Pitchfork Cobaggery Watch 2008- Top Tracks 40-21 SUCKAS!

100-81 here.

80-61 here.

60-41 here.

Listen along here.

Pitchfork writers’ individual lists are here. You can do the 2007 holiday bake-off math that gets you two mentions of Rihanna song “Don’t Stop the Music” (at 15 and 17 on respective lists) charts it in the big list while two mentions of “Disturbia” (at 3 and 5 on different lists) gets you bupkis. Anyhoo. AWAY WE GO!

40: T.I. [ft. Rihanna] “Live Your Life”
Epic Producer Love P-Wank subconciously using Rihanna like a human brella brella brella. The autotune is unbelievably annoying, but is made for Rihanna’s voice as an electro-instrument. I don’t love T.I.’s flow, but the sentiment is cool, and R just owns it. The hook just crushes, but T.I. knows it and contrarily it beefs up his verses. Is there any reason for me to be talking about this? I bought a designer cupcake to this song for $3.50. I suspect the vultures of karma will soon be devouring my eyeballs. A demonstration that easy-bake-instant every possible aspect of songmaking can add up to more than just-add-water.

UC’s take: Rihanna = awesome. T.I. = not awesome. Autotune = annoying. Aw crap, just refer to Pinko’s review as above. He NAILZ this track. I do like it, much to my annoyance, but I don’t think I could handle a high dose of this.

39: Kanye West “Love Lockdown”
I seriously worry about Kanye West doing something bad to himself. Maybe gigantically narcissistic personalities don’t engage in that kind of thing, but I think they do. I mean he has himself murdered in the “Flashing Lights” video. As for the song, it is pretty awesome because it’s catchy. Imagine that. Of course I’ve just given UC an opening for “i-meh-gine that.”

UC’s take:I was composing a giant prosy commentary on Mike Powell’s Spoon analogy, but I hate to admit that it is kind of apt. The percussion and keyboards are totally Spoony, which I have to get KW massive props for stealing. It is catchy, even if the autotune is really really distracting. I hate it as a device, artistic or otherwise. Damn, the song kept growing on me with each run through the chorus. It’s the keyboards and the rhythms. Damn damn damn, it’s actually super good. This is NOT the song I wanted to love!

38: TV on the Radio “DLZ”
After “Golden Age” this is a love letdown. OK. Not as compelling as many of their others. Builds to better than decent.

UC’s take: I think I like this more than the other TVotR song. It has a sinister bass line that cements the other disparate ideas of the song together. That said, it doesn’t really seem to go anywhere and I lost interest about halfway through. I just do not love these guys like Pitchfork does, but I’ll chalk that up to chocolate/vanilla dichotomy. I don’t think this is cobaggery.

37: Big Boi [ft. Raekwon and André 3000]
I fell asleep while this was playing. Sorries. Kind of sucks.

UC’s take:Didn’t we already do the video game song? Is this rapping good, or is it totally exploitive? I don’t think it matters. This song is the opposite of the Kanye West song above. Therefore, incredibly not awesome. Meh.

36: Arthur Russell “I Couldn’t Say It to Your Face”
The uber retro novelty wagon continues. Previously we had the guy doing Ben E. King/Sam Cooke. We had a Buzzcocks song. Now we’ve got the dime store James Taylor. Hate on the principle that led this to be picked instead of consigned to Starbucks samplers. Reasonably well implemented. I’m probably pissing on a dead guy based on the write-up in the Top 50 albums. Thanks for the warning, chumps. I don’t know this guy from adam.

UC’s take:Pitchfork summed this us better than I could: AM Gold Compilation. I don’t need to add anything further, except that if I made the comment, I would call it an A-Meh Gold Compilation.

35: Shearwater “The Snow Leopard”
Deeply precious almost otherworldly vocals over a Beatles marching piano, ex of Okkervil River, I do think this is good but I wonder where OR is and I am sad, because this would have been the a-hole way to expose UC to Okkervil River.

UC’s take:I really like this song, just beautiful artistically and a great performance. I really was moved by the music and the piano chords. The instrumental buildup and climax was thoroughly rewarding. So I’m led to understand that this singer was somehow involved with another band called Okkervil River. That’s interesting – makes me wonder if any of their music was as good as this…..

34: Fuck Buttons “Sweet Love for Planet Earth”
fulsome will claim to be bored, but he might love it. Seems sincere enough although on paper it seems almost as ridiculous as Battles “Atlas” and even longer to boot. They have a Mogwai jones. Deceptively and surprisingly good.

UC’s take:I first became aware of FB through one of their covers, but I think Chuckles heard them live and raved. I might be wrong on that. The music is compelling because it seems to go somewhere, or offers the promise that it does. Normally, it is the voyage that is important, not the destination. This song is different in that it actually has a destination. I didn’t like where it went, but I liked how it got there. I also liked the twinkling piano that ran through the song. Too much fuzz, not enough treble, but pretty good. Worthy I think.

33: Animal Collective “Street Flash”
Sounding more and more like the Beach Boys even as they try to weird out while sounding exactly like themselves. Nothing exceptional here so far. I mean this is like an Animal Collective phone-in Dial-a-Song™. I expect it will get either awesome (track record of Animal Collective) or continue to be disappointing (the track record of the countdown this year). Hmm. It rides with the river of ass. Have fun swallowing this on a hipster mixtape, assholes! It gets OK-ish at the end. I will never listen to it again with active agency,

UC’s take:Really nothing special or extraordinary. I felt with Strawberry Jam or Raspberry Jam, or whatever that album was that Animal Collective had transcended their pop sensibilities into something accessible and unique and very likable. This doesn’t sound as good. It’s fine, but not one of their better pieces. Pitchfork probably already had the tag for Animal Collective in their list before this song was selected.

32: Crystal Castles “Untrust Us”
Sigur Ros gibberish crossed by a NAMCO Dig Dug chip. It is clear that the only defining feature of a large plurality of songs this year is novelty. I didn’t realize I was listening to Dr. Demento’s show. There is nothing wrong with this song, save that it has been declared better than 100,000s of other songs. Thanks, J. Love. Please Twitter about your hijinks trying to make-out to this platter.

UC’s take:Another entry in the electrojiz category tag. I will have to remember that Crystal Castles is the band that I really think are total wankers, but I might like Crystal Antlers. Listening to this probably decreased the life of my headphones by 0.0001%, which is way too much for what I got back in return. Glurb.

31: Aeroplane [ft. Kathy Diamond] “Whispers”
The first of this year’s dance tracks that seems even effective or above average in any way, without either a cavalcade of giant cheeze wheels, gargantuan soundscapes of boredom, audience disdain, or self-conscious leaving the 18-24 ad bracket turning-30 freelance music reviewer crisis of wank. Not a bead of sweat on this effortless slab. Good.

UC’s take:Throughly enjoyable and very re-listenable. I hesitate to call this song excellent, but it snaked its way into my head and I have to give it due kudos.

30: MGMT “Time to Pretend”
Since I am an old fucker you will allow me to ban this decrepit, cynical, monstrosity of audio upper-class teen tribalism, giant pile of MSG pseudo-nostalgia welcome-to-My-First-Glimpse-of-Mortality. Other generations had Catcher in the Rye, our current overentitled brats have MGMT. The pretending is because some people actually have to have jobs instead of clinging to childhood, but the pretend isn’t the continuation of childhood, it’s a supposed blink-free wild-eyed fucking of models and doing coke. The implication is that the pretend is either ironic or seated in childlike immaturity or insecurity. So the band can have their cake and eat it too. The fact that they play naked pubescent star-children in the stunning video doesn’t give much credence that they really give a crap. Their effortless mining of the sad teen angst at growing up buried in a decade the target audience only remembers in baby pictures doesn’t end here- there’s also “Kids”, a song so fake I’d rather listen to a Shane Co. commercial. “Time to Pretend” is undeniably perfect in every way. Vampire Weekend gets it for being New England preppies. Fight the real evil. Hate this while you listen to it on repeat.

{ADDING- oh look, this song is so fucking good it can make the list two years in a row!

94: MGMT “Time to Pretend”

Oh look, you got your Placebo in my Ladytron. Lyrically horrible, but kind of a high school make out song for warm hearted electros. I kind of like it, until I get dumped after 5th period. I hate you all. Fine.

Fork shot their wad last year because they wanted to be ahead of the curve, but oops, this song was huge this year so it gets a second shout.}

UC’s take: Ugh. I did not like this last year and I like it even less this year. As such, I am recycling my old review as well with the codicil that the song continues to seriously suck and not age well:

I just think it’s atrocious that Freddy Mercury’s estate didn’t make any money off of this song. Or at least get the chance to decline it. There are some of the worst sounds I have ever heard in this song. The song is kind of slow and dopey as well. You totally couldn’t dance to this either. You’d have to stand on the dance floor and kind of sway just a little, all the while counting down the seconds until the song ends. It can’t come soon enough. Blech.

29: Vampire Weekend “M79”
I like this entire album. What about Clientele in this spot?

UC’s take: Excellent track through and through. It is so polished and effortless that this song is massively under-rated. Pinko makes an excellent point about Clientele, but let’s just put every one of their new songs in the #30 spot and completely ignore the MGMT travesty. Also under-rated is the superb change-of-pace near the end of the song. I never see it coming, and it is so delightful, almost a musical denouement. The strings in this song are really cool – arguably virtuostic, even though it is just major scales being flitted about. I really love this song if it’s not obvious!

28: No Age “Eraser”
Love the MBV sound on it. All the ingredients are there for some hybrid punk-gaze. Only really works in the last 10 seconds. Expecting Toll House, got Chips Meh-hoy.

UC’s take:There are alot of different places this song could have gone based on its good instrumental openings. The place it did go was possibly the least interesting and most annoying of the different options. Promising at times but ultimately meh.

27: T.I. “No Matter What”
I wish he had spent several hundred thousand dollars less on this- the slick production kind of makes it Mega-church house band cheesy. I suspect a decent mash-up exists (maybe Procol Harum?) of this because the current backing track is suitable for an ass-up. I apologize for that line. I am so deeply annoyed with this god damned list. I am pretty convinced UC will not even make it this far.

UC’s take:Having read Pinko’s comments, I think I now get $5. Woohoo! It has been a long and un-meh-morable road to get here. I don’t think this T.I. entry is going to do anything to make the list more memorable either. I know I am narrow-minded, but I somehow think that M.I.A. could do something really stunning using this same backing track. I don’t like T.I. and I don’t like this song, No Matter What Pitchfork tells me.

26: The Walkmen “In the New Year”
This new Walkmen album is excellent. I find that they’ve chosen an extremely prototypical, and certainly excellent song for the W-man spot in the countdown. They could have also gone with “Donde Esta La Playa” for its departure, or the drunken Bolero of “Seven Years of Holidays.” Marc to the H-O reviews this, and we love him.

UC’s take:I have to admit to being a little curmudgeonouse about the last few Walkmen album. I want them to all sound exactly like EWUTKMIG, and their sound clearly changed by their second LP. That’s fine – it’s their right, and I think they make interesting and good music. But I want the songs to be slow and quiet and have haunting bells and subdued piano. This one starts sounding just like I want The Walkmen to sound, but does get awfully raucous by the end. Thing is, it’s a really good song. Even though I don’t want it to do what it does, it is still effective and memorable. I find myself not liking it on a purely visceral level, but this one lingered in my memory long after it stopped playing. I also think that it is the most affecting track to me from their new CD, therefore a solid entry on the list.

25: The Hold Steady “Constructive Summer”
Like a cross between Bob Mould and Bruce Springsteen- something about his voice. Last years Whigs’ album was less self-counciously on it’s sleeve with the workingman bar rock, and the exactly perfect versions of what a genetically designed version of that would be. Even if these guys are tremendously sincere, it comes across as a museum exhibit. Since much of this list is pitch-perfect genre-apery, I’d instead have gone with the Black Angels all up and down this thing. Except the rules state that 60’s psychedelic garage is not the current flavor, anything 80s is.

UC’s take:This new CD from Ted Leo and the PharmacistsThe Hold Steady is totally fine, but I find it underwhelming. There’s so little actually going on in this song. No jingles, jangles, or otherwise. I must have ripped on The Hold Steady before, because I feel like they are perpetual Pitchfork darlings, but to me, they are more like the The Meh Steady. Did I offend anyone here? [PP adds: if people like Hold Steady and they can convince me that they are better than the Whigs, I might give them a relisten, because I like the Whigs, but I don’t think I like the Hold Steady]

24: Gang Gang Dance “House Jam”
Boring boring boring boring boring boring. The little stutter-time change could be cool if this didn’t just feel like studio noodling from top to bottom. Some interesting ideas scattered around. Assesque. Can only be enjoyed after a 3000 word treatise about how it is actually catchy, while not apparently so. I would have lost it if it had only just been a cover of Pack Jam by Jonzun Crew.

UC’s take:This song is beyond boring and unremarkable. It is offensive to every artist that made something of merit this year. I’m thinking here of my sister’s little niece who composed a perfectly adorable song on her little xylophone. That song is better than this. This song is neither Gang Gang Dance, nor is it Dance Dance Gang. It’s more like Ass Ass Meh. I will never get the time back I wasted listening to this. Damn you Stuart Berman!

23: Beyoncé “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”
Beyoncé is a sadly irresistible force for irritation when in ballad mode, while sometimes knocking it out of the park with her pop singles. This is her Def Leppard “Let’s Get Rocked”, a Frankenstein monster of steroidal hooks that (hopefully?) presages the beginning of the end. Love the “if you were into to my cootercoo you should have bought or bartered for it” sentiment. Just stop. Way to use your demonic powers for evil. Won’t argue with it on the list, but I would have gone with Rihanna’s annoying but unstoppable “Distrubia”, the Brit-beast’s “Womanizer” or the execrable, marauding Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold” instead in this spot. Only some of the ladies are cred-allowable, and Rihanna’s already made 1.5 appearances. I’m happy that this was better than any Department of Eagles song, or Okkervil River. I’m a cobag, I won’t go on, as this song is much better than much of the stuff on the list. I am Jan Brady and Pitchfork is Marcia Marcia Marcia Brady!!!!!!@@12#

UC’s take:Nah. Don’t like it. A trifle of musicality and the message is really female disempowerment and cobwhinery. I understand the video is some kind of phenom, but that doesn’t weigh at all on this list. I have nothing against big B – I just don’t like this song here or anywhere.

22: Santogold “Lights Out”
Santogold does has a giant pile of influences in this song, but it sounds fresh because she effortlessly incorporated them not like Dr. Frankenstein, but as an organic evolution to her musical worldview, so while we damn to hell the cynical and uncreative influence-aping rampant this year, we are super happy with this. Very very good, and completely different from her upcoming on the list “L.E.S. Artistes.”

UC’s take:I can hear a lot of Stars in this. Totally fine, but not overwhelmingly awesome. Would easily fit in my 290-300 range. What’s going on here: Am I bitchier than Pinko Punko?

21: Hercules and Love Affair “Hercules’ Theme”
Neo-disco more obvious and influence splashing than Aeroplane above, this is also more Def Leppard style over the top than Beyoncé. No calories at all, but also tastes like Tab on the front end before it surprisingly gets like Radiohead’s “National Anthem” crazy horns at the back end.

UC’s take:Sounds old and stale, like some threadbare revival. That is until the best part – the frenzy at the end. Thank you Adam Moerder for partially writing my review. By the way, does your last name pronounce like’ murder’? I’m just curious BECAUSE I AM A STABBING ROBOT!@1

13 Responses to “Pitchfork Cobaggery Watch 2008- Top Tracks 40-21 SUCKAS!”

  • We at the Citrus Fashion Association applaud this blog for resisting blog post titlofascism.

  • EWUTKMIG –???? Everyone Who (Pretended) to (Like) Me Is Gone. Used to Know?

    New Year is one of the two most accessible tracks, and upon first listen, it was a close call between that and Blue Route as my favorite. But the more I listen to the album, the more I can’t decide. On the Water, Playa, Tiny Islands, and Canadian Girl all sound almost as good to me now. But any song where Hamilton screams is always among their best when they play live (and they’re probably my favorite live band right now, along with SFA).

    I’m coming around on Vampire Weekend. It’s taken me a long time to get around to listening to them. I was a little put off by the hype and the image consciousness for a while, but the music is pretty good.

  • That is such a UC thing. I bet he just typed a bunch of letters figuring out the abbreviation would be close.

    I just like the sound on the new Walkmen album. I like it when he goes crazy, but I wish they’d also play some of the songs quietly (not unplugged) but so you could get the intricacies of the sound.

  • You say potato and I say optoatlpoa.
    You say tomato and I say tomtaotmoamo.
    Potato, aptoalpoa, tomato, tomtoaotoamo,
    Let’s call the whole thing off.

  • I was convinced to dl the Vampire Weekend disc.

    Odd that nobody sees fit to mention the strong ska underpinnings.

    Kind of half assed, that.

    I like th Walkmen when they get noisy. But then, I like the Sonic Youth cuz it’s what the kids are listening to.

  • The ska is kind of a maybe- if you listen to East African and South African music from the late seventies and 80s they maybe are taking their cues from that, especially on the guitar sound- and I think a lot of those musical genres were being influenced by the same stuff.

  • Aw, C’mon, Pinko, they have as much ska as that third English Beat album. The Beat always were popsters. Madness too.

    Hey, remember I’m an old guy. I’ve lived through three or four ska revivals now…

  • I know- but those East African Bands also have a lot of skank sound in them too. and they are contemporary with the Best, etc.

  • Well, you should be about the pigeonholing, or emuholing, just like the PF-ers

  • I’ve been trying to catch up with this, but PFork has been down for at least a couple of days and I can’t listen along. Has have they rechoked on the the chunder from their chundermuffins?

  • The Uncanny Canadian

    I know Brando, WTF??!! I’m trying to do my 1-20 to fulfill my 3B contractual obligation and get bacon points from PP, but it’s been super chundery all week. Strangely enough, their RSS feed is fine, though:


  • There really is a lot of ass on the list this year.

    However, I am even at more of a Extra Polar Ice opposite on MGMT than I am with you guys on The Hold Steady. I liked “Time to Pretend” enough that I bought their album, and I like it. Not love, but like. I find The Scissor Sisters meh yet I like MGMT. I don’t time to pretend how my brain works.

    The Hold Steady has everything I love about the music I grew up with, with little of the things I now find embarrassing about that music. That’s about as best as I can some up my Craig Finn non-sexual man crush.

    I liked the TI-Numa Numa thing a lot more than I expected to. It was like sweet/salty/spicy.

    I wish Fuck Buttons and No Age switched song lengths. Fuck Buttons was like a handjob that went no where. I started out thinking “I like this.” Nine minutes later, I’m still wondering when we’re going to take it to the next level. No Age was premature ejaculation. Just when things get interesting, the song climaxes and I’m left feeling disappointed.

    The Walkmen are also on my Rapture no-buy list. I bought Bows and Arrows years ago because of kudos and because “The Rat” rocked my face off. What I wound up was one song that rocked my face off and a bunch of whiny Park Slope warbly bs. The song here is okay but sounds too much like what I didn’t like.

    Just goes to show that we are all like snowflakes that eventually get made into snow-meh-n.

  • Wow, typo city in that. I need to hire an intern to edit my comments.

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