There’s one moment in which Harry Styles transcends its big-name influences. Closer “From the Dining Table” opens with a startling scene: a horny, lonely Styles, jerking off in an opulent hotel room before falling back asleep and getting wasted. “I’ve never felt less cool,” he admits. The writing is frank and economic; it sounds like Styles is singing softly into your ear, a bashful mess. It’s the only song on the album that invites you to consider what it must be like to be Harry Styles: unfathomably famous since before you could drive, subjected to unrelenting attention everywhere except bunker-like studios and secluded beaches, forced to zip around and around the world for half a decade when you’re supposed to be figuring out who you are and what you want. And yet “From the Dining Table” sounds less like a complaint than a confession meant for you and you alone. It’s intoxicating, and it ends Harry Styles on the most promising possible note.
—  Pitchfork review

Life Was a Song, You Came Along  , by @rainbowninja

It’s embarrassing how long it takes Louis to recognize his own song. Niall had sung it as a bright, hopeful love song, and that’s honestly how Louis had always assumed it should sound. But this new voice, slow and rough, stripped of any backing instrument, has infused the lyrics with just the tumultuous mix of fear and defiance that Louis can remember so clearly from the night he wrote them.

It’s not a comfortable thing, to feel like someone is singing all your secrets back to you.

Louis is a songwriter trapped in a lie that could ruin his best friend’s career. Harry owns a record store, distrusts everyone in the music industry on principle, but loves Niall Horan’s newest album. A modern retelling of Singin’ in the Rain.

Harry/Louis | 31k | angst | hate to love | explicit (b!Louis)

Later, whenever Louis tells the story, he starts with Pitchfork. When questioned, he always argues that the day Pitchfork reviewed Niall’s album was the day things really started going to shit.

It’s not quite true, of course. The seeds of destruction had actually been sown months ago by Simon Cowell, head of one of the largest record labels in Britain and also, incidentally, Louis’ boss. Simon was the one who had pushed for Niall to be branded as a singer-songwriter: “you know, speaking from the heart. Just you and your guitar on stage, like all that Ed Sheeran bullshit? It’ll be huge.” Simon was also the one who told Niall to pass Louis’ music off as his own, using words like “gift” and “happy compromise.” And then, when they’d both initially refused, using words like “legal battle” and “PR disaster” instead.

Louis knows he should regret the album that resulted. Although Louis and Liam have a bit of a reputation in the industry as hit-makers, they mostly write pop songs for boy bands and X Factor winners, and Louis had never intended for the songs in his personal notebooks to see the light of day. He can’t bring himself to regret that they have. Which is why Louis can’t blame Niall, or the album, or even Simon (mostly). And every time Louis suggests blaming himself, Liam launches into an earnest monologue that Louis doesn’t have the heart to forestall.

Instead, Louis decides to blame Pitchfork. He thinks Pitchfork exemplifies the type of pretentious, name-dropping, overly metaphorical nonsense that makes for the worst kind of music reviewing these days.

So, you know, they probably had it coming.

(thanks to @melmanpur for the manip, the notebook manip is mine with @yourssincerelylarry font), the Harry/Zayn is unknown.)

anonymous asked:

idk a pitchfork why is their review so important?

they’re notoriously pretentious music snobs who will rip artists a new one without mercy – they gave ed sheeran’s divide a 2.8/10 rating when it came out

unfortunately they’re also the most widely read indie music publication out there and people hang on their every word. they can make or break an album’s success and an artist’s career

Pitchfork’s opinions have gained increased cultural currency; some in the mainstream media view the site as a barometer of the independent music scene, and positive quotes from its reviews are increasingly used in press releases and affixed to the front of CDs.

Some publications[3] have cited Pitchfork in having played a part in “breaking” artists such as Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Interpol, The Go! Team, Junior Boys, The Books, Broken Social Scene, Cold War Kids, Wolf Parade, Tapes ‘n Tapes, and Titus Andronicus

they’ve point blank refused to review any of 1d’s albums. they reviewed zayn’s mind of mine and gave it a 5.9/10 which was shockingly high (not a comment on his music but a comment on the pitchfork #culture) AND BASICALLY I EXPECTED THEM TO EITHER IGNORE HARRY OR GIVE HIM LIKE A 3 BUT THEIR REVIEW JUST CAME OUT AND THEY GAVE HIM A 6.8/10 I HONESTLY CAN’T BELIEVE

remember the Pitchfork review of the Hamilton cast album that went “this is good but….. none of the songs make any sense out of context”. did that dude ever discover what musical theatre is. 

Harry Styles is a master of the middle distance. Look at him turning his right cheek to the camera, strands of wet hair hanging lank, a rogue petal clinging to a clump above his ear: “Sweet Creature is available now. Album is available in ten days. I am available always.” He remains an enigma after spending a half-decade in the world’s most popular boy band and dating one of the world’s biggest pop stars. And yet there’s something about Styles’ combination of roguish charm and eagerness to please that renders him exactly that: available. Leave the right Instagram comment at the right time, and he might show up on your doorstep the next morning with a bag of bagels and coffee with room. The ability to tap into this liminal space between intimacy and detachment is what makes Styles—and Harry Styles, the solo debut he’s releasing about a year and a half after One Direction’s dissolution—so captivating.
—  Pitchfork review
Her contemporaries Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, who have in the past burned brighter than Gomez, are lately scattered and floundering in search of new identities, leaving behind the cartoon characters and twerk provocateurs they once were, unsure of who to be instead. Cyrus is going for a middling Shania-lite sound with her new single “Malibu,” while Perry has, unfortunately, been trying out woke disco and Migos-assisted trap. Now, Gomez’s consistent, affability is beginning to feel like a solid strength. Maybe she’s had it right all the time, the proverbial tortoise to the fame hares of the world, slowly and methodically edging through the race, one foot in front of the other, until she snags a win. Which is precisely what “Bad Liar” is: A victory for an uncomplicated pop star who makes uncomplicated pop music, and a fizzy fun track that will sound as good all summer as the Gomez-endorsed Coke you pour into your rum.
—  Bad Liar review by (Pitchfork)

here i am in vampire makeup reviewing plastic pitchforks

His vocal performances are invariably the best parts of these songs. Styles has described his stint in One Direction as “a democracy,” and every song featured a fight for breathing room between four or five hungry young singers. Here, he has space he can use. “Sign of the Times” jumps out of your speakers when he shifts into his thin falsetto, and it climaxes with a series of desperate howls. He makes a convincing alt-country troubadour on “Two Ghosts” and “Ever Since New York” by throwing on a little twang and a healthy helping of world-weariness. The down-home boogie of “Carolina” tests the limits of his nascent swagger. And I’ve never heard someone record their own backing vocals with the enthusiasm and panache Styles brings to Harry Styles. Every hoot, yelp, and chant are delivered with an impish grin, one that makes it hard not to crack a smile of your own.
—  Pitchfork review

“When I met M.I.A… I told her, “Just photograph yourself in front of the mixing desk in the studio, and people will go, ‘Oh, OK! A woman with a tool, like a man with a guitar.’”I remember seeing a photo of Missy Elliott at the mixing desk in the studio and being like, a-ha!”

-Bjork, interviewed by Jessica Hopper for the winter 2015 issue of The Pitchfork Review

Bjork continues on to say that while creating music, she doesn’t want to be photographed, because of how solitary and sometimes manic the experience is. She’s focused and can’t be bothered with appearances, but the lack of photographic evidence of her in the studio has lead people to question whether she actually wrote her music or if a man did.

While Bjork, or any woman, shouldn’t have to prove that they’re responsible for their own work, photographs of women working are empowering and help demystify the process for those interested in making music themselves. So, this is a photo of me, in my room, doing my thing. What do you look like when you’re working?

*pitchfork review of a guitar rock album* “the buzzy chunkity guitar chuga-choo-choo’s through the rolling bowling rambling bambling drums of the drummer’s clickity-clackity chunky style drumming, the bass brings to mind visions of big red bouncy ball rolling down a big hill and bouncing the entire way to the bottom of it.  the vocals on this album are yelped, charguled, gargled giggled, wiggled, woogled and woggled while the production by Steve Albini is fucking fucked up dope and so fucking loud and sick that youll be pulling on your hair like sweet dee in that episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia where the gang goes to the jeresey shore” 


The FULL GAMUT of images from my shoot for The Pitchfork Review of the captivating, exquisite, charming, Esperanza Spalding…

Our connection is symbiotic.  She is a badass accomplished female artist musician in her own right, marching the flag for jazz, redefining it into her own sound with her latest album D+Evolution.  Spalding is a prodigy; age 5 playing the violin for the Chamber Music Society of Oregon, winning 4 Grammies, and being the first jazz artist to be awarded for Best New Artist.  She’s a force of nature; there is no doubt about it.  On top of all of her prowess, she is a lovely kind human being.  We had a GREAT time playing around in my studio, making dynamic energetic portraits for The Pitchfork Review.  

Thank you to a awesome crew!! Stylist: Anna Su, Hair: Joseph Henry, Makeup: David Josie; Assistants: Vedant Gupta & Evan O’Brien!

Goths, the latest from the Mountain Goats, is about the journey between life in the dark and death in the light, and ultimately trying to find a home somewhere between.

That elusive, literary home for John Darnielle—the lead singer and songwriter of the Mountain Goats for 26 years—has been a theme in his writing lately….

This final turn by Darnielle is what makes him a songwriter nonpareil: macabre humor, tales that weave in and out of fiction, and the smile he cracks after leaving a gaping hole in your heart. Beware, ye goths, life waits for us all, too.

—  Pitchfork review of Goths that claims John Darnielle is “in his own private league of songwriting” with which I couldn’t agree more, meaning I can almost forgive them for giving The Sunset Tree a 7.2



Taylor Swift 

 Age at First Album: 16 (born December 1989, released Taylor Swift October 2006) 

At 16 She Was: Going five times platinum 

Thoughts on the Age Thing: “[The labels] were afraid to put out a 13 year old. They were afraid to put out a 14 year old. Then they were afraid to put out a 15 year old. Then they were nervous about putting out a 16 year old. And I’m sure if I hadn’t signed with [Big Machine’s] Scott Borchetta, everybody would be afraid to put out a 17 year old.” – CMT, 2006 

 Before she was Taylor Swift, Pop Overlord and Master of the Squad (a squad peripherally including Lorde, BTW), Swift was a country singer known for her keen skill with observation. Like many budding country stars, she came up via the fair and pageant circuit—but by the age of 11, she was already approaching labels about a record deal. She started writing debut single “Tim McGraw” in freshman math class, and after school, she’d attend writing sessions with Nashville songwriter and longtime collaborator Liz Rose. And while country music loves its blonde ingenues, Taylor Swift was beloved as much by Southern teens as by critics, for its ear for detail and prickliness. Look no further than its opening line for proof: “He said the way my blue eyes shined put those Georgia stars to shame that night. I said, ‘That’s a lie.’”

As The xx gear up to tour their new album, I See You, Oliver Sim reflects on a new version of himself

It was during The xx’s residency at New York’s Park Avenue Armory in March 2014 that Oliver Sim found out what stardom really looks like. “Those shows were crazy,” he says of their 25 performances at the former military headquarters on the Upper East Side. “The response we got, the people who came, the whole experience was mind-blowing.” Each night - at an event more like an art installation than a gig - the band performed encircled by an audience of just 40 people, who watched them play in complete silence. On the last night, A-list attendees included Jay Z, Beyoncè, Björk, Anohni and filmmakers Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach. “Throughout the show I was facing (co-vocalist) Romy, and Madonna was standing directly behind her,” he says, reliving the moment. “Every time my gaze went up an inch, I was staring straight at her. It was surreal.”

Keep reading

so like. let me tell you a thing about jessica hopper. when i was 21 i entered the 33 1/3 series open call with a book proposal about pinkerton, and i’d never done music writing in any serious professional capacity before and i was quite nervous about my work, so i happened to e-mail a few music writers i looked up to in the hopes that they might get back to me and have a glance at my work and give me a few pointers. and some ignored me and some gave me boilerplate advice, but a couple really stepped up to the plate - namely, phillip crandall, who provided a HUGE amount of support and friendship throughout the process and beyond, and jessica hopper.

now, at the time, jessica hopper was the editor in chief of the pitchfork review and a senior editor at pitchfork online, she’d just released a massively successful book and she was touring and doing press for it. she was obviously absurdly busy and i was just some 21-year-old with a handful of xojane writing credits e-mailing her like, “hi i don’t know what the hell i’m doing??? and i really look up to you???” and literally within hours, she had e-mailed me back like, “send me your whole proposal, i will read it and get back to you as soon as i possibly can, here is my phone number, let me know when i can call you, i know the editor of the series and i will put in a good word for you, don’t ever listen to any man who tells you that you can’t do something” 

like it was just. an absurdly outsized offering of generosity, given in spite of her massive workload, and she read my whole thirty-page proposal and got back to me with detailed line-by-line critique, and i ended up making the shortlist from a pool of 600+ people. and then i went to her book signing in toronto and she remembered me, and wrote down her personal e-mail address and told me to stay in touch and pitch to her when she moved on to mtv. just an absolute grade-A human being and the fact that mtv is just destroying everything she worked so hard to build is unconscionable.

It’s taken 21 years to get around to it but Pitchfork have finally reviewed Fiona Apple’s Tidal album.

The pleasure and poetry and purpose of Tidal, though, only calcifies with time. So much of it seems to say: You could never feel the pain I feel because only I have felt it. There are things about me that you can’t see at all, because I have buried them so well. You don’t know who I am. But of course, in Tidal, we saw ourselves. ~ Interview by jenn pelly

“New York” Review | Pitchfork
Annie Clark’s latest song is a ballad to the big city

Annie Clark has long been defined by contradictions—violence and beauty, power and supplication—but with “New York,” the only discord lies in the fact that she first performed this gorgeous ballad while dressed as a purple toilet. Presumably the first single from her forthcoming fifth album as St. Vincent (no official news yet), it surprises by totally forsaking her cosmic guitar playing for simple piano, which blooms beneath her laments for the lost accomplice who made NYC more than just a pile of old bricks. Maybe it’s her noted hero Bowie, though Clark’s yearning, gasped entreats suggests a deeper intimacy than distant admiration: “So much for a home run with some blue blood,” she sighs, ruing the loss of “the only motherfucker in the city who can stand me” (possibly the highest compliment a New Yorker can pay).

It’s a complete pivot from the imperious vigor of 2014’s St. Vincent, and unlike any other ballad in Clark’s catalogue—the scrambled inner compass and sense of being so close, yet so far, is a jarring sentiment from someone who always seems so supremely herself. Yet “New York” is confident, too, rushing into an orchestral chorus paired with a deep, skipping pulse that adds an infectious adrenaline shot. The lavish strings may recall the instrumental arrangements of 2009’s Actor, though this new song is less self-conscious and ornate than Clark’s second album, and more in-keeping with the rare moments of luxe cinematic sincerity on, say, the score to Manhattan. Her gesture befits big city movie romances, which retain their grandeur even in ruin, and accompanies a declaration that showcases a softer side of her masochistic renown. “But for you, darling, I’d do it all again,” Clark swears, making heartbreak feel just as heroic as unleashing furious solos atop a giant pink pyramid.