Blah blah Pitchfork pretentious blah blah blah. Say what you will about the ratings system, the overly referential journalism, the too-cool-for-school turns of phrase (like too-cool-for-school) – but Pitchfork was/is important. When I was living in my parents’ place after grad school – aimless, jobless, friendless – it clued me in on music that would have been introduced to me through more normalized social channels.
Regardless of how it’s changed, how I’ve changed or how music has changed, there was a perfect event horizon in the ’00s where Pitchfork was more than just relevant – it was crucial. This special post is nostalgic to a fault but also representative of the best pop culture online journalism – it is personal above all else. Pieces like this can strain under the navel-gazing weight until style becomes substance and there is nothing really to say. But when it works – when it is transcendent – it is connection in its purest & most unadulterated form.
No Age’s Nouns was an album I picked up – literally, a physical CD – on a whim in early 2008. I played it in the little red Yaris I was given in Toronto when I was working up there on a film. Nouns became a twin pillar of music in my life in the spring/summer, along with Deerhunter’s Fluorescent Grey EP. Toronto was a crucible of personal and professional growth, three months of messy, wonderful life that left me achieving, and then wanting, more than I thought possible. I can’t say it much better than Amanda Petrusich:
I don’t know exactly when I heard Nouns, No Age’s full-length debut, for the very first time, but I remember how it incited a mushy, knee-buckling feeling– that awful/ecstatic nausea that accompanies falling rapidly and stupidly in love with something. I remember being spooked by that. I remember feeling like it was important, somehow, for Nouns to like me back. The record felt aspirational– it articulated, quickly and spectacularly, what I’d always hoped my life would sound like (reckless, inscrutable, loud, rapturous, weird). I was 27 when I finally heard those dreams reflected back at me.
I was 29 in 2008 but other than that detail, that time in my life and my reaction to Nouns is exactly the same as Petrusich’s. Though I like Things I Did When I Was Dead slightly better.