Music Criticisms’s Wrongest Moments # 1

Simon Reynolds is one of the best music writers I have ever read. His ’80s work, as compiled in Blissed Out, is possessed of a feverish intellect and energy. An energy which, even if you aren’t really bothered about what he’s actually talking about, is amazingly infectious. His extensive blogroll on his blog (linked in the last sentence) is a testament to his ability to get people writing. Unfortunately, this evening I’m writing for the wrong reasons. Looking trough his old website I found his round up of the decade we now like to call the nineteen nineties. Dude goes through his faves of the decade: he likes a lot of ’90s dance that I’ve not heard but is probably very good, he likes himself some Hip Hop as well. Then we get on to his unfaves. And this paragraph about Notorious BIG . A paragraph which takes wrongness to new highest:

The Notorious B.I.G.

The odd nifty catchphrase and deft rhyme, but c’mon, this man was a pig—Notorious P.I.G. more like; Piggy Smalls, heheheheh-and with a little help from his buddy Sean he almost singlehandedly set rap down its current path of spiritual bankruptcy. And he had the most unappetising vocal timbre in all of rap- asthmatic and adenoidal and mucus-bunged-up and fat-fuck wheezy all at once.

I could go through this throughly and point out what – amongst the fat gags – is wrong about the paragraph, but I think it would be best to let the great speak for himself:

The Notorious BIG – Juicy

“Spiritually bankrupt”? Goddamit man, this guy went from “negative to positive”. Sure, sure he maybe -in a sense- celebrating rampant material acquisitions over spiritual wealth but c’mon how you can begrudge the man his “super nintendo, sega genesis”? The guy claims to have grown up with only “sardines for dinner”; it’s hard to deny him a little joy at the rewards his “fat-fuck wheezy” voice has brought him. I mean sardines, man. And if you think BIG sounds “asthmatic and adenoidal and mucus-bunged-up” rather than like the coolest fucker in history with a voice which -in this case- manages to infuse brag with wisdom and charm then, there is a very real possibility you are in fact deaf. Or insane. Or listening to an incorrectly labeled mp3.

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