If This Isn't Indie's Epitaph, It Ought to Be

Boy, if this Pitchfork review isn't a sign Belle and Sebastian are heading in the right direction, I don't know what is:

Besides, Murdoch is surely trifling if he doesn't think sweeping, sophisticated pop has a place on the charts: Adele and Sam Smith are two singers who've carved their niche by singing right to your parents. A flippant comment to Pitchfork about how listeners would rather lose themselves in Nina Simone than Beyoncé shows not just a flagrant misunderstanding of how people listen to Beyoncé, but to the artists they love. He means well, but it faintly stinks of snobbery that's gotten other indie acts in trouble when they've tried to explain their theory of pop with, well, a lot of theory. Tom Krell of How to Dress Well raised hackles when he told Pitchfork he wanted to be "pop, but not populist." But what's wrong with trying to appeal to as many people as possible?

Getting a reviewer that mad is usually a sign of having gotten something right that the offended party would prefer not to admit. "What's wrong with trying to appeal to as many people as possible?" is such a remarkable abdication of coolness that it's shocking anyone would write it for a website that purports to hold certain standards. There's nothing wrong with trying to appeal to lots of people, after all, but it's orthogonal to quality. The Velvet Underground may have wanted to sell lots of albums, but they also wanted to write good music, and we have some historical evidence to suggest which they valued more. Believing there's nothing wrong with Beyonce but that Nina Simone is deeper on a number of levels seems not so much snobbish as an accurate reflection of reality. Calling it snobbery is a defense based around the absence of better arguments.

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