100% Content
May 4th, 2007

Coco-razy controversy


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.


  1. I have to agree with you on only writing about albums you think are good. As someone who’s done a bit of music journalism, I started out on the same principle – combined with an ideal which Will Oldham inspired in me, when he said: “As soon as it becomes your profession to critique a book, or movie, or record then, not only do you lose your passion for it, but it loses validity for whoever you’re trying to turn it onto because they’re going to be approaching it from a consumer’s point of view, not from a professional writer’s point of view.”
    So I only wanted to cover albums that I felt were worth going out and buying, works I felt strongly about.

    However, when I finally made the step up to print journalism, the reality is that this good-only approach is not tenable. If you’re going to review new releases on any kind of regular basis, it’d be near-impossible to only focus on the good stuff…otherwise you might go quite some time without anything being written!

    As for Pitchfork, I had no idea they were taken this seriously (i.e. enough for Antony to write in). I was under the impression that they had a reputation for being over-opinionated and cynical to the point of acidic. Personally, I stopped paying any attention to their reviews long ago after I saw some brilliant material given underwhelming and inaccurate ratings. I honestly would ignore any blurb or score of theirs if I saw it on an artist’s page, etc. And I’d find it hard to believe that I’m alone in this.

    Ultimately, it IS far easier for journalists to be negative, particularly when the publication is trying to maintain a “hipster” image from being constantly derisive. It doesn’t require an ability for astute insights or a flair for writing, only the capacity to be an asshole – of which there is plenty floating ’round.

    It’s no coincidence that websites and magazines like this (and there are many of them) have something in common: they’re free. I mean would you shell out a handful of bucks every month/week to read something that is being negative to the point of parasitic? Probably not. It’s a format that gets stale very quickly and people inevitably grow tired of it. Unfortunately there is always a new one to take its place, learning nothing. C’est la vie!

    Comment by Phoenix Ghost — May 6, 2007 @ 12:49 pm
  2. this is why i love your blog. you make fewer posts about music you really appreciate; it’s the only music blog that doesn’t overwhelm me with hyper posting. many people don’t buy music at all because of the music blogs, who sadly seem to be (as one of them is actually titled) music sluts. pitchfork is the mother of them all. i feel like you actually respect artists by giving your readers some time & space to actually hear their music.

    Comment by abby — May 7, 2007 @ 4:52 pm
  3. To me it’s a review, I don’t think it should be removed. I don’t really know if anything should be done. Even though i disagree with everything he said, Marc Hogan shouldn’t lose his jobs (not that I can conceive that happening). He did his Job which was to say what he thought about the album, and Pitchfork knows his abilities as a writer and that’s why they chose him. I’m surprised they accepted the review, without edit, but taking it down is a bit like denial and this review is something being talked about and part of public discussion and will be referred to in the future.

    However Just reading it made me realise, simply, how much I dislike him. Even if I despised the album, I’d find SOMETHING good to say. I see beauty anywhere that someone applies effort. That review had not even ONE solitary compliment to give CocoRosie. And it’s an insult to them, and it was clearly intended to be, otherwise it’d provide some sort of balance. I can’t help but think, until hearing him speak any differently, that he’s volatile and someone I’d completely avoid speaking to, seeing what he can do to hurt someone.

    Comment by Jacob — May 7, 2007 @ 7:19 pm
  4. […] if things didn’t finish off last week oddly enough for the duo, I recently discovered that Cocorosie have been arrested and can no longer perform the […]

  5. Whining about a review bothers me more than a poorly written review.
    There are several negative reviews of this record and making a big deal out of Pitchfork’s review screams of a ploy for attention.

    Some dweeb doesn’t like yr record. Move on.

    Comment by Chris — May 13, 2007 @ 9:13 pm
  6. ^
    edit: friend’s record.

    Comment by Chris — May 13, 2007 @ 9:16 pm
  7. I’ve seen plenty of similar reviews of various Cocorosie albums/gigs/whatever elsewhere. I don’t think that those who enjoy the music care too much about these reviews. Discerning listeners can choose for themselves, Marc Hogan can think/write what he likes, surely. The fact that I like the album and he doesn’t simply means I’m less likely to take notice of his reviews.

    Comment by Rob — May 24, 2007 @ 9:58 pm
  8. Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Finding the
    time and actual effort to create a very good article
    but what can I say I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

    Have a look at my webpage :: RussBScoggan

    Comment by RussBScoggan — July 11, 2016 @ 7:27 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

This work is licensed under GPL - 2009 | Powered by Wordpress using the theme aav1