Scott Creney

Washed Out – Within And Without (Sub Pop)

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Look, I can appreciate art for art’s sake. And I don’t need meaning to have a good time. But I like I said earlier, this particular brand of music is popping up all over the place here in America. This music literally sounds like being in a shopping mall. And not the kind of shopping mall that has the army recruiting offices and the Forever 21. I’m talking about the malls that have the stores that sell the hundred dollar jeans. Washed Out is a soundtrack for passive consumption, for the blissfully ignorant to wallow like pigs at the late-capitalist mudbath. And if Ernest Greene has a problem with that, maybe he should try making music that isn’t so easily turned into a billboard. And if his fans have a problem with that, well, they’ll be working in middle-management soon enough, now won’t they? I hope they enjoy their hour-long commute into the city, their loveless marriage and spoiled bratty kids, and I hope they enjoy getting fat and watching television for the rest of their stupid miserable lives. Take some more pills, assholes. Nevermind the side effects, here’s Washed Out.

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Sorry. Got a little carried away there. I’m sorry. These spasms of white hatred aren’t like me, but something in this album keeps pushing my buttons and I’m trying to figure out what it is. It’s not a chillwave thing, either. Neon Indian doesn’t do this to me. Or Ariel Pink. And I think Animal Collective/Panda Bear have been making some of the most imaginative, forward-thinking music of the past decade. And it’s not just a hipster thing, or a class thing, either. I think the last Vampire Weekend album was brilliant, and Ezra Koenig might be the most clever non-hip-hop lyricist since Elvis Costello (you can debate the merits of cleverness among yourselves).

So what’s my fucking problem with Washed Out? Am I being unfair? Probably. Am I ascribing all kinds of values to Washed Out’s music that may or may not be there? Quite possibly. Am I bringing all kinds of personal value systems into what’s supposed to be a music review? No question. But this is what I hear when I listen to Washed Out. You want me to say something nice? Fine. I give him credit for sounding modern. You may not hear a more accurate sonic representation of 21st Century privileged and wealthy young America.

Music to help you forget. Music to watch television to. Music to snort coke to. Music to help you justify cutting taxes for the rich to. Music to sleep until noon to. Music to get plastic surgery to. Music to watch innocent people die to.

Of course it’s also music to shoplift to. Music to hopefully one day inspire a riot.

But I’m sure most of you will find it all very pleasant and reassuring. I hear Ernest is a really nice guy.

In the meantime, take pills to help your depression (you’ll still be depressed). Take pills to help your anxiety (you’ll still be afraid). Take pills to help you pay attention (you’ll still be distracted). Take pills to alleviate your pain (you’ll still get hurt).

(Although it kind of ruins the aesthetics of the review, I feel obligated to point out here that Panda Bear’s song is about trying to find the strength and support to NOT take pills. Also, it does everything that Washed Out does a thousand times better than Washed Out does it.)

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21 Responses to Washed Out – Within And Without (Sub Pop)

  1. Princess Stomper July 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    *picks that Manorexia album off the shelf and cuddles it*

    Just … wow.

  2. Jez July 12, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    I don’t get Washed Out. It’s being sold as some ‘alt.cool’ loved by music bloggers and geeks, yet the sounds he uses are SO bland and so pathetic it makes me wonder if I am listening to a different record. I played it to my dad the other day and he said ‘that’s nice what’s that?’ Think that sums it up really. Dadelectronica.

  3. Lewis Parker July 12, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    If they existed 10 years ago, you can tell Sofia Coppola would have put Washed Out into Lost in Translation.

  4. Mike July 13, 2011 at 1:34 am

    I agree the album cover looks a bit like some sort of perfume or clothing ad, or whatever. But only because those industries have co-opted youth culture. are those models really that extraordinary/flawless? Lots of girls in their early 20s are that skinny; lots of guys the same age have a natural amount of musculature before their beerguts settle in; lots of kids that age are tan, especially during the summer; and the pair must be at the girls place, because the sheets are clean.

    I enjoy a good rant, and that’s certainly what this article is. But let’s not take it too seriously. Neither the rant nor the music. It’s just pop music, and it mostly isn’t revolutionary or meaningful, so you don’t need to ring the alarm bell about a lost generation every time an album like this comes out.

  5. Princess Stomper July 13, 2011 at 6:03 am

    They do rather make Chapterhouse sound like Slayer.

  6. Joseph Kyle July 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    If I were Phil Collins, I’d be calling up my lawyers right about now. I’ve heard more rip-offs of the drum solo from “In the Air Tonight” than the original song had!

  7. Everett True July 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    If you were Phil Collins, I’d be slapping you round the face right now.

  8. Joseph Kyle July 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Touche, sir! If I were Phil Collins, I’d be praying for a Mark David Chapman.

  9. Scott Creney July 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Funny enough, I actually enjoy (some) Phil Collins.


  10. Everett True July 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    He. Is. Not. Forgiven. Trust. Me.

  11. sleevie nicks July 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    be careful of which era of Phil Collins you enjoy Scott, just ask Pete Townshend.

  12. Chris July 16, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Lighten up.

  13. aislek July 16, 2011 at 2:06 am

    C’mon. This album isn’t that bad. Washed Out makes non-threatening, disposable pop & it was intentionally constructed as such. Not everything has to be profound. I wouldn’t call it sonic Ambien…maybe sonic hand sanitizer. It’s quick, accessible and you feel clean for a short time after listening to it.

  14. Everett True July 16, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Here’s the focus group response review. http://www.collapseboard.c​om/blogs/joseph-kyle/washe​d-out-the-focus-group-resp​onse-review/

  15. DC July 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Bravo! I find no redeemable quality in this album/outfit. It’s wet belly button fluff. It/they almost (*almost*) makes Perfume Genius seem momentarily interesting.

  16. disco August 1, 2011 at 12:29 am

    scott clearly grew up in a closet, eventually convincing himself that everything outside of that closet was nearly as good.

  17. Nabil October 13, 2011 at 3:49 am

    You are a terrible reviewer. You sound like you are in high school and getting back at this album for not going to prom with you. How can you appreciate anything with such an embittered spirit? Grow up, nerd.

  18. Ultramafic April 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    When you were riffing on science fiction stories I was expecting a comparison to the food they eat at the end of a wrinkle in time, that looks so good but has no taste.

    Amazing review, even tho I happen to like the album. “it sounds like airbrushing looks like.” gold!

  19. Anais July 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    What is wrong with you? This album is good and your taste in music is as bad as this fucking review, you little shit. Hope you get buried with this album, you fucker.

  20. James Flint July 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    What is wrong with you? (Everyone is measured in the terms with which I view myself as absolute)

    This album is good (I primarily respond on an emotional level)

    and your taste in music is as bad as this fucking review (See above)

    ,you little shit. (I have unchecked anxiety that leaks into feelings of persecution because of my low self esteem. I attempt to bolster my own sense of superiority through the diminution of others. Sometimes I lash out, but I still try my hand at grammar.)

    Hope you get buried with this album, you fucker. (I fear death)

  21. Luna Whitegrass November 28, 2014 at 2:30 am

    James, can’t you just leave people alone? You don’t know ANYTHING about this person, so what can you possibly say that means anything right now? And she’s actually right. Scott has a horrible taste in music if he hates Washed Out. Washed Out is amazing. Just go away, why don’t you? If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I’m usually nicer, but when people are mean to other people, it’s like… no more nice Luna. So, sorry if this cut a little too deep. Honestly, I think you need it. I don’t feel bad. Stop the sarcasm. Jeez. .-.

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