I’m seriously considering canceling my subscription to Time Out Chicago. I don’t think they realize that one of their editors are single handedly destroying their circulation.
If you recall a few weeks back, Brent DiCrescenzo, the music editor (*cough*) of Time out Chicago and the arch nemesis of good taste in music, ripped to shreds my beloved LCD Soundsystem album, This is Happening. As the situation went, I raged and wrote a letter to the editors of Time Out, calling Brent out for his lack of actual music reviewing and more on his blatant attack on the character of the artist. If a music editor is supposed to review the qualities of a albums’ musical merits, why then was so little time spent on that and so much spent on belittling the talent for theft and cribbing other artists, which may or may not be the case but is beside the point. Brent’s emailed response to me was to call my attack on his review petulant. I guess blatant character assassination is a job only he can do and get away with, while the rest of us who complain are relegated as a group of cry babies.
Well he’s at it again. In the recent July 8-14 issue of Time Out, on the front of the music section, is an article consisting of Brent and Joshua Ferguson, another Time Out hack, in conversation over with the artist M.I.A. is a big phony.
M.I.A. (born Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam)- is from Sri Lanka by way of the UK, and is know to many for her huge single ‘Paper Planes’. It’s well documented that M.I.A.’s father was a dissident in Sri Lanka working for the Tamil Military, and she spent her first several years hiding from the Sri Lanka Army. She moved to London, where she was educated and began a career in graphic design, fashion and eventually music. Her first disc, Arular, was named for her father’s adopted name during his time with the Tamil. Kala was her second disc (named for her mother), and one of my favorites from 2007, a brilliant fusion of hip hop, rap and dance hall with electro thrown in. Her new album, // / Y / , a typographic creation of her name that was designed as a diss against Google, is scheduled for release this week.
To give you an idea, this is her video for Born Free. Warning, NFSW as it shows some disturbing imagery.
Which brings me to my question. Why wasn’t the album reviewed, and instead we get this dissection on how M.I.A. is a hypocrite and a non-artist? Brent and Joshua go down this path of calling her “and idiot”, comparing M.I.A.’s history in Sri Lanka to Sarah Palin’s ‘I can see Russia from my backyard!’, and overall calling her a media whore for over exaggerating her father’s anti-government history. The purpose for all of this? According to Brent and Josh, it makes her music less attractive:
BD: With M.I.A., it goes beyond personality. She’s a hypocrite. Her entire stage act is this guerilla, radical figure. Now she’s revealed to be completely unknowledgeable about politics.
JPF: Taking her authenticity to task does make me less interested to hear what the album is about.
Read more: http://chicago.timeout.com/articles/music/87044/the-mia-debate#ixzz0tNpnxTNZ
Well bully for you two, but guess what? I don’t give a fuck what you two think of M.I.A. personally. I did not subscribe for a bunch of pretentious dissing of artist, or even to read that you are ‘reluctant to call her an artist.’ Sorry Brent, but when I last looked, M.I.A. has a record label, designs her own album cover art, and performs music. She kind of falls into the artist category. But to counter your reluctance, if it makes you feel better, I’m reluctant to call you a music critic.
I’m also surprised you can get anyone to interview with you, since you’re more likely to skewer them than not. And when did you two turn into Bill O’Reilly and become the expert du jour on foreign politics? Do I see your commentaries on CNN? No. Then I don’t need your half-assed political hack analysis here.
Furthermore, why does everything need to be so fucking deep and meaningful to matter? M.I.A. herself is quoted as saying “Nobody wants to be dancing to political songs. Every bit of music out there that’s making it into the mainstream is really about nothing. I wanted to see if I could write songs about something important and make it sound like nothing. And it kind of worked.”
Finally, to answer your burning question on how much of her album is her or her producer, Diplo? Diplo produces two tracks on the new disc. Maya produces nine of them. She also handles creative direction, art direction, photography, A & R, executive producer and mixing on the album. I’d say she’s all over the place. Hope that clears that up for you.
So in effect, Brent and his minions over in the ‘music department’ of Time Out have proven how ignorant they actually are. I think the icing for me was a few pages after this article where Brent reviewed, surprisingly favorable, a new track by Of Montreal. The final line discounted the entire review for me: “Duh. Bowie never worked in his garage.” It seems our boy Brent can’t find a modern day artist that lives up to the glory that is David Bowie (of whom he defended so vigorously against those thieves LCD Soundsystem). In fact, since Kevin Barnes did record in a studio this time, why isn’t he accused of aping Bowie like James Murphy was? The Bowie worship and comparisons are just a tad tired, and really show what a shallow basis for his music expertise Brent actually has. I just hope TimeOut Chicago
realizes this sooner rather than later before their readership migrates for greener pastures.