It frequently occurs to me to react to something I read online. That is not that interesting.
The interesting thing (at least to me) is that I almost always choose to submit a comment on the site that I’m reading, rather than linking to and reacting to the content on this blog. It might behoove me to reverse that. (I also tackled this topic two and a half years ago, to no avail.) Why should I add value to someone else’s site with my cogent, incisive, entertaining analysis? Why not promote myself right here? Why not express my thoughts here?
Speaking of which, it’s pretty obvious that I’m just thinking out loud here, so to speak (so to speak).
I was listening to “All Delighted People” from the EP of the same name by Sufjan Stevens, and I recognized the lyric he used: “…and the people bowed and prayed / to the neon gods they’d made.” I couldn’t immediately place it. Instead of making an attempt to recall what it was from, I took the lazy way out via the oracle Google. Of course, it’s from The Sound of Silence. When I looked up the song titles together, I found (on some random site) someone’s review of the EP, which was not all that complimentary but was at least (I thought) fair. Basically he said he wasn’t a huge fan and that he couldn’t really find a “through line” on the album.
My insight into the EP is this: When Sufjan played Oakland a month or two ago, he gave a really long monologue about what was going on in his head. The sense I got was that he was in a pretty bad place for a while, and these were songs he needed to record and be done with in order to move on to his next thing (The Age of Adz, a sprawling and ambitious project).
Music is an aesthetic pursuit and, as they say, “there’s no accounting for taste.” I used to think that that statement implied that the subject had bad taste. But now I realize it means that there’s no right or wrong when it comes to this stuff. A beancounter can’t quantify how good an album is. There are no audits in art. So we are all free to have our own opinions, and I like that we can talk about it.
As far as the EP itself, yes, it’s all over the place (much like this blog entry), but I love the way he’s defying conventions. As someone else said in the comments on the review, that’s the way new and original work is created. I am happy to be along for the ride.