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pitchfork:

In its heyday, Billboard's R&B chart credibly reflected the tastes of the genre's core fans, paving the way for artists like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, Prince, and Whitney Houston. But now, a new digital methodology has rendered the tally a shell of its former self, replete with dubious racial and cultural consequences. Chris Molanphy details the chart’s storied history and discusses whether it can be fixed in our latest feature, "I Know You Got Soul".

This was a detailed story about an intensely frustrating and socially weird phenomenon. TBH, I just wanted to abolish all charts until I got to the final paragraph, and then I was saddened at what’s been lost. Does the idea of “charts” even make sense anymore? Is popularity just Berkeleyan idealism? Does -it- cease to matter if it’s not situated six inches -in front- of my face?

pitchfork:

In its heyday, Billboard's R&B chart credibly reflected the tastes of the genre's core fans, paving the way for artists like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, Prince, and Whitney Houston. But now, a new digital methodology has rendered the tally a shell of its former self, replete with dubious racial and cultural consequences. Chris Molanphy details the chart’s storied history and discusses whether it can be fixed in our latest feature, "I Know You Got Soul".

This was a detailed story about an intensely frustrating and socially weird phenomenon. TBH, I just wanted to abolish all charts until I got to the final paragraph, and then I was saddened at what’s been lost. Does the idea of “charts” even make sense anymore? Is popularity just Berkeleyan idealism? Does -it- cease to matter if it’s not situated six inches -in front- of my face?

The Future’s Void seems to slot easily next to Arcade Fire’s Reflektor and St. Vincent’s St. Vincent as a big album of ideas, namely anxiety with the internet age. But it’s not surprising when EMA admits in the Zoladz interview, “I didn’t set out to make a topical record that was going to be “about” the internet and surveillance, but it accidentally happened”. The ostensibly topical songs, “Satellite”, “3Jane”, Neuromancer,“ are balanced out by more typically emotive songs like ”When She Comes“ and ”So Blonde”. But more, they’re also complex emotional finials that create a nuanced portrait not so much of the surveillance state and the novel patterns of thought and behavior the internet conditions in us; since that just is how life is now, they’re less critiques and illustrations than multidimensional portraits of a messy life, our life.

I absolutely love this song, “3Jane”, and EMA’s latest album, The Future’s Void. I broke my famous #musicwriting silence to write a couple words about the album at Passion Of The Weiss. After reading a couple other reviews, I discovered people sort of think it is an intellectual argument against the Internet. Not that the album’s not intellectual, but I found it to be much more, life-y, I guess, and similar to Past Life Martyred Saints than EMA perhaps intended? “3Jane” in particular is such a beautiful and autobiographical-seeming song about how to live a performative life. The whole album seems somewhat timeless, even though it uses words like “selfie”. I really love it.