Thursday, July 01, 2004

"Zen" and the art of reviewing

This Salon article about "Zen Arcade" pisses me off. I have no problem with people praising the Husker Du album, it is great. But this article is a little much. There's a lot of pointless noise and stretched out nonsense in the album. I'm sure it marks a particularly important moment in hardcore music, but 20 years later, it can be a little boring to listen to. It does have its classic moments (I'm not sure Husker Du wrote a better song than "Turn on the News"), but the reviewer should ease off on the hyperbole.
Also there's this:

This is the album Nirvana and Pearl Jam only wish they could have made: intelligent, clamorous, and hashing out more torment and passion in four sides than all the grungers and headbangers since -- all without a hint of heavy-metal pretension.

Why is it that everytime someone wants to praise something as a classic, they have to shoot down the latecomers? Nirvana made two great albums, both of which I think are better than "Zen Arcade." (I'm not going to defend Pearl Jam, let their fans do that.)
And then, what's this about "heavy metal pretension"? As if there is no pretension in a double album that goes on about spiritual seeking and includes a song called "Hare Krishna." Believe me, "Zen Arcade" has pretensions all its own.
Can somebody please write an appraisal of "Zen Arcade" that's realistic and doesn't take cheap shots at later bands or heavy metal? I would appreciate it.

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