Every few months, Pitchfork publishes a review so objectionable that former readers email me to ask me to review it even though this blog has been basically inactive for years. It happened on Friday with the RiFF RaFF review. But I didn’t know exactly what to say about it, other than that it hasn’t been thoroughly copyedited (“[O]ne of Diplo’s weaknesses is songwriting, so the his production…”), so I drafted a special guest Pitchfork review reviewer (above), who points to the fact, more than any particular thing wrong with the review, that the artists actually read these, and sometimes they hurt. Some reviews, at Pitchfork and elsewhere, are extraordinary distillations of movements, people, and small moments that give listeners paths to love and understand music in ways we never could have without the hours and years of thoughtful listening that the reviewers put in before we got there. Others deserve to be forgotten, and not because they hurt the artist, but because they’re careless, bloviating, and undergraduate (much like a lot of my own writing). In the winter, indoors, there’s plenty for time for reviews, but now, it’s summertime, so maybe instead of reading the Neon Icon review, you should go here, buy Neon Icon ($8.99), and blast it in the car with your friends.
"Do you remember the happiest moment of your life?"
"One time back in 73’, I went to see a show at the Village Vanguard by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. He was amazing. He could play three saxophones at one time. I went to his last set of the night, and I got there early and found him sitting at the bar. I went up to him and asked if I could join him on stage for a song, but he told me that he wouldn’t have the time. ‘If you change your mind,’ I told him, ‘I’ll be sitting in the front row corner.’ I told him exactly where I’d be because he was blind. Then right at the end of the show, he started waving toward my table. I got up there and started playing, and at one point he motioned for the whole band to stop, and I got to play a solo up on the stage. Everyone was clapping for me. I rode home on the subway that night feeling like a king. Feeling like I could play with anyone in the world."