Marika Malaea

faithful marauder + fake royal

Imaginary Critic

with 8 comments

Chris Burlingame – music writer/reviewer extraordinaire – had a birthday yesterday.  So let’s throw him in the fire with a special post-birthday interview ambush! Interviewers are rarely the interviewee, and he’s a pretty interesting cat. I also want to promote his now 31-year old arse (an arse that is single, by the way) – hey, it always pays to network.

Chris is a poptimist. It sounds like a gay, made-up word because it is a made-up word, though I don’t know its sexual orientation; so many of these hybrid words go both ways. I don’t know the exact definition of a poptimist, but I do know Chris would approve of what I’m listening to right now (Britney!), and what I’ll be listening to later (Vampire Weekend! Goldfrapp! Phoenix! Lily!). It’s hard to find men who appreciate pop music as thoroughly as Chris does; he’s downright reasonable – persuasive, even. His arguments for the genre are always thoughtful and convincing, though he hasn’t converted me to Taylor Swift (yet). I mean, she’s as cute as a button – a perfect, shiny, alabaster button that has a picture of a newborn baby lamb embracing a newborn baby squirrel on it – and she seems very genuine, but I remain unconvinced. I’m sure she cries rainbow-colored tears and smells like pink cotton candy, I just never vibed with her music.

And yet. AND YET. There I was, just last night, listening to the Taylor Swift song he put on his Top 10 Year-End list – with the volume turned wayyyy down, and an extra tab opened in the browser (something to cover up the evidence quickly) – because I figured it couldn’t totally suck if Chris had recommended it. We have similar tastes in music and I trust him enough to try out what he’s listening to. Taylor Swift’s song, to my serious dismay, was catchy and cute like I thought it would be –  an adorable story sung with “spunk” and “feeling.” It wasn’t the kind of country music I normally get behind (old school – the older, the better) – but it wasn’t the water-boarding I’d imagined, either. I actually thought, while listening to the song, ‘What if I perish right now? What if I just keel over and die, with no explanation? My body will be found next to my PC, which will have a Taylor Swift video displayed on the monitor. What if people think it was a favorite song of mine, and out of respect for the last few moments of my life, they play that song at my funeral?’ I was also thinking about tacos, though that was unrelated.

Chris: you can answer these questions on your blog, through email, or in the comment section. I’ll add them faster than you can say ‘Ben Gibbard stole my girlfriend.’

Questions for an Imaginary critic:

Who should have played your birthday party? Opening band + Headliner, dead or alive.

A: I really can’t decide whether I would want Sleater-Kinney to open for either The Ramones or The Clash, so today I’m going to say that I would love to see Outkast open for Run DMC.

Share a few Seattle bands or artists that people should know more about but don’t.

A: I really, really love Tea Cozies and Lushy, who are two pop bands with really great hooks and very catchy songs. Although they’re a little more known, I think Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground is the very best band in Seattle.

Please choose one overrated artist or band and one underrated artist or band.

A: People like to say “I saw [x] at a tiny club before they got big”, but I saw Kings of Leon at the Graceland and thought they were an average band then and they’re even more mediocre now, despite being one of the biggest bands in the world.

Conversely, I hope that people soon discover how fantastic The Joy Formidable is. They’re a really exciting band from Wales who have some of the most joyful songs you could hear. Granted, it might help that their debut album won’t be available in the US for a few more months.

Ben Gibbard approaches you on the street. He says, ‘Chris, I’m so glad we ran into each other! I hate the sound of my own voice and my music is boring. I want a new sound – what direction should I go in?’ What do you suggest to Seattle’s indie poster boy? Metal, alt-country, new wave…the options are endless.

A: Is retirement an option? I’m sure you know this, but I dislike Death Cab for Cutie in general and Ben Gibbard in particular, mostly because I feel like he reinforces the indie snobbery that I loathe (by ironically covering Avril Lavigne songs, by showing up to the Grammy awards to protest the use of auto-tune).

Actually, in a lot of ways, I really liked the Postal Service record and someone who had a number one album hardly needs my advice, but I would say that now that he’s married Zooey Deschanel, drop the “aww shucks, I’m the awkward, shy guy pining for the pretty girl” shtick. No one buys it anymore, dude.

Dude also got rid of those awful sideburns, right?

Neko Case, Britney Spears, Lily Allen, Miranda Lambert, and Poe bring their shows to Seattle. What venues would you assign each artist + why?

A: Can I assume that regardless of where they play, I would have no trouble procuring tickets to said events? [Yes!]

a. Neko Case – she played at the Paramount last time and that seems like a good fit: they have a good sound system usually and it’s the biggest venue for her growing fan base and even larger voice.

b. Britney Spears – Key Arena. It’s a good venue for big shows (did anyone see Pink there last September? Holy shit) and it’s walking distance from both my current apartment and the one I’m moving to soon.

c. Lily Allen – she sold out Showbox Sodo pretty quickly last time, so I think an upgrade like the Moore or Paramount would be good for her. Selfishly, I missed seeing her at the Crocodile years ago to go to one of my dearest friend’s birthday party, so I’d love to get the chance to see her there again.

d. Miranda Lambert – this one is tricky because last time she played in Seattle she was opening for Kenny Chesney at Qwest Field (and that was before I knew how amazing her album Revolution was), plus she seems to sell fewer records than Taylor Swift (who doesn’t?) and Carrie Underwood. I’d love to see her at the Showbox at the Market.

e. Poe – she’s fallen off of everyone’s radar, hasn’t she? Or just mine? The Croc would be a good place for her, I think. Or Tractor.

Is there a concert where you had low expectations but were pleasantly surprised? (Mine was the Ragin’ Cajun, no joke.)

A: I really try to avoid shows that I’m not already into it, but one that comes to mind is seeing Cat Power at the second Sasquatch festival. I really love her albums and think she’s got the sexiest voice ever (strangely, or not, Jennifer Tilly is second on that list) but she was always an underwhelming live performer when I’ve seen her and she closed her set that afternoon at the Gorge by lipsynching and dancing to a song by the preteen local pop band Smoosh. That really blew me away.

Also this past summer, I saw The Flaming Lips at Marymoor Park and loved that, although I didn’t think I cared enough to bother buying tickets and instead won them through a contest on Twitter.

Which pop star would you pick to sing our National Anthem in the upcoming 2010 Olympics? I cannot stress the importance of not saying ‘U2,’ even though they’re a band and not one pop star. Technicalities don’t matter when you’re Bono.

A: Kelly Clarkson probably has my favorite voice for a pop star but wouldn’t you just love to see what Lady Gaga does with the national anthem?

Your friend had a kid in the year 2000, and now it’s 2020. What bands/artists are essential for him to explore that he missed out on for the first ten years of his life?

Oh god. Sleater-Kinney is my very favorite band ever and I’d really hope everyone gets the chance to discover them.

Outkast is another act that while history won’t forget, someone who was a child during their most creative years might not realize how amazing their music is.

What are favorite interviews/articles of yours? Links!

A: Oh mother of god. Fine, I’ll play ball. I’m especially proud of this one, this one, and this one.

If you had to go on tour with an artist, following them a la Almost Famous, who would it be? Individual or group, dead or alive.

I would love the chance to follow someone like Kanye West around. I think he’s insanely talented and really uses his clout as a superstar to lend his voice to other promising artists like Kid Sister and Estelle but all that we really know about him is that he’s got this enormous ego. I’d love to have the chance to write his story.

What genre of music are you a complete ignoramus?

A: There was a quote that made it’s way around Twitter this weekend about how people who are jazz fans shouldn’t say “you should start listening to jazz” but should say “you should start with [this album]”. I wouldn’t know where to start when it comes to jazz.

Which music writers should people know about, besides yourself? (I like Mark Binelli).

A: There are a ton and I’m not going to be able to include everyone that I think people should read (and they should read them long before they take a gander at anything I write). Still, I’d highly suggest everyone read Tom Ewing, Maura Johnston, David Moore (who has made the very best, and sincere, case for Ashlee Simpson as a serious artist), Christopher R. Weingarten, and Scott Tennent.

Happy post-birthday! I like interviewing people without them knowing it. I might have to do this more often. A big thanks to Chris for indulging me!

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Written by sn0tteh

January 24, 2010 at 8:52 PM

8 Responses

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  1. An ambush interview, huh? Is this like a local news reporter shoving a camera in my face and asking me what I think of the latest moral outrage? (Really? My adult neighbors are having sex in own homes at the same time other people’s children are getting home from school?)

    For someone named Snotty, you sure wrote some awfully nice things about me and I’d be happy to answer your questions. I had just gotten home and was thinking I had run out of ideas as to how to put off writing for another night.

    I. I really can’t decide whether I would want Sleater-Kinney to open for either The Ramones or The Clash, so today I’m going to say that I would love to see Outkast open for Run DMC.

    II. I really, really love Tea Cozies and Lushy, who are two pop bands with really great hooks and very catchy songs. Although they’re a little more known, I think Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground is the very best band in Seattle.

    III. People like to say “I saw [x] at a tiny club before they got big”, but I saw Kings of Leon at the Graceland and thought they were an average band then and they’re even more mediocre now, despite being one of the biggest bands in the world.

    Conversely, I hope that people soon discover how fantastic The Joy Formidable is. They’re a really exciting band from Wales who have some of the most joyful songs you could hear. Granted, it might help that their debut album won’t be available in the US for a few more months.

    IV. Is retirement an option? I’m sure you know this, but I dislike Death Cab for Cutie in general and Ben Gibbard in particular, mostly because I feel like he reinforces the indie snobbery that I loathe (by ironically covering Avril Lavigne songs, by showing up to the Grammy awards to protest the use of auto-tune).

    Actually, in a lot of ways, I really liked the Postal Service record and someone who had a number one album hardly needs my advice, but I would say that now that he’s married Zooey Deschanel, drop the “aww shucks, I’m the awkward, shy guy pining for the pretty girl” shtick. No one buys it anymore, dude.

    Dude also got rid of those awful sideburns, right?

    V. Can I assume that regardless of where they play, I would have no trouble procuring tickets to said events?

    a. Neko Case – she played at the Paramount last time and that seems like a good fit: they have a good sound system usually and it’s the biggest venue for her growing fan base and even larger voice.

    b. Britney Spears – Key Arena. It’s a good venue for big shows (did anyone see Pink there last September? Holy shit) and it’s walking distance from both my current apartment and the one I’m moving to soon.

    c. Lily Allen – she sold out Showbox Sodo pretty quickly last time, so I think an upgrade like the Moore or Paramount would be good for her. Selfishly, I missed seeing her at the Crocodile years ago to go to one of my dearest friend’s birthday party, so I’d love to get the chance to see her there again.

    d. Miranda Lambert – this one is tricky because last time she played in Seattle she was opening for Kenny Chesney at Qwest Field (and that was before I knew how amazing her album Revolution was), plus she seems to sell fewer records than Taylor Swift (who doesn’t?) and Carrie Underwood. I’d love to see her at the Showbox at the Market.

    e. Poe – she’s fallen off of everyone’s radar, hasn’t she? Or just mine? The Croc would be a good place for her, I think. Or Tractor.

    VI. I really try to avoid shows that I’m not already into it, but one that comes to mind is seeing Cat Power at the second Sasquatch festival. I really love her albums and think she’s got the sexiest voice ever (strangely, or not, Jennifer Tilly is second on that list) but she was always an underwhelming live performer when I’ve seen her and she closed her set that afternoon at the Gorge by lipsynching and dancing to a song by the preteen local pop band Smoosh. That really blew me away.

    Also this past summer, I saw The Flaming Lips at Marymoor Park and loved that, although I didn’t think I cared enough to bother buying tickets and instead won them through a contest on Twitter.

    VII. Kelly Clarkson probably has my favorite voice for a pop star but wouldn’t you just love to see what Lady Gaga does with the national anthem?

    VIII. Oh god. Sleater-Kinney is my very favorite band ever and I’d really hope everyone gets the chance to discover them.

    Outkast is another act that while history won’t forget, someone who was a child during their most creative years might not realize how amazing their music is.

    IX. Oh mother of god. Fine, I’ll play ball. I’m especially proud of this one, this one, and this one.

    X. I would love the chance to follow someone like Kanye West around. I think he’s insanely talented and really uses his clout as a superstar to lend his voice to other promising artists like Kid Sister and Estelle but all that we really know about him is that he’s got this enormous ego. I’d love to have the chance to write his story.

    XI. There was a quote that made it’s way around Twitter this weekend about how people who are jazz fans shouldn’t say “you should start listening to jazz” but should say “you should start with [this album]”. I wouldn’t know where to start when it comes to jazz.

    XII. There are a ton and I’m not going to be able to include everyone that I think people should read (and they should read them long before they take a gander at anything I write). Still, I’d highly suggest everyone read Tom Ewing, Maura Johnston, David Moore (who has made the very best, and sincere, case for Ashlee Simpson as a serious artist), Christopher R. Weingarten and Scott Tennent.

    As far as ambush interviews go, this was a quite pleasant experience – and we all know how bad ambush interviews can go.

    Chris

    January 24, 2010 at 10:46 PM

  2. Thanks, Chris, for being a sport. 🙂 I hope your birthday was superfantastico! [not a real word]

    sn0tteh

    January 24, 2010 at 11:09 PM

  3. Rad idea. Rad interviewer. Rad interviewee. I love this, M! 🙂

    Amie

    January 25, 2010 at 2:02 PM

  4. Thanks, Amie! I just didn’t want to be crucified by *real* interviewers, as this is just a lark. It helps having an interesting subject!

    sn0tteh

    January 25, 2010 at 2:11 PM

  5. That was a fun interview to read, and I’m not even that into music in general. Though I will admit, I do have a thing for that particular Taylor Swift song. And your description of her is spot on!

    Beth

    January 25, 2010 at 8:09 PM

  6. Thanks, Beth – I could have written a description that was pages long, but alas. 🙂

    sn0tteh

    January 25, 2010 at 8:33 PM

  7. POE!! wish i would have saw her live. i have her album and she’s always a favorite of mine. if neko case plays in seattle, i somehow have to see her.

    mafiamama

    January 26, 2010 at 10:51 AM

  8. I liked Poe but for weird reasons. Neko Case was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen!

    sn0tteh

    January 26, 2010 at 2:08 PM


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