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Jess a Rascal

If you read one year-end recap this year, read this. Mister Harvell is on fire. This is what I'm missing from criticism these days: taking strong positions and defending'em. (I nearly spit soup all over my keyboard when I saw Coldplay in there.) Doesn't matter if I agree or not, which is something that purely numerical tabulations like Pazz and Jop sometimes obscure, where all the effort goes into seeing where your opinions fall within the pick-up-sticks jumble of likes and disses. The use of a ritual like the end-of-year wrapup, as Harvell proves, is in a summation that folds together advocacy, prediction, and polemic into a seamless whole. (And Jess, your style's kicking my ass right now: conversational but keenly analytic, open-to-doubt but totally assured at the same time. Maybe it's because I'm currently slogging through Benjamin Buchloch's collected essays and remembering how dry even the most inspired criticism can be, but big up yourself for putting together a novella-length piece that just gets more arresting as it goes along.) Might I add that it's with no small twinge of envy that I note Jess's range -- from m(x)crohouse (on which I disagree with Jess's assessment, btw, especially regarding Superlongevity 3 and Bis Neun, but that's another post) to mainstream pop to indie rock dancehall to grime (which I've almost stopped listening to, only because I can't seem to find the good stuff. What P2P server are you on, anyway, Jess?). I heard a slew of good music this year but I can't come anywhere near to the kind of macro perspective that Harvell pulls off. Masterful.

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