Last week, this very KZUUblog expressed concern over a writeup in WSU’s Daily Evergreen. The article, previewing the Lake/Karl Blau/Yarn Owl show, demonstrated a severe lack of interest in the music being written about. Now, a week later, the Evergreen has published a column discussing alleged “spooky tunes,” just in time for Halloween. Once again, I see sloppy, shoddy high-school writing masquerading as something interesting.
The column looks at three artists: Dead Man’s Bones, Tom Waits, and some sort of bizarro, misspelled version of Flight of the Conchords.
The author of the piece, Dominick Bonny, chooses to focus on Wikipedia-found biographical material and trite buzzwords in his description of Ryan Gosling’s Dead Man’s Bones. His opening paragraph expresses shock at hearing a children’s choir as he “let the first track…run.” Wow. To begin, the FRONT COVER of the album is Gosling and bandmate Zach Shields flanking a group of about THIRTY CHILDREN wearing costumes. Under the picture are the words “featuring the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children’s Choir.” All this, and the voice of children was still shocking? Secondly, the “first track” to which Bonny refers, “Buried in Water,” is the FOURTH track on the album. In fact, track four is also the first time the choir makes an appearance. His review then devolves into very nearly copied-and-pasted biographical material on the band. Again, if you’re going to publish something that so clearly shows a lack of effort or interest, it may be time to reconsider publishing that thing.
Bonny then transitions to a discussion of the legendary Tom Waits. At this point, Waits’s persona is so mythic and entrenched that if you have nothing new to contribute, don’t even bother. Bonny uses the most cliche description of the singer’s voice possible: “a voice that sounds like someone let a mountain lion shred his vocal cords, then rolled them in gravel, doused them in whiskey and set them on fire.” Compare that to the second sentence of the current revision of Waits’s Wikipedia article: “…like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.” Originality wheeeee.
The Flight of the Conchords section is harmless enough, except the Evergreen made the bold, tough editorial decision to misspell the band’s name. Since they so obviously have their shit together, the editors must have reasoned something along these lines: “Hey, here’s a word. It looks like another word that I know, and I know that word because I work for a newspaper and I know things. However, I don’t know what a musical ‘chord’ is and don’t understand why a FUCKING BAND would have a music pun in their name. Therefore, the ‘h’ has to go!!”
Daily Evergreen, I ask you, do you even care what you print? Everything reads like a goddamn high school newspaper. If you don’t have anyone who can present a coherent analysis of a band, album, or anything musical, maybe consider not printing this trash? Your readership is dumb to begin with, and this nothingness certainly isn’t helping.
-Evan and Curt