I was nine years old when Pitchfork published its first review in 1996: It was a 132-word assessment in Amps’ Pacer. I live outside of Baltimore with a large family of immigrants, from India and Zimbabwe, who love music and surround themselves with it. My mother’s brother owned a record and tape store in their hometown of Vadodara, and my earliest understanding of music was molded by him carefully pasting the piles of mixtapes he sent us. Arriving in the United States in the ’80s, my parents were attracted to disco and funk and chart-topping artists like Bruce Springsteen and Tina Turner, representing their ideas of American culture. (Their idea of a rock canon was limited by Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles and, as a result, mine as well.)
High school and – I don’t want to admit – like movies Almost Famous and High Loyalty It brought me to realize that I didn’t have the same musical experience as my friends, who had an easy familiarity with rock’n’roll by living with their parents to this day. So I quietly checked the Rolling Stone Recording Guide from the library and cut it up like it was homework, downloading classic albums as a tiring exercise that felt essential to my belonging to a banbanbanbanban, especially the white town. Fortunately, a librarian noticed my constant change in the volume of the encyclopedia and pointed me to the inside of the periodicals, with issues in the back. SPIN.
When I discovered Pitchfork in college, my desire to understand the lines of music history meant that I was assembling a ridiculous collection of albums, organized in mp3 form, in a large, bursting manner. -and hard drive. The website quickly became a kind of new, dynamic record guide. In this I see the amount of discovery, of disrespect, of trying to find the Next Many Things before everyone else, with a disagreeing opinion because it’s just mine. I felt Pitchfork’s closeness to music being on the edge and its vigilance in the mainstream. This is the place where I discovered Fire in the Arcade, ug the Go! Team, ug Antony and the Johnsons, and its album reviews have always featured debates among my friends, adorable college radio DJs and even more gentle fans. As for many others, Pitchfork has become not only my go-to for indie continuity, but a sounding board where I can make my own judgments and spark my own discussions. It turns out that growing taste and making canon can be as personal as academic. So far, when a new set of midnight checks, the site sees a lot of traffic-at the time of waking up in the morning our staff is in Brooklyn, a conversation about our album marks has already begun.
I’ve been a music journalist for about 15 years now, and this month marked my third at the helm of Pitchfork. I’ve worked for a lot of music magazines and websites, and seen a lot of change. However, the role of the music critic has felt equally difficult and a little unclear over the past few years, as global trauma has dominated every discussion, live music has stopped, and excessive judging social analysis with determination. For one, the racial justice movement following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor is also calling through the music industry: calling labels and streaming services for parity pay, musicians have begun to navigate where and when their voices are can be used as a protest, Fans know about the creative and true allies, journalists and publications that are questioned about their methods and bias.