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Saturday, January 12, 2008 

That's how it starts

The second entry on What Was It Anyway?, and the first by me, is up today. Watch me bash Sound of Silver, if you like - I'm still bummed it was Stylus' last ever #1. Not a horrible album, but so woefully undeserving of the praise lofted it's way that I wince. As opposed to M.I.A.'s Kala, which I also dislike but have no response beyond apathetic boredom, as the DJ playing "Bamboo Banga" last night reaffirmed.

At least you're right about M.I.A. :)

Oh thank god!

Seriously, I understand the acclaim for Sound of Silver a lot more. I gave Kala some good solid tries, but it just all fell flat for me. Even the Clash/Modern Lovers/Pixies/Bollywood rips.

I mean, at least LCD Soundsystem had a good album to fail to follow up on. At this rate "Galang" is always going to be the only M.I.A. track I like.

Kala is very off-putting in its quest to win the hearts of critics by simply quoting records they like. Do you really think Jonathan Richman likes it either? Haha

I don't know, he's kind of weird. Maybe he does?

Sound of Silver was interesting enough for me to put it in my top 50, but at 49. I can't understand how it made so many number 1 spots, and while I don't agree with you to the full extent of your dissatisfaction with it, I do agree.

Honestly, it's because of people like you that it made it to so many #1 spots. With big lists, it's not the passionately adored that reaches the top, it's the widely liked. 20 placings in the 11-20s or even the 21-30s probably work out better than five #1s. The same thing makes big lists useful to others and kind of hateful to people in my position: consensus.

Haha. Yeah, that makes sense, but I always prefer to take peoples lists in the context they are written rather than ignoring the words and creating some kind of meta-analysis of all of them and adjusting position for frequency. Mathematics doesn't figure big in my appreciation of music - as I'm sure it doesn't with you either. The dry objectiveness of that approach really kills my enthusiasm. Thanks for reminding me I'm a contributor to it!

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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