Scott Alexander combats Pop with Pop. He fights zombies with his zeal and a high emotional IQ. What if commercial music sang the abject poverty of unsung composers? How is one supposed to eat with a bassoon in their mouth? Financially Heartbroken Musicians: You are How The Other Half Lives. Wanna talk? Try infiltrating a popular musical form and chord progression with the very intelligence it buries and must. Try selling Gandhi on a refrigerator magnet.
Scott Alexander grasps this.
Impressively, this record captures the essence of a soapbox rant while maintaining the gentleness of Soul. The words are honest. We miss the injury of polemic without sacrificing it’s vehemence. I know for a fact that Scott Alexander used to stand outside the Bedford L handing out free cookies. So yeah like a diatribe that tastes fucking great. It’s open to the Public and the Guggenheim’s gone corporate.
While noting the record’s allusions to the diseased production rate of Popular Song is inevitable and necessary upon listening here, I would say, for those of us who are versed in Music History, that tackling this record as a modernized recitative is more interesting, as well as forgiving.
This record demands you be smart. There are program notes. The pattern-like patterns are not really patterns and if you want them to be patterns and do not understand why they aren’t you might get upset. Analysis cuts deep and does not rhyme with verses. Songwriting is a messy bundle of organs and unthinkable thoughts. So in this sense, yes, Scott Alexander tells it like it is.