Pitchfork, shame on you

As my ancestors ancient Greeks used to say: “a lot of people hated wealth, but no one hated glory”. If money was not the ulterior motive for that review, then power surely was.

Pitchfork used their review for Millionyoung’s new album, “Replicants”, to kill chillwave. The same genre that Pitchfork itself popularized in 2009. This was not a review of Millionyoung’s music, but a death sentence for the whole genre. The only criticism they had for the music was that the singer can’t sing well. But you know, they gave a 7.6/10 on Millionyoung’s first EP, how did they not notice the singer back then? And besides, Diaz sings no better and no worse than your average hipster singer. Singing abilities were never a reason for Pitchfork to give an album just 3.8/10.

Pitchfork, which thrives as a business by calling the shots in the hipster underground music industry, gives thumbs up and down to whole genres now, not just bands. The more influence they have, the more money they make, the more self-important they feel. So much for “underground”. Even that is at the mercy of a corporation.

UPDATE: Reader Mike D asked for a list of my favorite chillwave songs, here they are. Linked downloads are legal, from Pitchfork and StereoGum.

1. Washed Out – “New Theory”
2. Memory Tapes – “Green Knight (Visions of Trees Remix)” (free download)
3. Wild Nothing – “Confirmation” (only this song from his whole repertoir is chillwave)
4. FiveNG – “Skin” (Bandcamp download)
5. Kisses – “Midnight Lover”
6. Washed Out – “Belong”
7. Beat Connection – “In the Water” (free download)
8. Washed Out – “Good Luck”
9. Teen Daze – “For Paulina” (free download)
10. Washed Out – “Feel it all Around”
11 Washed Out – “Hold Out”
12 BlackBird Blackbird – “Happy High”
13. Washed Out – “Lately”
14. Washed Out – “You and I (feat. Caroline Polachek)”
15. Memory Tapes – “Bicycle” (free download)
16. Washed Out – “Luck”
17. Neon Indian – “Deadbeat Summer” (free download)
18. BlackBird Blackbird – “Hawaii”
19. Neon Indian – “Terminally Chill”
20. Millionyoung – “Cynthia”

Runner Up: Brothertiger – “Wind at My Back” (Bandcamp download)

Toro y Moi is overrated IMO. I can’t find any hook in his music.

Update 2: More of this crap!

9 Comments »

indiequick wrote on February 21st, 2011 at 8:35 PM PST:

I’ve generally laughed off Pitchfork and it’s ‘rating’ system, much like I believe most of the ‘indie’ world has written off Hipster Runoff because of it’s ability to be knowingly, pathetic journalism.

Since I help run a music blog/site I know that there are lots of challenges in getting readership numbers up while also holding onto a shred of integrity, while trying to be a journalist.

This is nothing but a silly attempt to start a ‘commenting battle’ on bitchforks website, where unemployed hipsters can go on the defensive to Pitchfork writers and say a bunch of “NUH-UH!! That record is great!”

It all comes down to personal taste now, and regardless of how I feel about Pitchfork or Stereogum, I for one am happy to kick chill waves ass out the door.


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Eugenia wrote on February 21st, 2011 at 8:44 PM PST:

Pitchfork doesn’t gain anything from being beaten up by “unemployed hipsters”. Pitchfork simply did what it did in order to put up a power show, and say to the world “we make genres, and we destroy genres”.

As for chillwave, I really like the genre. It might have started as a fad, but I like the vast majority of songs released under it. For example, if you take 1000 random indie rock songs, and 1000 random chillwave songs, chances are that I’d like 2/3 of the chillwave songs, while it’s possibly about 1/3 for the rock ones.

In fact, I believe that the genre has NOT shown its true colors yet. A lot of the songs are good as I said above, but only about 20-25 songs are _really_ _amazingly_ _classic_. In other words, there’s room for great improvement there, and having Pitchfork killing the genre is just stupid and short-sighted.


indiequick wrote on February 21st, 2011 at 8:46 PM PST:

When the world stops making chillwave music, let me know. Until then, Pitchfork has done nothing of the sort (killing the genre). It’s for pageviews, not cause they believe it. Someone has to pay that light bill.

Once again, personal taste.


mike D wrote on February 21st, 2011 at 8:48 PM PST:

hey eugenia, fellow fan of chillwave here. why dont you give us a compiled list of your bestof chillwave songs?


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Eugenia wrote on February 21st, 2011 at 8:50 PM PST:

>Pitchfork has done nothing of the sort (killing the genre).

I wish this were true. But we like it or not, musicians do check up on Pitchfork to see what’s new, and influence them. Musicians like to be praised, for that to happen, they have to be “in”. 2009 was about chillwave, 2010 was about Witch House. Let’s see what Pitchfork tells us 2011 is about.


memsom wrote on February 22nd, 2011 at 4:20 AM PST:

Well, Pitchfork has no influence over the UK. Not that Chillwave exists in the mainstream here.

Hipster is a type of trouser too 😉 HAHAHA!!!! (They sit on your hips rather than waist.)


Michael C. wrote on February 22nd, 2011 at 9:22 AM PST:

I did not care then, I do not care now. I listen to whatever I want including trance and hardcore and I really don’t care what is it called. This particular track has rather bad electronic drums, and too excessive reverb, it gets tiresome after 30 seconds, but it is not the worst music ever produced. At least it shows an attempt of creating a melody.


indiequick wrote on February 23rd, 2011 at 2:40 PM PST:

@eugenia – you’re making Pitchfork out to be the gospel of music. This just isn’t the case. And I’m baffled by your stance that “pitchfork has killed chillwave.”

You see, if it were 1991 and Pitchfork were… Rolling Stone magazine, I might be able to agree with you since that would be a highly read magazine that is delivered to our doorsteps on a monthly basis. But, not everyone visits pitchfork on a daily basis, and not everyone receives the Rolling Stone. There’s this nifty tool called ‘the internet’ where people like you and I are able to get our information from a number of sources. If CNN said “Wisconsin is doomed b/c…..” would the world believe it? Not a single bit.

You give them far too much credit, as they are just one of a million commentaries on music. It’s like someone writing about Sarah Palin. While media outlets should stop this practice entirely, they do it b/c it keeps the ratings up and the advertising dollars coming in. And this is ONE WRITERS commentary on chillwave, not the entire magazine.

2011 is the year of disagreeing about the power of Pitchfork. Stereogum anyone? Largeheartedboy? Gorilla vs. Bear? MetaCritic? What did THEY say about the album. If an overwhelming majority of writers feel that chillwave is in fact, dead, then maybe I could point the finger at Pitchfork and say ‘yes, they are to blame.’

Pitchfork ‘calling the shots on indie music’ is just as powerful of a statement as Fox is ‘fair and balanced news’ or ‘Major labels control the music industry.’ Those statements may hold an ounce of truth, but it’s 2011 – and that is changing, quickly.


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Eugenia wrote on February 23rd, 2011 at 3:10 PM PST:

We’ll have to agree to disagree. In the “market” of new genres, Pitchfork can make and not-make a new genre by writing about bands that use that genre or not. New musicians follow the trend then. Pitchfork does have a say in the hipster world.


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