Sunday, May 22, 2011

A brief defense of terrible things

There are two things any article about Odd Future needs to feature: That they're pretty rapey, and that white critics like them.

This is especially important to mention this if you are a white critic.

Since the album came out nearly two weeks ago, most critics have had it for months and are clearly bored of it — you can see this by the "let's cover the coverage" meta-stage we're in now, where Cord Jefferson makes a whole article out of telling listeners why they really like it (or at least why white critics like it — fetishizing black man's rage again.

(He ends with a doozy: "Ike Turner, Mike Tyson, Chris Brown -- all lack men whose anger went from latent to gruesome, and whose reputations were shattered irrevocably in the process. Because the fetishization of black aggression has its limits. And while white people love to hear you say you're going to beat and rape some women, God help you if you ever actually do it."

Poor Dominique Strauss-Kahn learned that the hard way.)

So, briefly:

OF has beats I like and flows I like, and the cartoonish rape is part of a cartoonishly violent world they create. But I like metal and I like skatepunk and I don't mind stuff that's intentionally gross or gruesome, so long as there's something else there. It's not for everyone, but while race is part of the context of OF, it's not nearly as important to me as the aesthetic norms of the rest of the stuff I listen to. Putting a lot of emotional charge into the cartoony rage and violence would distract me from both the other stuff going on in the music that I like, and the sense of humor I think OF comes across with.

Which means that I find the defenses of OF on the "Freaking out the squares" tip to be pretty bullshit too — it's constant talk about the least interesting part of the music, like focusing on just how Satanic metal bands are.

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