You know, us Blink-182 guys aren’t that bad!

 

  1. jonathanbogart replied to your quoteI tend to think that despite the fact that they…
    That said, I understand what she means here: there is a certain kind of guy that Blink-182 captured very well, and maybe those were the guys she was surrounded by. In which case what she needed wasn’t Blink-182’s roadmap, but new guy friends.
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  2.  jonathanbogart replied to your quoteI tend to think that despite the fact that they…
    I really don’t understand why the Atlantic thinks Rosenberg is the best possible pop-culture critic they could have on their website. She seems like a nice enough person, but her “insights” are invariably banal when they’re not just wrongheaded.

I sort of agree with you on Rosenberg, but then, I read both her blogs every day, so evidently she’s doing something right. I think what it is relates to something Nitsuh Abebe was talking about in his Pitchfork column last week:

Some people are insiders about one thing, and some are insiders about another. There’s hardly enough time in life to be really immersed in one thing, let alone be savvy about two. That’s my excuse, anyway, for not knowing as much as I want to about either books or music.

Rosenberg is good at knowing a little bit about everything, which as Nitsuh says, is a tough thing to do. She can talk about music in one post, then books the next, then movies in a third, before giving music another look, and then diving into video games. She doesn’t do it perfectly, and sometimes you can see her lack of expertise. For instance, her post I originally quoted was about how much she was looking forward to Travis Barker’s star-studded vanity project, which seems absurd to someone who’s immersed themselves in pop music long enough to know that an album created by a genre-dilettante intent on cashing in all the favors he’s built up over years in the industry will almost certainly disappoint. (I mean, if Timbaland couldn’t succeed with Shock Value, what hope has Travis Barker?)

And she follows it up with this, as well:

More specifically and relevantly, I also feel like the debate over whether Meg White was the greatest drummer of the aughts or a weird star hitched to Jack White’s undeniable talent made all other discussions of drummers uninteresting. But Barker’s a good, strong, punctuational drummer. It’ll be fun to see him do the spare, minimal stuff that’s been so prevalent in hip-hop, and to stand out against richer instrumentation and flow too.

Which is… first, what debate was this? Meg White greatest drummer of the aughts? And has she heard what Barker has done in hip-hop so far? (It’s not awful, but you can tell he’s a rock drummer parachuted in, and he’s hardly minimalist in his approach.)

And folks indepthed in other media could probably parse some of her posts in the same way. But even when she’s writing about music, she usually tends to do OK, and I appreciate that she doesn’t restrict herself to writing about middlebrow indie, the way other non-music bloggers who blog about music do. She knows enough to have a clear voice and a coherent world view, and that’s a lot of the battle. And of course, there’s the thing about outsiders being able to introduce ideas that haven’t occurred to the insiders, and with Rosenberg being not quite inside or outside, sometimes she has the advantages of both.

I also suspect she’s easier to appreciate at her personal blog, where she’s basically doing the same thing, but with four posts a day. I know myself that when you have a personal blog and a professional one, it can be harder to find the right voice for the latter. Quality control works against you here; posting more often and less thoughtfully means you put some garbage up, but it also means you don’t filter out the posts you thought were trivial that people actually end up enjoying.

As for Blink-182, well, they had their romantic side and their fratty side, and some of their fans who were in their teens during the ’90s (ahem) were surprisingly adept at ignoring their frattiness. And besides, I didn’t know emo existed!