I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not to post about this gossip tinged tiff online between Pitchfork Media‘s Marc Hogan and Antony about his review of Cocorosie’s recent album Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn. The just of it is that Antony was upset over Hogan’s claim that he had appeared on the album, when in fact he had not.
In a series of letters, correspondence between the two (all available online here) escalated to anger from Antony about how unrelentingly negative the review was of Cocorosie’s album. In the correspondence Antony asks, “Why would you print a review that only seeks to oppress performers who are among those taking some of the biggest and most generous risks?” and later in a letter addressed to Pitchfork directly he says “We all read Pitchfork, and rely on it as an important outlet of information for independent artists. Please rise to the challenge and represent Cocorosie fairly, instead of publishing checklists of incomprehension that are tinged with misogynist resentment.”
I’m trying to remain fairly neutral here as I have some fairly strong opinions about this issue; I don’t want this blog to be divisive, but I will say that I think that Antony does have a point to an extent. Pitchfork has a lot of power in the independent music industry. In my honest opinion, too much power. Their ability to make or devastate a band is scary. I think it’s easy to fall under the assumption that pitchfork should be obligated at times to show some respect to independent artists as they are really the biggest source of news for many of these artists. Whether or not pitchfork should or does well… As much as people try to deny the influence of Pitchfork on their own opinions of music, regardless, I’ve seen a few artists I care about and enjoy get burned (or snubbed as mediocre) by pitchfork and never got the attention the deserve.
On the other hand, I say all of this on a blog. I’m not a critic at heart and when I don’t enjoy an artists album- I don’t report on it. That’s actually what I like about the medium of writing for a blog, I’m not forced to write scathing reviews of things I don’t like. However, Marc Hogan was writing a music review as a music critic. I think that’s an important distinction to make, as I don’t necessarily think he wrote the review as a personal attack on Cocorosie. It’s his job- and as I have experienced first hand here at this blog, it’s not always the critic that can be held for complete responsibility in writing a negative review. They need an audience. I think it’s the reader who is often as much to blame as the writer. Negative reviews attract eyes, people are drawn to them, I don’t know what it is but people love negativity. I made the bad decision of allowing a guest poster to write a mean spirited take on a band for Naturalismo and it was the 3rd most popular and viewed post I’ve ever had on here (the first was here, 2nd here). I’ve since decided to only post what I like and not make Naturalismo blog a hostile read. Venting about artists I don’t like makes me feel cheap and like I’ve waisted time that I could have spent listening to artists I actually enjoy. I’d really like to hear your opinions on this whole debacle. To read the entire correspondence you can go here.
Thanks to BV who first brought this to my attention.