet in the intervening decades, Mr. Brightside” — which eventually reached the Billboard Hot 100 over a year after its initial release, peaking at No. 10 in June 2005 — has become something more than a hit. It has grown into an all-purpose, inescapable rallying cry: a karaoke staple, a football tradition, a party playlist must-have, a meme. It’s a straight shot of nostalgia that, having survived that awkward interval when a song feels dated and falls out of favor, now belongs to a pantheon of modern classics that are both extremely of their time and transcend it.

December 28, 2023

Restaurant drawingRestaurant drawing

July 18, 2023

Stack of potsStack of pots

March 4, 2023