Words by Matthew Spence:
No, you’re not hallucinating. And no, you don’t need your magic 8Ball for confirmation, we’re indeed witnessing shit hitting the fan (and when it comes down, will we be ready?). Liv Tylers’ work of art, is becoming a reality of some sort, as we’re witnessing Empire Records being snatched by Public Enemy No.1: Corporations that don’t give 1/6 of a fuck. Enemy of the enema of the state. Pitchfork is merging with GQ, while all we can do is stand here with our thumbs up our asses and watch. Now, a disclaimer to the people: They’re not perfect, love em or hate em (Writing this, I got nam flashbacks of them calling Andre 3000s debut solo instrumental album. a “Rap” album). Pitchfork (and the same can be applied to Fanatno) is like Batman, you either think they’re heroes or a danger to the city.
I guarantee motherfuckers have been praying for this day and are getting satisfaction when they hear and read the news. They’re finally getting the Nancy payback they’ve been dreaming about.
Pitchfork is in a neck-and-neck battle with Fantano on who can piss off music fans the most. Who’s winning? I honestly couldn’t tell you. However, without a doubt, it’s still an important piece of music journalism for our time and the past decades. It’s the rug that ties the room together (one of them at least). Help tie the shoes of the Indie music scene of the 2000s and beyond, and it looks like Bob Dylan was right all along: The Times They are Changing. Its’ power that was used for good: giving light to a plethora of artists and a chance to be seen by many due to their never-ending reviews, content, and festivals, could be compromised. Think of all the smaller artists, forgotten bands, and hidden gems, the writers & staff took time to share a few words about, giving them an extended name to those outside of their cult fanbase. I mean for Christ’s sake, a Pitchfork Darling is Mac DeMarco……we all should be grateful for that.
I’ve for sure discovered a few artists, bands, and albums through Pitchfork that I may have not known or have found out about from other publications. Now, it feels like it could be obliterated to shite. Adding to the fact, that a few writers have been laid off and removed, it feels like a setback. Feels like we’re going backwards (Sorry Kevin). Worrysome music fans are pissing disappointment. In the beginning, I was more neutral (Really, I was focused on writing about Diary of a Wimpy Kid while also learning to play chess yo), but, with more time thinking, I realized: “Holy shit, GQ could fuck things up”. Think of all of the reviews that strike nerves and fulfill nerds, the overstimulation of albums and reviews that overwhelm you on the site, and the Breaking exclusive news. Strip it away. What do we get? Mainstream/already buzzing artists whose ass they’ll probably kiss, Burberry Cologne ads, and an article on the “Best Socks to Wear when you confess to your partner that you faked your orgasms”. It’ll make Garfield on a lazy day look more productive.
Now accordingly, it’ll remain its own website and entity, there’s no need to worry. However, it’s the integrity we’re worried about. Being under GQ Magazine, it makes you ponder: “Uhh…Why?”. Its mission statement is to: “inspire men to look sharper and live smarter with its unparalleled coverage of style, culture, and beyond.” It claims to be “the authority on men”. With that being said:
I know some are taking this moment to plan what they’re gonna play when they dance on Pitchfork’s grave, while they chant “Fuck You” like a WWE crowd. Repeat: They’re not perfect. You may hate their reviews, don’t follow them at all, or think they’ve gone to shit already so this news will seem irrelevant. To some, it’s Karma for all the fuck shit reviews, some might theorize Childish Gambino might be behind all of this (kidding).
Platforms like them and many others are important. Hearing two sides of a story for art is important, whether good or bad. Outliers and honest opinions are necessary. Would art benefit if everyone just went with the bandwagon of liking or hating an album just because everyone else is? Hell fuckity fuck no. Uncle Phil once asked a really great question:
[Of course, don’t go against the grain just because]
It’s the discourse that keeps the love of music going, well, next to the actual music being made of course.
What’s next? Besides the countless aspiring artists whose influence ranges from Arto Lindsay and Sufjan Stevens might have a lesser chance of being seen. Don’t get me started on talented minority (whether race, sexuality, gender identity, etc) artists that might be getting lowballed, in an already lowballing industry, with one of the biggest outlets for artists being under the parental advisory of a magazine that feel it’s for ritzy older white men. They probably aren’t the demo for Paris, Texas, and Meet Me at the Altar. Is this Mass Hysteria warranted? Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps nothing will change and it’ll remain the same. Maybe GQ will interfere and affect their format somehow. Only the future can answer. But I wonder, what will happen if their peers like Stereogum, Under the Radar Magazine, and other outlets get a boot on their musical car? Time will tell. All I Know is that I don’t know nothing.