Pitchforke Cobbagery Watch 2007-Tracks 80-61

This set was tougher, because UC was about to enter cookie overload, and there were some actual good songs and a lot of non-descript bad ones. I think it was as if Pitchfork knew UC was vulnerable and they went for the kill.

100-81 here. I’ll admit it would be more interesting if we had more firepower, like secret Pitchfork prisons where we could torture our prose just like Grayson Currin, or perhaps we could waterboard tha remix to get those Balearic house beats so dope!

80: Grizzly Bear “Little Brother (Electric)”

I think I like this. Kind of a staccato, clipped ramble through some psych/prog folk oddness. Good.

UC’s take

I have had an unrequited curiosity with Grizzly Bear ever since I read that St. Vincent adored him. Finally, I know what I was missing all along. I love this song. I think Pinko has it nailed with the prog folk label. The song meanders, waxes, and wanes with aplomb. It has dramatic moments, sweet moments, near acapella moments, and totally wanky moments. Which means that I should have been listening to this months ago. Really really interesting. This is epic.

79: Magik Markers “Taste”

Super awesome. This is a retro drug sleaze track a la Austin’s Black Angels, but with female vocals that hypnotize. If UC says “Meh-gic Meh-rkers” I will declare him to be meh!

UC’s take:

I didn’t know that BRMC did work as a backing band. There’s no way that Pinko could not love this song. It would be the same way that Pitchfork just needs to worship house music mixes. However, this song is pretty awesome. I think if the lead singer were male, I wouldn’t be quite as transfixed. The song kind of wants to drone a little and doesn’t quite get there, which is good, because otherwise, Pinko would have it on infinite loop, and would never be heard from again.

78: Amy Winehouse “Tears Dry on Their Own”

Her voice is wonderful, but I’d rather hear her cover Portishead or something against type than go this way. The song just seems lifeless. I think the super conscious affected retro backing, just doesn’t work- seems over arranged.

UC’s take:

I get it. I understand why she’s worshipped and made one of the biggest impacts on music for the year. But just because a song is incredibly retro and kind of channels Carol King, who I super heart in a special ’70s kind of way, doesn’t make it exceptional. I would always be happy to listen to this song. It’s very very pleasant and nice, but I would never seek out this music. Mind you, this is good bake-off sampling music.

77: The National “Mistaken for Strangers”

This album did OK with the kids because it is actually good, and you can listen to the entire thing. This is one of the weaker songs actually, because rhythmically it kind of sounds like an annoying Interpol track. “Start a War” is vastly superior with some nice Will Sergeant style “Ocean Rain” flourishes closing it out. So yes, considering the rest of the album, “Meh-staken for Strangers.”

UC’s take:

I think this CD is really good, and these guys are obviously talented. It’s kind of an interesting cross between Interpol and Ted Leo. I don’t think this song would be my selection, but it is probably broadly popular because of the same reason why The Killers are broadly popular. Good song, but a little meh-ddle of the road for me.

76: Klaxons “Golden Skans”

Comment. Agreed. Continuing: Klaxons make Kasabian look like creative, revolutionary super geniuses. This song is an Ian Brown J-side turd.

UC’s take:

It’s slick in the way that totally makes Pitchfork drool, but it is kind of artistically lacking. I find it interesting the way that Mark Pytlik tries to point this out as a rock song. He knows that this is not rock in the same way that cucumber is not rock. This is, however, bland in the same way that cucumber is bland. Kathleen, do you need to quote me there?

75: Escort “All Through the Night”

You had me at the muppet show video. Demonic Buck Rogers Muppet Disco. Eats and shits Golden Skans for snacktime. Plus it’s kind of smutty.

UC’s take:

I can’t be offended by this. It’s really harmless and almost neutered innuendo, totally not worthy of a comment on Brando’s blog. But maybe there is use for this song. I kind of imagine a scene in a Judd Apatow movie with Steve Carrell. I don’t know what goes on, but it is really really funny. I somehow can’t imagine a use of this song where satire is not involved. As for this song being one of the greatest disco songs since the early ’80s, well does that mean it’s the first?

74: Black Lips “Katrina”

Slacker retro scuzzballs garage an effortless ditty about an American atrocity, or do they? Excellent.

UC’s take:

I have to take a long breath, look around, and quietly whisper, “meh”, but in a totally not judgmental way. It’s very good for what it is, but it’s not my cup of tea. It’s like orange pekoe in that way.

73: The Twilight Sad “Cold Days From the Birdhouse”

Seems like the office pool went for the more obvious track of this super solid Scottish album. A very good song, but I prefer “Talking With Fireworks/Here, It Never Snowed” or “Walking for Two Hours” from this album. However, we have the inestimable Grayson Currin in the venue: A romantic but realistic examination of growing pains and teenage indiscretions, “Cold Days From the Birdhouse” is also an exercise in restraint. Its tension is teased from a bed of slide guitar, gauzy feedback, and a repetitive piano note that replaces the rhythm section. Yearning and imploring, frontman James Graham mourns phone calls, hotel rooms, romantic gestures, and ruined plans. His band responds: The drums and bass explode, battering an accordion’s drone and a guitar’s din. Graham– conjuring all of the salt of his Scottish sneer– responds with an interrogation: “So where are your manners?” Touche, cobag!

UC’s take:

Wow, this song is great. It keeps getting better and better as the song goes on, until it hits the climax and denouement at almost the same time at the end. I tend to like hearing the full-on Scottish accent (a la Ballboy), and there are lots of things to like in this track. The piece leaves you with a repetitive piano note that is still playing on in my head several minutes into the silence. I think that’s poignant, right?

72: Ted Leo & the Pharmacists “La Costa Brava”
Starts all Rocket From the Crypt, then gets all Jimmy Eat World. I think it would prefer to be Joe Jackson, maybe? I don’t hate it. Kind of seems like the theme song for an unpicked up TV pilot.

UC’s take:

If it’s a Ted Leo song and it’s not titled “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?”, I’m going to have the EXACT same thing to say about it. Pretty good. Tight. Solid. Not uninteresting. You get the idea….

71: The Shins “Turn on Me”
One of my songs of the year. Beyond the familiarity of the opening chords, the strength here is sheer effervescence juxtaposed to what is basically a “let’s just say fuck off and forget each other” and then the chinga-chinga-chinga breakdown, plus the dog gets it in the video. Cotton candy coated turpentine. Exquisite.

Capt. Trollypants’ take: “Turn on Meh.”

UC’s take:

Not my favourite song on the CD, but it is clearly the orthologue of “So Says I” and therefore the obligatory top single. Kind of perfect in a way that isn’t interesting to dissect. I think it is atrocious that this ended up in the bottom half of their list. It’s totally better than the stupid Rihanna track you just know is going to end up as #1 or #2. I feel like Pitchfork punishes The Shins because their method cannot be further perfect from where it is. Well, so what!

70: Cassie “Is It You?”

Here’s we said last year about Pitchfork’s bizarre ability to remember a Cassie song long enough to put on their top 100 songs list:

48: Cassie-”Me & U”
Fine for the radio. Here the autotune is more an affect, but how do we know. Wow, she wants him to tell her how he likes it? But it will just be between them? An R/B novelty. Fine to put you out of your drive-time commercial suffering. A bauble-like turd of no consequence. The most unfortunate entry until now (but not the worst) Meh.

UC’s take: While folding laundry, I decided to write a song that is significantly better and more interesting than this song. You all know the tune. Sing along: Mary had a little meh whose fleece was white as meh. And everywhere that Mary went, her meh was sure to go. It followed her to school one day, which was against the meh. It made the students laugh and play to see a meh at school. There now, isn’t that better?

This year, since the song is much, much worse, we can only assume that Cassie’s label is giving free butt rubs or something at the Pitchfork offices.

UC’s take:

I thought about compiling a list of artists that released music in 2007 who wrote better songs than this. Unfortunately, my hard drive did not have sufficient space. Instead, I think it is easier to compile songs worse than this thick application of crisco. Oh, what about the Jay Sherman treatment, where I consider a disease I would rather have than listen to this song again: The winner …. Scabies. And those mo’ fo’s itch pretty badly, or so I’m told. Point being, it would at least be feeling something, which is more than I can say about the emotional punch of this song. Hell, I kind of think we’re being too nice to Cassie.

69: Roísín Murphy “Overpowered”

Points for trying, points for “chromosome”, points for the cryptic Daft Punky video (picture a guy walking around with a giant fake dog head). Well produced. Does that make it excellent? No.

UC’s take:

I’m not impressed. I got bored about one quarter of the way into the song and there really isn’t anything to bring me back into it. Maybe this song needs to be remixed by some house musicians? Sorry I mean meh-sicians.

68: Black Kids “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You”

Fake 80’s nostalgia. Like a mopey Joey Ramone cousin singing with a kids chorus for some obscure waver act. A novelty. Once it melts and you’ve eaten the partially hydrogenated fake chocolate you are left with a popsicle stick. It is fine, I guess. What a slog this year is!

UC’s take:

I think I get why Pitchfork made such a big deal about these guys. It is the same appeal as The Go! Team. But hey, didn’t those guys release a CD this past year that had some pretty good songs? Why not put those on your list instead? The singing is a little amateurish, but the production has potential if it were technically sound. I need more trumpets and wall-of-sound crap, and I think I would like this more. The lyrics are pretty unre-meh-rkable. [PP adds- wow, that was sad. Time for us to be a victim of Kathleen crime]

67: Devin the Dude [ft. Andre 3000 and Snoop Dogg] “What a Job”

You can smell the doritos. This is fucking terrible. Compare this to last year’s Ghostface Killah songs. This is the opposite. Kill me the f*** right now.

UC’s take:

Devin, dude, what the hell? Did you need the money that badly? This song is so long and uninteresting, that I decided to watch the re-run of Fox 25 news at 10 while it was playing. The local news was way better than this song. Ugh.

66: King Khan & the Shrines “Welfare Bread”

Like if the Brian Jonestown Massacre woke up one day and decided to play 60’s yacht R’nB while covering “Tumbling Dice.” Kind of OK.

UC’s take:

I thought I already heard this song on my local classic rock station as a Broken Social Scene cover. I love singing along to this song …. Whoa domino. What’s that? Wrong song? Who knew…

65: DJ Khaled [ft. T.I., Akon, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Birdman & Lil Wayne] “We Takin’ Over”

Kind of a radio hop jam. A jam. Drop Akon, and I could be down with it in Friday night in the mix kinda way. The chorus/hook is kind of crap, the rest works for what it is.

UC’s take:

I didn’t know until this track that I really disliked Akon. I also didn’t know that you could just drop random words from sentences and make them all street creddy. Would it ruin the rhythm at all to say “We’re taking over”? No. Would it give me inner peace? Possibly.

64: No Age “Neck Escaper”

Chimey and pleasant, then it goes Neutral Milk Hotel-ish, then kind of indie noise. Interesting.

UC’s take:

This song totally had me. I was theirs. And then something changed and they lost me. Forever. Not going back. Pinko nails it, though. It is Olivia Tremor Control at the end that ruins it. Too much tremor. Not enough control. Oh well. Pitchfork could have put in another Cassie song, so I’m kind of not complaining.

63: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings “I’m Not Gonna Cry”
Great voice, tasteful arrangements. A little too Mannerist for me. Paint by numbers cool kat retro R&B. Very well done, but the song is missing something.

UC’s take:

This is the part of the Pitchfork top 100 songs where we reward anything and everything that is retro. Which is totally funny, because aren’t they supposed to be a, you know, indie site. This is totally fine, but it’s not indie. Not even close. There is baritone sax in this song. Indie just doesn’t have baritone sax. Ever. Or any sax now that I think about it. What happened Pitchfork?

62: Cool Kids “I Rock”

Given an ownership ratio of 1 50 Cent controlling territory of 5 Boroughs, then by definition Cool Kids control over a billion territorial units. Pretty good.

UC’s take:

Bad news, Mikey. I don’t think you rock. At all. Not even a little. I mean, you are clearly something. Maybe you rap. Or you buzz or something like that. I mean if the lyrics were, “I’m Mikey … I rrrrrap”, I would be all over that. But honestly, I don’t know how to rate or evaluate this song. I think it’s OK, but I don’t really care for it.

61: !!! “Heart of Hearts”

Comes across as KMFDM on Qualuudes with the basswagon and female hook, which are OK, if you can get that far. If “Golden Skans” were this song, I’d still not like it, but I wouldn’t want to kill anyone that said they liked “Golden Skans.” Also, maybe if !!!’s lead singer wrote a different set of lyrics for someone else to sing, or perhaps decided to sit this track out, I would definitely up it to guiltily meh plus. When he shuts up it sounds like doped up kids might be able to screw to it. The end is kind of awesome. [fake UC adds: “yeah, cuz it’s over”]

UC’s take:

Is it over yet? What? Fake-out? No wayyyyy. I’m going to leave this song for the kids. Billy Pilgrim and myself can take our old-men indie music and just walk away. Nobody needs to get hurt.

4 Responses to “Pitchforke Cobbagery Watch 2007-Tracks 80-61”

  • UC, you’re wrongo about the sax.

    Ghostly Trio, Milwaukee style. So indie it hurts; includes Victor DeLorenzo at times. Pete Balistrieri on Sax, did a savage twisted tape of Elvis covers called “Elvis Has Left The Building” Once got themselves banned from a downtown music festival because the organizers hated ’em so much.

  • More sax (including baritone sax): Morphine

  • They had me from 80-71. Ten songs I liked in a row. Possibly a new P-Fork record. Then they started 70 with Cassie and we were back on the Meh-thedone.

    Twilight Sad was incredible, the first song on this list that really made me want to run out and buy the CD. It was like Grizzly Bear backing a Scottish singer covering Crooked Fingers.

    The Ted Leo and National picks were perplexing. “Army Bound” and “Start a War” are not only better songs but also work better as singles.

    Here’s what gets me about a lot of Pitchfork’s singles picks: they are like fruitcake. They take a bunch of ingredients that, separately, work pretty well, then somehow manage to cock them up by combining them in a very untasty way. I also think that a lot of these songs only work if you’re 19, living in a dorm, and either thinking more about your upcoming date or drinking yourself in a stupor because the girl you like is going out with your butthole roomie.

  • Or like some spicy buffalo wings are going out with your butthole.

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