An example, from Pitchfork’s “15 Writers/15 Songs” –
It’s a simple song– one that reflected the pared-down life of a guy who owned a single pair of jeans, no bed, and lots of books (all warping thanks to a leaky ceiling). I mostly read Samuel Beckett during those months: I liked how everything in his work got simpler but somehow increasingly complex. Sorta like my own 1990s life, I guess. And very much like “Say Yes”: Two minutes of one guy and his guitar hasn’t sounded so gigantic since. The song’s quiet beauty, hope, and inevitable-letdown sadness still get to me, especially now that the singer is gone. Smith was someone who seemed to be running parallel to me and the friends I met during that period. We noticed that the spitting Pacific Northwest rain did stop, and we kept going. – Brandon Stosuy
Yeah, Pitchfork draws a lot of ire from some. The indie taste-maker has been criticized for overvaluing certain artists for the sake of appearing cutting edge or controversial. Some of my friends have a running joke about reverb-drenched dishwasher sounds garnering critical acclaim. Others claim that Pitchfork loses credibility for succumbing to corporate pressures. The site’s interest does not begin and end with spreading the word on up-and-coming artists. It also has a brand and a large yearly festival to promote. Conflict of interest? Might some artists playing this festival get favorable coverage over others who are not? Yes, most certainly. While these qualms do exist, I don’t think that it is reasonable to dismiss the outlet completely.
Recently, I discovered an entry that compiled pieces from 15 different writers, one for each year of Pitchfork’s existence. Each writer wrote a short essay about one of these years, a favorite song from this year and why this song in particular defined their life at this time. This connection, one that is of particular interest to me, is brilliantly conveyed by all contributors. Too often music journalists are pigeonholed into being strictly critics. Its refreshing to see works like this, about life and music, blurring the lines between the two and highlighting what it is about these sounds we surround ourselves with constantly that makes us do just that. Music defines so much about us. Music and life are close friends. One compliments the other. To some, there is no distinction.