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Chuck Klosterman Reviews Chinese Democracy

Apart from being one the most brilliant pieces of music writing I’ve read in a while, there’s something Klosterman wrote that really grabbed my attention. He writes:

For one thing, Chinese Democracy is (pretty much) the last Old Media album we’ll ever contemplate in this context—it’s the last album that will be marketed as a collection of autonomous-but-connected songs, the last album that will be absorbed as a static manifestation of who the band supposedly is, and the last album that will matter more as a physical object than as an Internet sound file. 

That’s another reason why there is a perceived notion that music criticism is no longer necessary. And it isn’t that there are no longer artists and bands that are making “albums” in that context, I’m sure artists like Radiohead are going to record maybe two more “albums”, but people simply don’t care for “albums.” Not that definition. Today’s music listeners probably don’t even know what it meant to make an album. That things like track order “meant” something and it was not a random choice. The only thing they may care about is if the songs are “playlistable”.

It’s not that Guns n Roses’ 15 year in the making Chinese Democracy is the last “album”, but it’s the last that people remember to care about. Apart from Klosterman, the other mainstream media personality I saw talking about Chinese Democracy was Stephen Colbert, and that can only mean one thing: they are old enough to remember a time when musicians made musical statements called albums.

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