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Monday, August 10, 2015

OOH BURN!!! - illustrating sexism in music reviews


I was searching the internet for stuff on Lykke Li, and came across this:

Tiger Beatdown - the ten objectively best songs of 2011. Wherein we find such gem reviews as these:

2. Bon Iver – “Calgary”

Bon Iver is one of many in a lineage of similar-sounding male songwriters. With his sexy beard and flannel shirts revealing just a hint of chest hair, Iver has built quite a fanbase, drawn to his good looks and sultry crooning. Despite his narrow focus on men’s issues, Iver somehow overcomes the limitations of his sex and triumphantly pulls together an anthem for all of us.

and

6. James Blake – “Limit To Your Love.”

Having bubbled under in 2010, this was the year that dubstep pin-up James Blake finally broke. Here Blake, who sometimes even writes his own songs sometimes, covers Feist’s “Limit to Your Love” to great effect. Relying on just a piano, a sparse beat and a cute sub-bass, Blake’s fantastic effort almost makes you forget the original.

and

10. Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”

Thom Yorke is not a very talented singer, but the clear tone of his voice works well enough for his indie-electro records. Over a soundscape clever crafted by his producer, Yorke dances through the videoclip like an ethereal, beguiling pixie.

OK, I'm dense but upon seeing Yorke being called a "pixie" I thought sumfink was oop*. Well, here's the postscript:

Ok, Sady’s pointed out it might not be immediately clear what I’m doing here if you don’t read as much music criticism as we do. So basically, I used a lot of small cut n pastes from actual reviews – using the reviews of men for the women, and vice versa – then finessed to make them artist-appropriate. I wanted to spotlight the way that music criticism minimises women’s achievements through using ”objective” aesthetic criteria that work to privilege male artists as a whole.

upon which you realize fuuuck, that really has been happening, hasn't it?, and the above male artist reviews really do drive home how differently women are treated.

And it is awfully sexist how reviewers treat people like Lana Del Rey. After all, even if you can't stand her you have to admit she's objectively no worse an artist than Thom Yorke.



*- no, actually I thought something was up when I saw Lykke Li being compared to Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray. WTF?

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