Una lettura perfetta per il pomeriggio di una piovosa domenica di fine inverno: 5.4 – Pitchfork, 1995 – present. Risale a un paio di mesi fa, ma l'ho incrociata solo oggi (grazie a Pop Topoi), e del resto solo oggi avrei avuto il tempo di leggere le sue quasi 60mila battute. Inizia ripercorrendo la storia del sito musicale più famoso e controverso della rete e finisce come un saggio di sociologia del consumo; non sono completamente d'accordo col suo punto di vista, ma contiene alcune riflessioni notevoli e un livello di approfondimento abbastanza raro.
That project—an ever evolving, uncontroversial portrait of contemporary tastes in popular music—addressed one problem surrounding music in the file-sharing era to the exclusion of all others. Faced with readers who wanted to know how to be fans in the internet age, Pitchfork’s writers became the greatest, most pedantic fans of all, reconfiguring criticism as an exercise in perfect cultural consumption. Pitchfork’s endless “Best Of” lists should not be read as acts of criticism, but as fantasy versions of the Billboard sales charts. Over the years, these lists have (ominously) expanded, from fifty songs to 100 or 200, and in 2008 the site published a book called The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present. Similarly, Pitchfork’s obsession with identifying bands’ influences seems historical, but isn’t. When a pop critic talks about influences, he’s almost never talking about the historical development of musical forms. Instead, he’s talking about his record collection, his CD-filled binders, his external hard drive—he is congratulating himself, like James Murphy in “Losing My Edge,” on being a good fan. While Pitchfork may be invaluable as an archive, it is worse than useless as a forum for insight and argument. [#]