Now that all but the slowest-reading music bloggers have finished Sasha Frere-Jones's column in this week's New Yorker, the responses are flooding in. In "A Paler Shade of White," Frere-Jones mourns the decline of cultural exchange in pop music and faults social progress and the Internet for making Arcade Fire's albums so joyless and undanceable. As you can probably imagine, this has drawn the ire of a few indie-rock fans (the ones who've managed to get through piece's 3,500 words, anyway), and they're sounding off.
The Village Voice's Rob Harvilla and Tom Breihan debate the piece on Status Ain't Hood. Breihan agrees with the article; Harvilla wants to know how we'd feel about "a New Yorker article suggesting T.I. learn to play harp and sing songs about monkeys frolicking with bears?" (Great, actually.)
Mashit.com makes a salient point: "OH EM GEE SASHA FRERE-JONES HAS SINGLEHANDEDLY DISCOVERED THE PHENOMENON OF REVERSE RACISM WHAT A MINDBLOWING REVELATION TO COME FROM A LOUSY POP CRITIC SOMEBODY PLZ AWARD HIM AN HONORARY Ph.D. STAT!"
Clapclap.org points out that many white bands do consciously draw their inspiration from black music, and those bands are jam bands. And they're awful.
Pretty Goes With Pretty takes issue with the way Frere-Jones defines "indie rock."
Simon Reynolds cites Frere-Jones's piece as just another example of everybody being bearish about rock music in 2007.
Also, it's inspired the longest I Love Music thread in history.
Idolator is trying to quantify Frere-Jones's theory by scoring this year's crop of CMJ bands on their blackness. We wonder how Black Kids will do!
Frere-Jones responds himself here, with examples of miscegenated music (and also says that when he called Michael Jackson and Hall and Oates "equally gifted," it was not a typo), and here to say that Amy Winehouse, Spoon, and LCD Soundsystem are three more artists not as white as Arcade Fire.
A Paler Shade of White [NYer]