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 Everett True

subtle use of statistics and juxtaposition to show why Arcade Fire sucks

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The following list is reprinted wholesale from Last FM’s similar artists page for Arcade Fire. Have you seen a more dismal array of ‘alternative’ music in 2011? Take a look at those plays. That’s an entire mountain range of shit music, right there.

The National
51,092,402 plays (859,681 listeners)
The National is a Brooklyn-based alternative rock band formed in 1999, by friends from Cincinnati, Ohio. The band’s lyrics are written and sung by Matt Berninger in a distinctive, deep baritone. The rest of the band is composed of two pairs of brothers: Aaron Dessner (guitar, bass, keyboards), Bryce Dessner (guitar), Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums)
SUPER SIMILARITY to Arcade Fire

Interpol
70,268,115 plays (1,626,800 listeners)
At least two bands share their name with the International Criminal Police Organisation, in short Interpol.
SUPER SIMILARITY to Arcade Fire

Beach House
18,075,002 plays (483,616 listeners)
Beach House is a dream pop group that formed in 2005 in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. The group consists of Victoria Legrand (vocals, organ) and Alex Scally (guitar, keyboards). Legrand is the niece of French composer Michel Legrand. The group has released three albums: 2006’s “Beach House”, 2008’s “Devotion” and “Teen Dream” in early 2010.
SUPER SIMILARITY to Arcade Fire

Vampire Weekend
41,803,671 plays (1,165,644 listeners)
Vampire Weekend is an indie rock band which formed in February 2006 in New York City, New York, United States.
SUPER SIMILARITY to Arcade Fire

The Strokes
81,540,809 plays (2,079,790 listeners)
The Strokes are an American rock band from New York City, New York, United States, formed in 1998. The band rose to fame in the early 2000s as a leading group in garage rock/post-punk revival.
SUPER SIMILARITY to Arcade Fire

Broken Social Scene
38,688,222 plays (1,063,721 listeners)
Broken Social Scene is an indie rock group formed in 1999 in Toronto, Canada. The band’s core members are Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. This duo recorded and released the band’s ambient debut album, Feel Good Lost, in 2001, with contributions from Ohad Benchetrit (also known as Years), Evan Cranley, Leslie Feist, Justin Peroff, Bill Priddle, and Charles Spearin.
SUPER SIMILARITY to Arcade Fire

Sufjan Stevens
67,850,731 plays (1,191,337 listeners)
Sufjan Stevens (pronounced “SOOF-yan”; born July 1, 1975) is an American musician, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Petoskey, Michigan.
SUPER SIMILARITY to Arcade Fire

Radiohead
279,385,060 plays (3,270,059 listeners)
Radiohead are an English alternative rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The band is composed of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, beats), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboard, other instruments), Ed O’Brien (guitar, backing vocals), Colin Greenwood (bass guitar) and Phil Selway (drums, percussion).
SUPER SIMILARITY to Arcade Fire

Wolf Parade
15,304,471 plays (642,342 listeners)
Wolf Parade is an indie rock band from Victoria, British Columbia, based in Montreal, QC, and currently on indefinite hiatus.
SUPER SIMILARITY to Arcade Fire

Fleet Foxes
26,122,910 plays (748,597 listeners)
Fleet Foxes is an indie folk band which formed in Seattle, Washington, United States in 2006. The band consists of Robin Pecknold (vocals, guitar), Skyler Skjelset (guitar), Christian Wargo (bass, guitar, vocals), Casey Wescott (keyboards, vocals), Morgan Henderson (multiple instruments) and J. Tillman (drums, vocals). They are signed to the labels Sub Pop and Bella Union.
SUPER SIMILARITY to Arcade Fire

26 Responses to subtle use of statistics and juxtaposition to show why Arcade Fire sucks

  1. Darragh April 12, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Aww, but Broken Social Scene are great!

  2. Princess Stomper April 12, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Wait, wait, wait:

    I like Sufjan Stevens!
    YOU like Sufjan stevens!

  3. mmc April 13, 2011 at 12:58 am

    This is like when you hear about how the richest man in the world is not some name you know, like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or the Waltons, but actually some obscure guy in some obscure industry in some obscure country. These guys are the Carlos Slim of millenial music.

    This is like when they say that this is the first generation in–North America? western world?–in which kids will be worse off than their parents. Musically too, apparently.

    Here is my #1 argument for why these bands should not play music, should immediately cease & desist, and it’s one that one of the last known rock stars, Mr. KC, understood keenly, hence the t-shirt heavy indie PR campaign and the covers-laden MTV session; it’s also a torch carried on by Josh Homme, who fully admits he just wants to be in the band equivalent of the best mixtape in the world, and is always doing a super-inspiring job of trying to bring punk/DIY values to his millenial milieu:

    Are there musicians who preceded you who were 100, 1000 or a million times better? Fuck yes there are. Did each and every one get their due? Fuck no they didn’t, not by a long shot. So. Should you be serving yourself extra helpings of ears and eyes and industry resources and touring resources and so on when those same guys that cut the path for you now don’t have anything to retire on? No, you should fucking shut the fuck up and use your obvious advantages to find ways to remunerate them the way they should have been from the outset, the get-go. If you actually ASKED these musicians whether they deserve the disproportionate attention and resources they have received from fans and industry relative to their more obscure overlooked predecessors, if you actually broke down the numbers and waved them in their faces, they would probably go home and have nervous breakdowns.

    I guess I am some kind of radical musical humanitarian now, but so be it. The music of the previous generation meant way too fucking much to my very existence for me to shrug off the worsening direction here. I obviously know that these internet-generation darlings are not set for life, blowing millions on drugs and jetsetting around. But just because you’re Not That Bad doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, doesn’t mean you’re not part of the problem rather than the solution. It’s almost worse that this is happening with little to no financial or real world basis. Sort of like the financial crisis of 2008, and all the mythical unicorn-like financial instruments swapped around until the economy snapped under the weight of… hot air.

    And for the record, some of these musicians (the Canadian ones) are peers of mine, with mutual friends/acquaintances, people I’ve crossed paths with over the years. That would be the worst reason to support what they’re doing. Like Everett’s old thing about shit-talking friends in the press to keep his priorities clear and transparent. Plus, I know what I went through in this climate, as a musician/artist reared on indie/DIY values with something to offer, and it wasn’t pretty. This, however, is not sour grapes! It’s something much bigger and more important than us.

    And thus concludes MMC’s blog post comment novella. She will now take your questions in the kitchen while she reheats her coffee.

  4. Alex April 13, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Ah, sorry, I respect your mission, but don’t think you QUITE made your point (much less *any* point, other than that A LOT OF PEOPLE listen to very popular indie rock bands).

  5. Chris April 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Have I got the logic sequence wrong here?

    1) You don’t like [ARTIST A].
    2) “Similar artists” page on last.fm lists other bands you don’t like.

    Therefore:

    3) [ARTIST A] sucks.

  6. Everett True April 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    It’s how I used to do algebra at college. Look up the solution first, and work back to the problem.

  7. Lucy Cage April 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    I feel loathe to defend any of this load of Pollacks, except to say this looks like an indiscriminate hipster dismissal of Really Big Indie bands; beards and boys and guitars, just about the most insidiously dreary combination of things to happen to music.

    Except some of them aren’t. Sufjan Stevens can hardly be accused of making bog-standard, seen-it-all-before-yawno music, not now, not after the frankly mental/genius hotchpotch that is The Age of Adz. Arcade Fire, even if you may hate their massive chorus + rousing communal pots’n’pans singalong vibe (and I don’t at all: I’m a sucker for over-blown melodramatic pop), aren’t boys with guitars. Totally unrock stringy boys and shouty girls with hurdy-gurdies and violins and accordians are always going to pique my interest. Broken Social Scene do the collective multi-instrumental thing too, even if, when I saw them last year, there were literally more beards lined-up than I have EVER SEEN ON A STAGE BEFORE. Jeez. Their last album is a wonderful thing, urgent AND rambling if such a thing is possible, and chucks disco and improv and funk into the math rock pot.

    OK, so The National and Fleet Foxes represent exactly the kind of straight-up big sweet melodic rock that, done badly, sucks big time and warms the cockles of clueless record execs in LA. But, but, you see there are songs on The National’s Alligator than are pretty much the finest expression of mixed-up, self-loathing twenty-first century masculinity. Which, it turns out, isn’t in too great a shape. Woo. The songs are way more intricate than first listen might have you believe. ‘Lit Up’, ‘Abel’, Karen’, ‘Daughters of the Soho Riots’ are beautiful, complex, heartbreaks of songs. It’s just one of those infuriating phenomena of the music biz that the album that breaks big is going to be the whomping great obvious one, not the far superior earlier, wobblier work.

    I’m not bloody defending Interpol though (except for NYC, which has dubious lyrics but is undeniably gorgeous), nor the fucking dismal Vampire Weekend, Wolf Parade, The Strokes or Beach House: they can fuck the fuck right off.

    This list and the way it’s being taken to implicate Arcade Fire in the shiteness of its fans’ other favourites reminds me of when, a couple of weeks ago, my favourite record shop (and now – whay hay! – best Independent Record Shop in the UK) wrote this on Facebook: “Forgot to buy Mother’s Day pressie? Never fear – we open at 10. Adele, Elbow, JoshTPearson, R’head, Iron & Wine, Low Anthem etc all in stock”
    My heart sunk. Mumrock. What a fucking horror. I wanted to deny any allegiance to any of it. Never mind that I properly loved at least a couple of songs from each of those bands. Ah, fuck what is and is not hip to hate: you just have to love what you love, however crap the rest of that band’s output may be.

    The hating is very funny though. Much funnier than my pernicketiness. So keep it up.

  8. mmc April 14, 2011 at 12:15 am

    I think I could have put my position differently and more simply. I am just a hopeless gen X romantic/loyalist. These bands represent an unearned inheritance to me–like the children of industrialists who inherit the fortunes their fathers built from absolute scratch.

    How much did the predecessors of these bands mean to these artists? A ton.

    How much do these bands mean to their predecessors? Almost nothing.

    How much would it disturb these bands to cut through the hype and fanfare and numbers and stats and face that reality? Probably a lot. They’ve ruled out the possibility that, say, Paul Westerberg would ever show up to their gig and want to meet them, or some shit. They can pretend like they don’t care, but deep down, they do.

    It’s that thing: everyone wants to please mummy and daddy. When you find out you can’t, you become a punk and a rebel. It’s OK either way, but don’t pretend it’s not one or the other. I remember when some of these bands were coming up and it was around the same time that my mother discovered, after a decade of asking me to turn down my noisy records, that she could find music she liked that had that cachet attached to them that I had held so close to me: “indie.” I don’t dislike Belle and Sebastian but they started a ball rolling in this direction. I remember seeing something where Broken Social Scene talked about their middle-aged parents coming to their shows. To me it’s inconceivable that you could be playing the music you really want to play if your parents are happy to be there. It’s perverse somehow. I guess that’s the punk ethos–if your parents hate you and what you do, at least you get to go out alone and free in the world and be cool and be real on some other level.

    For me rock is now just showing itself to be like classical and jazz. The golden age is over, the silver age too. We’re in the bronze but some are trying to pass off bronze as gold. My friend insists the next era is plastic. We will treat plastic artifacts like buried treasure.

  9. Wallace Wylie April 14, 2011 at 1:14 am

    I have an issue of Spin magazine where Paul Westerberg and Billie Joe Armstrong are talking happily. Yes, it was set up by Spin but they were obviously friends and Paul had plenty of good things to say about Green Day, who are so fucking terrible it defies description. David Bowie appeared on-stage with Arcade Fire.

    I mean, I get what you’re saying overall but I disagree about the quality of music being worse these days. I live in Minneapolis and I get tired of hearing about The Replacements and Husker Du because I think they’re both horrendously overrated. Prince is the best thing to come out of Minneapolis but I run into so many people who think The Replacements ‘meant’ something in comparison to Prince. Westerberg really pushes the ‘beautiful loser’ thing and it’s very irritating.

    I realise I’m focusing on The Replacements and overall thats not what you wanted to talk about.

  10. mmc April 14, 2011 at 3:06 am

    I saw/read both of those, Billie/Paul and Bowie/AF, and neither of them bother me or clash with what I was saying, in my mind. Like, I am 30 and I was a Green Day fan when they came out. I look back at it as “teething”. They had reasonably real roots, scene-wise, even if they abandoned and shed them over time. The pop-punk thing went horribly awry but it was perhaps necessary for my generation to get a little “starter punk” music in our blood to prime us for going back into the real stuff. I remember a cool older girl, the sister of this local music guy, chastizing me on the city bus when I told one of my friends that Green Day was now “too overplayed”. (I’m like 12-13 at this time.) She was standing up for them as I thought I was putting them in their place. I also had the Singles movie soundtrack, which I loved thoroughly, and thought that Paul Westerberg was some big pop nerd, had absolutely no idea he was in a seminal band that I would grow to love and respect much later. (Someone put “Kiss Me On the Bus” on a mixtape for me later on and I didn’t link the two at all.) So as far as I’m concerned, I’m happy that they were paired in that weird Spin mag issue. I’m also happy that Paul Westerberg has basically fled underground during this dismal time in music and I’m hopeful that he’ll re-emerge for a victory lap when the time is right.

    Arcade Fire performing with Bowie was fucking exciting for us “peers” of theirs because they hadn’t yet worn out their welcome, or won a retarded award, and it just seemed kind of special, like, “you and I could be playing with Ziggy Stardust songs right now dude. Holy shit.” They still had the potential to get a lot better, and I don’t think it was a bad pairing. I only really got into Bowie a couple of years ago so it was good timing for me to see that.

    Sorry this is all sort of personal and self-indulgent, but this is Everett True’s site so why the fuck not.

  11. chiara April 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens “similar” to Arcade Fire? Is that a joke? What’s the similarity for God’s sake?

  12. Everett True April 14, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Hey Chiara. Don’t blame me! Blame those tasteless mega-bots at Last FM’s similarity station! (Or maybe they’re getting all meta on our humanoid asses and lumping in all shite beard-stroking indie music together …. which, um, is kind of my point here. I think.)

  13. chiara April 14, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Gee, Last FM, I’ll sue them besterrrrds!

    But I can still blame you for calling Fleet Foxes shite beard-stroking indie band, argh! If they are shite, then there is a whole new world of shiteness to be reconsidered and to be given a new name… A name that would fall well beyond the language of us humainod asses.

  14. ogsy April 15, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Couldn’t agree more with this being the bronze age. At times I have put this down to my age and the “everything is shit compared to Perfect Sound Forever” attitude I hold dear, but fuck yeah, everything is shit these days (at least the bland formulaic indie that we are force fed by the tipper truck load). These bands jump straight to the top of the tree without any of the leg work. Fair enough if they’re talented but that ain’t the case. That’s why the Mystery Jets sell records. That’s why Muse sell out Wembley. The fucking stadium at that. That’s why the Foo Fighters haven’t disappeared up their own arses. Yet. It’s the musical equivalent of the emperor’s new clothes. You tell enough people Arcade Fire are worthy flag bearers for a generation, enough fucking mugs will believe it.

  15. mmc April 15, 2011 at 9:21 am

    <– best contributor on Collapse Board, so good she gets comments of support from the future that HASN'T EVEN STARTED YET (it's still April 14 in Montreal)

  16. mmc April 15, 2011 at 9:28 am

    But seriously ogsy, I did the same thing for years… “I must be getting old and hypocritical to think that everything sucks…” And then you hear one or two new things that don’t suck in the sea of suck and you hear other people say it too and you realize it’s not just you. You realize that your job is to protect and honor the best from your own personal golden years and glory days, leave out the rest, and the kids will come to respect and love you, the way I’ve always felt about certain oldsters who provided me more access to cool/value/shit-worth-living-for than anyone my age that I knew of, as a kid born squarely between generations X and Y.

  17. Lucy Cage April 15, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I refer you both to Hannah Golightly’s excellent and kick-up-the-arse-y article about getting re-illusioned with modern music on this site. There’s loads of extraordinary and extraordinarily varied music being made now: oh my god, it’s SO much better than the dreary, laddish 90s! And crap sold out Wembley then too, only it was crapper crap. Crapper crap even than Muse. Yes, really.
    This talk of reverence and inheritance worries me. The idea that you should shut the fuck up because your progenitors haven’t yet been accorded their rightful due is so damn paralysing. You mention punk ethos, but punk was never nostalgic. Or overly bothered about what was owed or deserved.
    C’mon, these are exciting times! Teenage indiekid hearts are being lost RIGHT NOW to the soundtrack of 2011, to Braids and Cults and Lykke Li and Deerhunter and Metronomy and TuNe-YaRdS (shit, I did that wrong, didn’t I?) and Austra and Let’s Buy Happiness and probably even Odd Future. They will hold that music as dear as you held yours, and rightly so.
    It’s OK. Pop music isn’t broken.

  18. Everett True April 15, 2011 at 10:52 am

    once again. What Lucy says ABSOLUTELY FUCKING YES underlined in scarlet and yellow felt tip a thousand times.

    I just want to pull out everything she says in the comments and run it in BLOCK CAPITAL LETTERS across the brows of a thousand dullard male indie music ‘critics’. FUCKING YES!

  19. mmc April 15, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Lucy… would you have been “worried” in 1991 when Kurt Cobain (in conjunction with our own E! True) was vocally deliberately heavy-handedly trying to get MORE people to listen to Flipper, Leadbelly, Vaselines, Daniel Johnston, Sebadoh, Meat Puppets, Shonen Knife, Scratch Acid, Pixies etc etc ad nauseam? Bands that predated his by years, several of which were defunct at that point? Most of which were obscure and poor because they were underground and beloved but hardly even heard? There was nothing nostalgic or sentimental about that–he could plainly see, as could many of his peers, that they were lucky enough to be sitting on that gold mine of goodies that for various/whatever reasons did not get their full due. That’s all it’s about. Not more than their share or less, just the rightful piece of the pie. Do you realize that being “overly bothered” about that stuff was the passion that drove E True and others into their career in the first place? They snuffled and snarked at baby boomer nostalgia but they knew in a way they were just as sappy and sentimental about their pet favorites.

    My era, the silver age, involved a demand that exceeded supply on the one hand, and a supply that exceeded demand on the other hand. So in the former case, nineties kids too young and broke and isolated to get to the reams of music they knew was out there that they wanted so bad. On the other side, amazing alt/indie bands put out masterful classic albums that were not sufficiently heard and acknowledged, and this wore away at their morale and their means of survival. I was rereading a GbV interview today that mentioned how EVERETT TRUE DISCOVERED GUIDED BY VOICES [sic] and Pollard made a comment about how someone at their label or in the industry said that they couldn’t be putting out tonnes of GbV albums per year, despite Bob’s prolific high-quality output, because kids couldn’t afford to buy them all. Pollard thought it wasn’t true, but it WAS, and I was Exhibit A of that problem, because I wanted everything of his and could afford almost nothing.

    The task now, as I see it, is to try and restore some balance and order to that cosmos. The work was not and is not complete. That’s the point–it’s not that us oldsters NEED more newer better grist for the mill, it’s that we can feel the disconnect between then and now and it makes us realize all of our unfinished business. Which is why we start to seem like, and sometimes become, nostalgic haters and stuff. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that the appreciation felt by a few of my favorite bands this month as they each toured a reissued classic album was not nostalgic, but utterly present and real to them (QOTSA, Pixies, Sebadoh). It’s hard to move forward until you deal with your past, in all its glory and misery.

    So you and Holly-er-Hannah tend to the newcomers as well as you’re doing, spread the gospel among the young, and leave us to our other thing. You’ll be the nanny to the new babies and I’ll be the elder caregiver to the oldsters. They both have butts that need to be wiped. And kissed.

  20. mmc April 15, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Apparently I now speak for the historical Everett True and Jerry speaks for the knee-jerk Everett True.

    TRUE vs. TRUE: They’re Both Still True

  21. Everett True April 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    (from Facebook)

    Jonathan Dreitzler, Yaprak Gökçöl and Greg Collinsworth like this.

    Mathew Dryhurst
    I’m not a fan, nor a statistician, but I don’t get it. That is a whole ton of dire music, but how does that prove how rubbish they are? If I’m in a band, and tangentially similar artists are rubbish (and popular with last.fm algorhythms) does that mean my band is rubbish too?

    Everett True
    Yes.

    Phil Graham
    bastard

    Tony Gattuso
    all i need to know is: i don’t like ’em

  22. ogsy April 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Lucy, I agree, there’s plenty out there that deserve to he heard. I was caught in a sentimental/critical moment. So long as they don’t do a Los Campesinos and make an advert for Bud.

  23. Jules Boyle November 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    There’s loads of great new music out there, same as always. I spent my teens and early twenties being told by older folk that music was shit these days and it was better when they were my age. This was obviously bollocks, but it still pissed me off to hear it. I decided, even if at some point i think it, i am *never* going to tell anyone that It’s Not As Good As It Used To Be. No danger.

    And if i do think it, it just means i’m not paying attention anymore. I’m going to try real hard to not let that happen. 🙂

  24. Everett True November 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    There’s loads of great new music out there, same as always.

    Absolutely, one hundred per cent agreed, Jules. For example.

  25. Jennifer March 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Maybe you should try to use an ounce of logic in your criticism. What do any of those bands have to say about Arcade Fire’s music? They’re completely different bands. Your argument is ridiculous.

  26. MLM April 26, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Well I like Arcade Fire. I like a lot of things for a lot of reasons.

    But it seems that the people that are so vehement about the ‘good’ music they like are the ones that miss meritable music right under their nose because they’re so stuffy.

    I’m totally bored with elitists. I’ve been in bands with them and it makes for boring music and tiresome opinion.

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