I first heard about Pitchfork.com
from my friend Daniel back in 2005. My musical tastes had begun to expand in 2002 when my brother Kyle compelled me to listen to Radiohead's "Amenesiac" and Beck's "Sea Change." By 2005, a large part of my identity came from the music I listed to and, more importantly, the fact that not a lot of other people listened to the same music. Thus, Pitchfork was the perfect website for someone like me who used music to feel cooler than other people. It told me what to listen to. It told me what was cool. And the music it recommended was not what everyone else was listening to.
I still read Pitchfork on a daily basis, but these days it makes me tired. I'm disenchanted with the idea of using music, or books, or clothes to be cool - because you aren't really cool unless you are cooler than someone else, are you? I struggle with the pride that I see at the core of a lot of self-expression. I don't know if I feel that way because I'm growing older and more mature. Or maybe I feel that way because I'm growing older and more out of touch; maybe it's a self-serving perspective for someone out of touch to discount as immature and vain those who live on the pulse of popular culture. Either way, I'm growing tired of the effort it takes to be cool, and Pitchfork reminds me of my fatigue.
I say all this because this afternoon I read an insightful, yet extremely long, article on the history of Pitchfork.com. Buried within the article is a subtle, and at times not-so-subtle, critique of a website that prides itself, though not openly, on establishing "cultural capital" - aka what is/isn't cool. Richard Beck writes, "Pitchfork and indie rock are currently run by people who behave as though the endless effort to perfect the habits of cultural consumption is the whole experience of life." Maybe I'm old and mature, or maybe I'm just not cool anymore, but "perfecting [my] habits of cultural consumption" just doesn't seem worth it anymore. I'm tired of being what I should be, when it comes to culture/art/fashion. I am what I am.
Read the article "Pitchfork, 1995-Present" here