I understand the value of critique, but it’s hard for me to find a legitimate critique in Stern’s remarks. Maybe something was lost in the editing? Regardless of Stern’s intent, the impression I got was that Best Coast is being hammered for making popular (here “popular” denotes accessible, not culturally pervasive) music about conventional themes and for being lauded by the so-called blogosphere without having done the necessary “work” (I’m also not sure what “work” is — is “work” touring? Is “work” releasing albums?) For me, a critique needs to be something more than that — I mean, if you’re going to talk about why Best Coast might be problematic, you could look at the ways in which “crush songs” might reinforce a cultural assumption that women are meant to be passive and pining in their relationships. I just don’t think it’s enough to say, “I don’t like this.”
which is not ridiculous by any means. I actually like that line in the Best Coast song about the cat talking. It’s one of the endearing parts of the album, one of the personal parts. The quirky parts seem like they were written by a person. A lot of the rest of it is kind of crap, lyric-wise. It’s contextless pining. You can write a bracing critique of Consentino’s lyrics, but this interview is obviously not that. I think it’s a little bad faith to take it like that.
Stern comes off like an asshole in her remarks on Best Coast, but if you’ve listened to Best Coast and you’ve listened to Marnie Stern, then I think her implicit point is somewhat clear. Best Coat’s lyrics are not very good. I honestly don’t know a lot of Stern’s lyrics. They seem kind of peppy, and they might be simplistic. They’re kind of repetitious, I know. In any case, I think in the context, it is enough for her to say, “I don’t like this.”
She makes a point about good/bad music, but you have to read in between the lines a bit. She mentions Hole in the contexts of bad music and 90s women’s rock music. But she seems to mention, like, AC/DC and Van Halen as good music, which surely undercuts her point about hair metal. I think Stern has a type of music she likes, and a type of music she makes, and that she’s not a Best Coast hater. Her criticism of Best Coast (and to say she unfairly conflates Consentino with Best Coast is a bit point missing, since Consentino tweets under the Best Coast name and seems perfectly happy as being the bearer of that particular brand) isn’t about being a taste-mongering, high/low culture, or good/bad music. She doesn’t seem to have a guiding aesthetic principle. Rather, she’s reacting personally because it’s a personal interview-type piece.