Pitchfork has landed in the crosshairs of the online magazine Slate, where the subtly named “Die, Pitchfork, Die!” ran today. As our readers know, we have issues with the site–but the piece, by Matthew Shaer (who interviewed your Idolators during the course of his research) amounts to little more than a cursory Google Blogsearch of anti-Pitchfork moaning. Take this bit on Marc Hogan’s blogger-baiting Cold War Kids review:
Hogan’s review was seen by many in the blogosphere as evidence of Pitchfork’s agenda not only to dominate the critical consensus over a record but to control the fate of the band itself. As an editor at the Music Slut wrote to me in an e-mail, “[Pitchfork] purposely wait[s] to review an album to see how the bloggers respond before they form their opinion.” In the case of the Cold War Kids, the editor explained, Pitchfork avoided competing with the blog buzz and managed to chime in just as the inevitable backlash had begun.
Not mentioned is that the Cold War Kids review was actually written after the album came out–release dates being something that bloggers, who love to splash around in the pool of pre-release hype, rarely take heed of. (But that’s a subject for a different time.) And as far as bloggers’ role in the “inevitable backlash,” perhaps their constant churn of “bands to watch” helps fuel the flame that Pitchfork, with its willingness to actually engage records critically, snuffs out by bestowing a sub-5.0 mark.
There’s a solid case to be made about Pitchfork, and its disproportionate influence in the world of indie music. But holding up some blogger-bashing and a three-year-old Dandy Warhols review as evidence that the ‘Forkers want to “poke holes in an established critical consensus”? To us, that sounds more than a little contrarian for its own sake.
Die, Pitchfork, Die! [Slate]