Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Va / Music from the O.C.Mix 4 / Rating 5.3


Rob Mitchum confesses he is reviewing a soundtrack to a television show he has never actually watched. This doesn’t really bother me but I think if he had seen a few episodes the review would be more about how this collection makes sense or doesn't verse his actual review where he reminds the reader "So if this throwaway compilation has an underlying message, it's this: You're not special. That complex, detached, artfully depressed persona you've cultivated isn't unique; in fact, it's so easily simulated, the network that also brings you "Life on a Stick" can replicate it. " When Rob isn't making people feel bad for watching a show he has deemed below his personal standards, he wastes paragraphs on guessing possible plot scenarios where this music could serve as a background. Per his norm, this isn’t quality journalism, its edgy small talk at best. I know we are talking about an O.C. mix cd and it isn’t groundbreaking but could there be anything more predictable than Pitchfork yawning over its very existence?

Mitchum openly states he owns 7 of the 12 songs on this comp in his personal digital archives but apparently thinks little enough about his own taste that he gives this cd a rating of 5.3. Maybe he is taking his own not feeling so special comment to heart. Eh whatever. Indie rock is at an all time commercial high. Why? Well Rob at least got something spot on. Indie rock in its present state is for the most part very safe sounding pop music. It doesn’t make it bad; it simply makes it more accessible than ever. We hear it in television commercials now where Karen O can sleepily sing for Adidas as easily as the Elton John can sell us satellite radios. ( Thanks to bands like Superchunk, Velocity Girl, Spiritualized, and Polyphonic Spree for leading the way )

The truth is indie music is affordable. What I mean by this is yeah sure hipster rock may fit the characters on the O.C. but its also costs WAY less for a show, movie, or commercial to license a track by a band on Sub Pop or Ninja Tune or whatever indie label of the week. More often than not only the big budget productions can afford stars like Madonna or 50 Cent. You don’t even want to know how much it costs to use something like a classic Frank Sinatra song so enter the Concretes for Target or the Flaming Lips for Mitsubishi.

After pondering all this I got curious about who exactly picks the music for the O.C. and I found my answer on popmatters.com. Here you can find an interview with Alexander Patsavas who is the music supervisor for the O.C. and who came out of the 80’s specializing in, guess what….indie rock. ( AKA there is some viable credit there) http://www.popmatters.com/music/features/050114-indiesoundtracks.shtml and http://www.popmatters.com/music/interviews/ocmusic-050404.shtml

Pitchfork may thumb indie music exposure to the masses but as you might imagine, indie bands and labels see it a little differently. If more people get to hear this stuff maybe they will like it enough to buy it and in turn the labels, the bands, the indie community who work these bands to press and radio will actually be able to live like real human beings who don’t have to work three jobs to pay their bills. We happen to live in a country that doesn’t really like to sponsor the arts on smaller levels so these bands and those connected to them need to get creative in order to make a living off it. Maybe people have this glamorous idea of what it means to be in some underground band but 9 times out of 10 you show me an indie rocker and I will show you a dishwasher, a housepainter, and cold side cook. Sorry Rob Mitchum but if a cd like this allows the bands I love to pay their rent and afford health insurance then I am willing to put up with a 10th grader knowing the words to a Death Cab song.

Rob is right. I am not special. I am a music fan and there are lots of people just like me. If an artist happens to get popular I’m ok with that but Pitchfork on the other hand clearly isn’t.

I give Rob’s review a 2 out of a possible 5 Zog’s sex wax.