Mar 132014

Surrender to the All-Star Jam! Tell us what’s on your mind.


  15 Responses to “All-Star Jam”

  1. I’m glad you posted that, diskojoe. I saw that poster a couple of weeks ago and meant to write something. Can you imagine the rocktesterone that was generated on stage that night?

  2. saturnismine

    Here’s what’s on my mind. Has RTH taken on the subject of Ken Tucker’s reviews on NPR? I heard one a couple of nights ago that made me want to vomit. Anyone else feel this way about his conspicuous eloquence, his deliberately arcane twists of logic, and his quiet smugness over his privilege at telling you what you should listen to, which results from his having heard the record before you? Help me out here, RTH. I’m considering using my quarter break to craft a Ken Tucker Review Generator. It would be like a Mad Lib or something. Shall I?

  3. I’ve never had any particular issues with Tucker but the whole area of rock critics seems to be something worthy of exploration and analysis by RTH. Marsh, Bangs, Marcus, Tucker, Fricke, etc. Damned if I can figure a hook for a thread though.

    Critics with bands? Critics into management? Critics who started in Philly?

  4. saturnismine

    I can understand not having a problem with the guy. I mean, he is thoughtful. And it’s clear that he actually listens to the records he reviews. Also, I suppose if it has taken me this long to grow tired of him (and his literary counterpart, Maureen Corrigan), it might be more a case of familiarity breeding contempt.

    But I’m gonna let my relationship w/ Ken keep evolving the way it has: towards me hating him.

    I’m thinking that the task of making a Ken Tucker Review Generator might help me gain some respect for him.

    It would be based on stuff like this. Fill in the blanks in the following Ken Tucker-esque construction:

    Her lyrics are as [blank] as they are [blank].

    Or: choose from the following phrases to finish Ken’s thought:

    Her voice…

    [weaves deftly in and out of the instrumentation like a newly hatched butterfly.]

    [expresses pain, joy, and even indifference so palpably, that by album’s end, we may THINK we know her. But of course, we most certainly do not.]

    [is almost like an instrument, a horn she has been playing so expressively since childhood, that it has become a part of her]

    See what I’m getting at?

    These are crude proposals, I’ll admit, but I don’t think I’m that far off….

  5. Sat, please do it! Maybe the prototype can be like a flow chart?

  6. I would have liked to be in the meeting where they came up with the idea for the Ride a Rock Horse album cover. That album cover repelled me as a child.

  7. saturnismine

    Thanks for the encouragement, cdm!

    Ultimately, it could be like the Martin Luther Insult Generator webpage. But yes, we’ll go in baby steps: a flow chart will work nicely at first. Gotta bolt. And this weekend is filled with family activities. More on Monday….

  8. ladymisskirroyale

    His reviews are often as vanilla as the bands he promotes.

  9. ladymisskirroyale

    Don’t forget my personal favorite – Sasha Frere-Jones. Almost the opposite of Ken Tucker: enthusiastic, grandiose, “literary” critique of pop acts I typically don’t give a rat’s ass about.

  10. Funny, I’ve never gotten my head around Ken Tucker as a music critic, despite the fact that he gave our band’s first EP high marks, our first big review in a big newspaper (Philadelphia Inquirer). He tried to stay tuned into local bands way back when, despite not taking bold stands, from what I remember.

    For the last 20 or so years I’ve thought of him primarily as a TV critic. He does a lot of TV stuff for Entertainment Weekly and Fresh Air. He seems fine in that role. I often forget he still reviews music.

    Out of the Fresh Air crew of music critics, I like Kevin Whitehead and Tom Moon, both of whom review stuff I typically don’t care about but do so using language to make me tune into what they’re saying.

  11. Check out this essay from the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly.

    It both nails so much of what’s wrong with “rock” music these days (or even since 1983!) and simultaneously reaffirms the existence of RTH. “They [current rock bands] don’t give off a glimmer of the cherished emblems of the classic Rock Star: turbulent souls, incendiary lyrics, boa-draped fashion statements, dangerous good looks.”

    Lest anyone question why RTH analyzes Rock’s Unfulfilled Fashion Ideas, this is why. Because if we don’t, these ideas will die, entombed by the likes of Bastille, OneRepublic, Imagine Dragons, et al.

  12. Those bands you list at the end sound like clothing stores in a mall! I heard a new Foster the People song this morning. I believe it was written by a focus group studying AAA radio trends.

  13. mockcarr

    Ha! Clothing stores as names nails it. I’m sure this is not original, but as soon as bands stopped regularly using “The”, it began the downward spiral of rock and roll, and hyphenate and diluted forms become inevitable. In fact, since I like your band, I must now refer to you guys as The Nixon’s Head.

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