Music and The Man Matt 12 Apr 2005

62 comments Latest by Joe

President Bush’s iPod, dubbed iPod One, contains no black artists, no gay artists, no world music, only one woman, no genre less than 25 years old, and no Beatles. The article also mentions that many view one’s music collection as a “mirror to the soul.”

Meanwhile, Adam Shore, General Manager of Vice Records, has some saucy comments on the current state of indie rock:

“I feel like there has been created, in the past two to three years, an indie-yuppie establishment. Bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Iron and Wine, the Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, they are great bands, really great bands, with great albums, great songs, high quality. And to me, it’s just so fucking boring. It’s like fancy-coffee-drinking, Volvo-riding music for kids. And kids should be listening to music that shakes them up more, makes them uncomfortable.”

62 comments so far (Jump to latest)

kingbenny 12 Apr 05

I really fail to understand the appeal of listening to music that makes me uncomfortable. 90% of the time, comfort is a Good Thing.

Jamie 12 Apr 05

I agree with Adam Shore’s comments. But the same goes for bands on Vice’s label. What shit have they put out that really shakes things up? Nothing in my opinion. They’re fronting a certain attitude with their magazine. The music they put out is good and OK stuff, but ultimately still very safe IMHO.

dvn 12 Apr 05

regarding iPod One, I don’t know half the words of the music I listen to, I don’t necessarily know what color the artist is, much less anything about their proclivities, and I actively don’t care. I doubt dubya cares either, and I’m glad he doesn’t.

Ken 12 Apr 05

Only one of the bands Mr. Shore mentions is even close to being great, and it’s too early in their career to predict if they’ll ever realize such a superlative

Oh, and Vice sucks.

Adam Michela 12 Apr 05

Who cares…

Justin Perkins 12 Apr 05

Man and I thought W was a big Reggae fan. You know he’s rockin’ the Dancehall, he just had to keep the list proper for his conservative cronnies.

Adam Shore’s comments seem very on point, but I don’t exactly trust the words of a GM are their own.

Dan Boland 12 Apr 05

President Bush’s iPod, dubbed iPod One, contains no black artists, no gay artists, no world music, only one woman, no genre less than 25 years old, and no Beatles. The article also mentions that many view one’s music collection as a “mirror to the soul.”

So what? This article is a perfect example of how both sides of the political spectrum have no problem at all spinning the hell out of everything. Out of the thousands of songs on my iPod, there are very few black artists (if any, I’d have to check) and no gay artists (that I’m aware of). Does that make me a racist and a homophobe? That’s more or less what Caitlin Moran implies by writing it, and what CNN’s Peter Wilkinson implies by citing it.

I’m not a Republican and I didn’t vote for Bush in ‘04 (which is sad that I have to say that at all, otherwise you run the risk of getting flamed), but I hate articles that turn nothing into something.

Jake 12 Apr 05

@ Adam: Right on man…

Keith 12 Apr 05

Mr. Shore sounds a bit bitter to me. I mean, what the hell is Bloc Party if not exactly what he talks about? I like ‘em, but they don’t “shake” anything up. Umm, and the Stills are in the same boat although I think they’ll last the test of time better that Bloc Party.

Now, I’ve got nothing against Vice, they’ve got great acts. The Streets, Panthers and Death From Above 1979 all shake things up and are all awesome bands with unique sound but his comments just seem a bit hollow when you’ve got bands on your own label that fit the “boring yuppie indie” sounds you are cryin’ about.

JackRuby 12 Apr 05

bad choice of words perhaps…

I like to think he meant

“kids should be listening to music that shakes them up more, makes them feel a strong emotional response.”

I always thought that was what art was supposed to do.

I also think the indie scene has been safe and yuppified a lot longer than 3 years.

Here’s a tip: stop signing bands that worship at the altar of Gang of Four, Wire, and Joy Division. I love those bands….but enough.

IDVFBB (I didn’t vote for bush but) I think analyzing him via his ipod contents is silly. The contents don’t say anything about how he feels about gays and minorities….it just says “hey, I’m an average, boring, middle-aged white guy”.

Although, you’ve got to love the lead break in My Sharona…rock gold.

Dan Boland 12 Apr 05

I also think the indie scene has been safe and yuppified a lot longer than 3 years.

Me too, that’s why rock as a broad genre is in such dire straits these days. It’s like a baseball team… if there’s nothing in the farm system, what will the major league team look like?

PS - It’s also sad that there had to be an acronym created for that (referring to IDVFBB).

Jamie 12 Apr 05

JackRuby, it is a sad state of affairs when EVERYTHING “indie” sounds like Gang of Four, Joy Division, and Wire. I would even through a little Buzzcocks in there for good measure. This will end soon enough … give it a couple more years … as bands start sounding like Dinosaur Jr. or Pavement.

Josh Rothman 12 Apr 05

Yeah, both parts of the post point to some serious silliness. Bush’s iPod is not interesting—he’s an old geezer practically, I’m not expecting Dizzee Rascal on there. And Vice magazine, obviously, is not in a position to point me towards music that ‘shakes things up.’

There is an indie-yuppie establishment, but people need to understand that things like ‘indie yuppie establishments’ have nothing to do with music—they’re constructed by people like the folks at Vice. All of those bands are made up of talented musicians trying to make good music who couldn’t give a shit about whether or not their fans are ‘yuppie’ or not. Lame trend-spotting fashionistas like the guys at Vice have it all backwards.

Jamie 12 Apr 05

Sorry … typo. Meant to say “throw” instead of “through”…

Will 12 Apr 05

Mr. Shore is probably just upset that nobody likes the artists on his label.

I’d rather listen to music I like than listen to music that’s supposed to be MORE alternative and MORE punk and MORE anything to “help” me be a rebellious youth. Vice needs to worry more about cultivating great bands than marketing mediocre ones as “uncomfortable.”

I can’t possibly imagine “uncomfortable” being the sort of adjective one would use to market anything other than bondage gear…

Miriam 12 Apr 05

That’s a fake!! A Democratic dirty-trick! I’ve *personally* seen him joggercizing while singing “Lady Marmelade” at the top of his lungs. Also, did you know he can sing Rodolpho’s entire part? He’s a fave for after-parties at the Met.

Come on, what did you expect?
-M.

A more sincere PS: I *heart* Basecamp, thank you!!

Sandor 12 Apr 05

And kids should be listening to music that shakes them up more, makes them uncomfortable

Drives me nuts when people make declarative statements about what other people should do. If Adam Shore wants to hear more music out there that shakes him up, that’s great, and he should say that. But he doesn’t need to disparage people whose tastes differ from his. Cripes.

evan 12 Apr 05

“President Bush’s iPod, dubbed iPod One, contains no black artists, no gay artists, no world music, only one woman, no genre less than 25 years old, and no Beatles. The article also mentions that many view one’s music collection as a “mirror to the soul.”

two things come to mind…

1. he’s from texas, so why does his tracklist not surprise you?
2. what’s the big deal?

evan 12 Apr 05

edit, and i didn’t mean to stereotype texans, but for his generation, i’m sure that’s the type of tunes he grew up with.

Nicholas 12 Apr 05

I think the media was having a slow news day. Who seriously cares what Bush listens too? It’s really nothing different than what other boomers listen to.

Bush, who quit drinking after his 40th birthday, also listens to recovering alcoholic George Jones, a country singer who sings about heartbreak and drinking.

Seems like he wrote one paragraph and was done, so he need to stretch things out.

David 12 Apr 05

Considering the Beatles aren’t available on iTunes, it doesn’t come as much of a shocker.

Sam 12 Apr 05

Ooh my little pretty one, pretty one.
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona?
Ooh you make my motor run, my motor run.
Gun it comin’ off the line Sharona
Never gonna stop, give it up.
Such a dirty mind. Always get it up for the touch
of the younger kind.

Horrible — How can the leader of the free world listen to this pornographic noise.

Chad 12 Apr 05

No Christian music? No bible audiobook? Huh.

Tom Wrona 12 Apr 05

“And kids should be listening to music that shakes them up more, makes them uncomfortable.”

Right on man. If I had a kid and I discovered his iPod was filled with pussy music like, say, Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess, Satie’s Gymonopedie No. 2, Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite Santana’s Samba Pa Ti, Ellington’s Mood Indigo Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay, or Miles Davis’ rendition of Human Nature I’d KICK HIS ASS and make him listen to thrash metal 24/7.

Keeerist, what a moron this Adam Shore is.

Ant 12 Apr 05

You know, it doesn’t seem like Mr. Bush put much thought into his playlist - it’s pretty safe, predictable, like he spouted off a quick “top 5” list for his lackey (sorry, personal aide) to download. I know some of my playlists start off sounding rather homogenous when I create them on autopilot. Then I think uh, this is kinda boring. So I take a few minutes to scan through my library until I create something more worthwhile.

Anonymous Coward 12 Apr 05

Amen about the indie scene. Working in college radio, I have watched the music industry co-op the indie scene to make it a profitable business. It’s undercut the real indie scene by creating an “indie” genre. Sure, Top 40 radio won’t be playing them, but all of the mp3-blogs, streaming radio stations and indie kids will be. Cha-ching.

indi 12 Apr 05

Hey I think the coolest thing about all this is that the President has an iPod and yet that’s not even the point of the article.

As for selection, this is what the president listens to while exercising. His aid downloads the music for him. Music as the mirror of the soul? Maybe if you looked at the totality of a personal musical spectrum, but this is like just the orange portion. What does he listen to in blue, green or red times?

pho 12 Apr 05

vice shake-up music: Run the Road

Ben 12 Apr 05

I agree that there are a lot of indie-type bands getting a lot of attention these days, but I’m pretty damn happy about that. Good music isn’t good because it’s obscure. I think the Internet (through blogs, online radio, podcasting, etc) has been a major contributor in getting the word out about formerly obscure bands, but that’s a method of information distribution that I’ll take any day of hardline advertising/marketing. Is it really surprising that people are into this “indie” stuff when the alternative is top 40 radio?

PS - Yes there is way too much post-punk type stuff going on right now, but while it might not be completely original, some of it is pretty good.

kingbenny 12 Apr 05

Yeah I totally agree about hating describing an iPod playlist as a mirror to the soul … if so I’m in trouble. My soul is limited by the 4GB of music my mini can hold and the selection iTunes sells.

jason 12 Apr 05

i cant help but agree with the state of “indie” rock. whiney, sad bastard music to have a good cry with woman over. has “the establishment” become heartbreak and disappointment? has “revolution” become breaking away from male stereotypes and tearing up over some pictures in my ineptly named glove box?

or should rock even be about revolution and antidisestablishmentarianism? maybe it should be slow and thoughtful and hormonal..

Bob 12 Apr 05

It also says he doesn’t put the songs on it himself.

And even if he did, you are not your iPod—are you? I hope not.

Dr. Sushi 12 Apr 05

people need to bitch less about music and more about poverty, war, and corruption.

A president can listen to anything he wants if he’s doing a good job and serving his country well… W. clearly isn’t.

eric g 12 Apr 05

What’s on YOUR ipod, Dr. Sushi? And how is your job coming along — perhaps if your last job review didn’t go as well, we should revoke your iPod playlist?

Just another reason why I think blogs are a waste of hard drive space.

Sean 12 Apr 05

What we don’t realize is that W also has an iPod mini chockful of Jandek.

Bill 12 Apr 05

Is this really appropriate for a business blog? Do you not want money from people who like GWB, but would prefer to leave politics outside their business relations? This is a really disappointing entry.

jason 12 Apr 05

good call, bill. but what percentage of svn readers are prospective clients? and is 37s even taking on new business, other than new subscribers like all of us here to their addictive-chemical-in-the-chicken basecamp product? they make you crave it fortnightly! smartass!

Ivo 13 Apr 05

Whatever one listens to, it should be varied and not just one style. So Iron & Wine and Death Cab For Cutie are perfectly good choices, and especially Iron & Wine are awesome but, and this is a big but, one should be open to other influences. So mix in some Mastodon, Slayer or other more intense music. And vice versa. But then again, who’s to say what’s good for anybody else. If you like your fare bland and monochrome, go ahead, be happy. So in the end it is a somewhat nonsensical discussion.
Having said that I have to say that I do believe that your taste in music does reflect on your character. But then again, not all that much.

Mat 13 Apr 05

Try Cocorosie on for size. You will love it or hate it, there’s not much middle ground. I love it, I don’t care if you hate it.

Well great - now I’ve heard of them, they can’t be Indie anymore! Damn.

AK 13 Apr 05

Following CNN’s Peter Wilkinson line of thinking…

Are you considered a patriot only if you have your national anthem on your iPod?

Dan Boland 13 Apr 05

Bill: Read the tagline at the top of this (and every other) page. Content isn’t restricted to business.

Darrel 13 Apr 05

I doubt dubya cares either, and I’m glad he doesn’t.

Doesn’t that just sum up the problem with America right now? ;o)

Just another reason why I think blogs are a waste of hard drive space.

Blogs suck so much that I’m going to take time out of my day to read blogs so I can comment on how much blogs suck!

Do you not want money from people who like GWB

If a person is going to base their business logic an whether or not they share the same odd fanaticism for their political hero is likely not the best client to have to begin with.

Joe 13 Apr 05

I couldn’t find Bush’s complete playlist anywhere. The most I found was the NYTimes’ list of 12 songs, plus unspecified number of songs from Alan Jackson and George Jones.

Caitlin Moran’s comment, cited without attribution, quite probably is based on less than 1% of Bush’s iPod. Who know what else is on there (who cares is another question). This seems like a deeply unfair conclusion, based on incomplete data.

Furthermore, is anyone’s musical taste really dictated by ethno-demographic breakdown? “I need some new music, hmmm, I’m sorely lacking in Lesbian African-American techno.”

Switch 13 Apr 05

The iPod One article looks fake, fake, fake. How is it nobody mentioned that, or is it so obvious, that I am stating the obvious?

Jason 13 Apr 05

contains no black artists, no gay artists, no world music, only one woman, no genre less than 25 years old, and no Beatles.

That describes the music collection of the average 18-25 year old man.

Darrel 13 Apr 05

“Furthermore, is anyone’s musical taste really dictated by ethno-demographic breakdown?”

I think there might be a loose connection…if maybe not in terms of ethno-awareness, but just ‘worldness’ in general.

“That describes the music collection of the average 18-25 year old man.”

That’s kind of scary.

pho 13 Apr 05

Is the “average 18-25 year old man” a white guy?

indi 13 Apr 05

switch: here is another article about the prez’s iPod. Seems real enough.

Regarding what is appropriate for discussion on this blog, I’ve been dropping in here for quite a while and the discussions have been all over the place. It’s what keeps me coming back.

DW 13 Apr 05

Vice Records is just plainly upset that the too-cool underground bands on their label don’t have the mass appeal of the aforementioned bands. Vice, as an organization, is one to criticize any sub-culture when they are happily exploiting the “I am so cool because I am in the know” urban hipsters—arguably yuppies in their own right! And who wants to listen to music that makes them “uncomfortable”?

Drew 13 Apr 05

“President Bush’s iPod, dubbed iPod One, contains no black artists, no gay artists, no world music, only one woman, no genre less than 25 years old, and no Beatles. The article also mentions that many view one’s music collection as a “mirror to the soul.”

Yep, he’s white, straight, American, male, 50ish and doesn’t listen to the Beatles.
But we already knew that …

VICE are a bunch of self-masturbatory *wink wink* hipsters - the people who are too cool to admit ever having fun doing anything other than making fun of people having fun.

seth 13 Apr 05

Damn I almost have no white artists on my iPod. Does that make me a black panther?

I should send ol’ president@whitehouse.gov an invite to my FTP server. He could use some M.I.A. or Public Enemy don’t you think?

Chris 13 Apr 05

No Seth, it just makes you annoying.

Darrel 13 Apr 05

“No Seth, it just makes you annoying.”

What has white america added to the musical lexicon? Pop-40 country? New age? The ‘new’ Michael Jackson? blech. ;o)

Tom M. 13 Apr 05

In regards to Adam Shore’s comments: *yawn*… And furthermore, *yawn*. Listen to what you want to listen to, and realize that not everyone has the same taste as you, and deal with it. Ranting about the “state” of “indie” music, or “pop” music for that matter, is played out. Turn someone on to the music that you feel strongly about, but if they say it sucks, so be it. “Music snobbery” is boorish behavior. My iPod ranges from old Waylon Jennings to Curtis Mayfield, to Fantomas and MIRV, even total crap like Humble Pie (wow, I’m such a name-dropper). I love and hate all of it, depending on the day. My humble opinion is that a varied, even schizophrenic playlist is the way to go. Don’t agree? Good. That’s your right, as a human being capable of forming your own opinion.

Sorry for the long-windedness, but anytime someone puts out that music-snob vibe, it really drives me up the wall.

seth 13 Apr 05

Chris 13 Apr 05
No Seth, it just makes you annoying.

Or it could just make me *gasp* not white! You know minorities do use computers these days.

h 14 Apr 05

In regards to Adam Shore’s comments: *yawn*… And furthermore, *yawn*. Listen to what you want to listen to, and realize that not everyone has the same taste as you, and deal with it. Ranting about the “state” of “indie” music, or “pop” music for that matter, is played out.

righ on.

Matt 15 Apr 05

Hating indie rock is the new indie rock.

How has “the music industry” co-opted indie rock?? Most people in indie bands/indie labels are struggling to make a very minimal living making and promoting music that they really care about. Whining about how “yuppies” listen to indie rock is all well and good, but those yuppies are putting their, uh, DIRTY YUPPIE MONEY (DOWN WITH YUPPIES MAAAAAN) into the hands of people who really really care about music. Would you rather they bought major label releases?

Yuppies and indie kids generally come from very similar geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, so of course indie kids have ALWAYS had to differentiate themselves from “yuppies.” It just makes me sad that hating on indie rock has become such a trendy way of doing so. There are good people who have a lot invested in bands like Broken Social Scene and The Arcade Fire, both financially and emotionally. Indie rock may sound “safe” to you folks, but as somebody who’s put a whole lot of time and effort into thinking about it, promoting it, and making it, it doesn’t feel very safe.

For the first time in a pretty long while, indie labels are actually making some kind of headway into the music industry at large. Bands that could switch to major labels are CHOOSING TO STAY WITH INDIE LABELS because of the possibility of the very mass audience people are so quick to deride.

That said, the language of Adam Shore’s comment is just ridiculous. “Quality” music is the same as “quality” cars and “quality” coffee? “Great” music is incapable of shaking people up? Shaking people up in the sense of… getting them to do coke and grow ironic facial hair? (sorry, Vice). Shaking them up like NEW VICE RECORDING ARTIST DFA1979 DUDE THEY ARE TOTALLY EX-CONS AND THEY CALLED THIS ONE GIRL A CUNT FROM STAGE TAKE THAT, YUPPIES! Is it as simple as loud music / dissonant music = “shaking people up”? If that is somehow antithetical to quality, why should we want it?

I probably should not have bothered to respond at such length to something that somebody from Vice said.

Kevin Klein 16 Apr 05

Music preferences are the most annoying aspect of human existence. Working in a shared space with 6 other designers, nobody is on the same page. I don’t care what you like or why you like it and dissecting tastes and meta-criticism is the most pointless exercise a human can partake in.

That said, I wish we never were subjected to an article on what Bush had on his iPod from a person who asked the Democratic candidates during a debate if “God was on our side.” (E. Bumiller, who wrote the NY Times article)

This pretty much invalidates all discussion, because the launching point for this thread is so inane I feel like gouging my eyes out with broken glass.

Tim Kuminecz 19 Apr 05

Yeah, the statement that was made is totally ridiculous. I have an iPod with thousands of songs, and I can’t think of any artists that are black or gay. And I am definitely not racist. Some of my best friends are black. The kind of music you listen to doesn’t have to be a “window to the soul.” Maybe you listen to music to escape your reality? I’m sure that all people who listen to rap don’t shoot people and rape women. People just need to stop connecting random things to make Bush look evil.

Bryan Costin 19 Apr 05

What an amazingly silly thing to complain about. I think we need to buy Adam Shore one of those “Your Favorite Band Sucks” t-shirts. I don’t even have an iPod, so my opinions are undoubtedly suspect, but my playlists typically have everything from jazz and electronica to bluegrass. But I don’t think I ever downloaded a song based on the race or sexual preference of the performer. I don’t care about their eye color or their shoe size, either.

Joe 19 Jul 05

It’s a shallow comment if I ever heard one, although I doubt the genuinity of it. ipod mini ipods

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