Why So Serious: Where's the Humor in Music Journalism?
Noisey isn't a music blog. I mean, we are, but we're not. We're not going to create a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign surrounding the announcement of a Grimes GIF residency. We're not going to bring you an in-depth exclusive with Thom Yorke on how brewing kombucha is a lot like writing concept albums. Our capslock album reviews are given ratings in terms of "dutch guts," for fuck's sake. We do things differently around here.
As Associate Editor of Noisey, I spend all day everyday hooked up to Noisey's Twitter @replies like a steady IV drip of pithy criticism and unsolicited artist spam. Sure, it's probably caused irreparable damage to my mental health, but it's the price I pay for guest list spots to shows and free Red Bulls from the VICE reception fridge (yes, Mom, I get health care too). I really don't care too much about the snark and the snarls—"Haters gonna hate" might as well have been a clause in my employment contract. But what's really confounding for me to see is the amount of people who, for lack of a better phrase, just don't "get it." These are the people who respond to Luke Winkie's undoubtedly absurd comparison of Ty Segall and Skrillex by proclaiming that there is "no hope for the future." These are the people whose gut reaction to a post about a nine-year-old rapper named "Lil Poopy" is "This shit is a disgrace to hip hop and the parents of this kid need to be choked." The people who continue to tirelessly threaten Ben Shapiro's life for an obviously-tongue-in-cheek takedown of fucking Phish. To these people, and the rest of the music writing community, I have one question: Why so serious?
Dumbest rock writing I've ever read, hands down. Can't even link to it. No hope for the future.— scharpling (@scharpling) February 14, 2013
There are hundreds of new music blogs cropping up every day, all of which believe that they're more clever, more intelligent, more discerning, more entertaining, more respectable than those that came before them. Standing out is all but impossible; you have to add a splash of color in the otherwise homogenized greyscale of music media. Some argue that our approach to music journalism is traffic-grabby. Although people don't want to talk about it, the truth is that music blogs are businesses, and in order to operate, yes, they need traffic. But when we tap Lil Poopy as our "Mixtape of the Month," it's not because we're thinking in terms of "building brand recognition" or that your clicks will translate into our raises; it's because we spent the last four hours losing our giggleshits over this ridiculous thing—COME ON, YOU GUYS, HIS TWITTER HANDLE IS @POOPYTHEDON—and we thought that maybe you might have a laugh at it too. Life is hard enough, we don't need to add thinkpiecing on the rap prowess of scatologically-pseudonymed tots or expounding on whether Ben's inability to appreciate jam band guitar solos is evidence that he spends his limited spare time blowing goats.
So what's the fear in lightening up music journalism? Are we afraid that by having fun with what we're doing, we're chipping away at the validity of an already-faltering industry? Are we still trying to prove to our parents—and ourselves—that we're real professionals doing important things with our lives, despite the fact that our meals are made in 90 seconds and our most celebrated writing is made in 140 characters? I'm not saying that music media should be nothing but bite-sized listicles and GIF galleries, but music is entertainment, intoxication; why insist that it be handled with sobriety? I'm going to continue to unabashedly enjoy myself working in an industry that I feel so lucky to be a part of, and for those of you who will assuredly belittle me, call me naïve, tell me that I'm what's wrong with the "Internet generation," I have one nauseatingly saccharine thing to say to you:
Sasha mostly uses her Twitter to avoid conversation in bar bathroom lines. Follow her - @sashahecht