Tom Morello's public war with "big fan" Paul Ryan got a lot of headlines, but for me (surprisingly) it was the social media donnybrook between Yeasayer and Pitchfork over the latter's review of Fragrant World that really got my blood racing. I mean, let's face it- Paul Ryan isn't a fan of Rage Against The Machine. Of course Morello had to defend his turf and set the record straight, but in the end there's no way a career Washingtonian like Paul Ryan could possibly be a fan... unless he's one of those swine that vigorously overlooks inconvenient lyrical content (ahem Chris Christie), but it's neither here nor there compared to almost hilarious brandishing of cojones that's been at the heart of the Yeasayer-Pitchfork beef, that and a mutual desire to get over on somebody perceived to have gotten too big for their britches.
When the futurekind define "music blog buzz band," the example they will cite will be Yeasayer's 2010 sophomore album Odd Blood. Yes the buzz entirely justified, but that hype was intense, and it got more intense as they toured behind that breakthrough album before retreating to work on their insanely highly anticipated third album. Needless to say, the hype during the run up of the release of Fragrant World has been crazy, in part due to some clever social media maneuvers from the band themselves. Was Yeasayer setting themselves up for a backlash, an inevitable backlash as these things go? Perhaps. What one person would consider a warm and fuzzy connection to a band via Twitter can be perceived by somebody else as shameless hype. In any case, Pitchfork, a previous champion of Yeasayer, obliged with a review of Fragrant World that was a certified smackdown.
Now, I don't want to get into the particulars of the Pitchfork Fragrant World review or the album itself because Steve Dobek will be reviewing it and I don't want to prejudice anybody against a fellow buffaBLOGGER. That would indeed not be cricket. I will say that the Pitchfork reviewer seemed to definitely have an agenda as evidenced by among other things the "better luck next time because we know you can do better" tone and a desire to bag on every song on the album while still giving it a 5.4. "Eleven unremarkable songs?!?" Having chased all of the songs down during the run-up to the Yeasayer show a few weeks back and after, that criticism just didn't seem kosher to me. And it must not have seemed kosher to Yeasayer either because they issued a Tweet (again with the social media) lambasting an anonymous reviewer who only could have been the dude from Pitchfork.
And apparently Yeasayer wasn't the only one, the Twitterverse lighting up as scads of angry Tweets flew from Yeasayer fans at Pitchfork decrying the review, prompting Pitchfork to later ironically give props to Yeasayer for having an army of fans so keep to do battle on their behalf. Of course as an occasional critic, I'm not entirely crazy about this turn of events, but then again, I try to avoid agendas and using my reviews to take the piss out on somebody, something Pitchfork cannot always say themselves. Pitchfork has become the daily hipster music missalette, and boy do they know it. Pitchfork This and Pitchfork That. Pitchfork TV. Pitchfork Fest in Chicago. Pitchfork Fest in Paris. Pitchfork Here There and Everywhere. Don' get me wrong, I regularly check out Pitchfork; I don't live by it but I know it's there, and let's face it, Pitchfork has been very good to us as music lovers. But their influence on music and music culture is becoming more and more outsized, and sometimes power goes to one's head, even at a music blog/website, and that might very well have been the case here. In many ways it was Pitchfork that was setting itself up for a backlash, and Yeasayer did their best to oblige.
Yes, I do believe it's possible for a music blog to be trippin.' Of course that won't happen at buffaBLOG. Never. Trust us. And don't @#$% with Yeasayer. They might mess you up (on Twitter).