By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
If Ben Folds Five is too simplistic for Keith Moerer, perhaps he should stick to analyzing Smiths lyrics in a coffeehouse with his goateed pseudo-intellectual buddies. Just a thought.
N. Richland Hills
I just thought I needed to give some feedback to such a negative article as I just read by Keith Moerer regarding a concert with Ben Folds Five and Superdrag. His pessimistic attitude seems more like an attack than an editorial. He seems to be more unappealing than his view of Ben Folds. I personally am a big fan and love them (which makes me somewhat partial), but the way he approached the piece seemed somewhat childish, and anyway, if they were so bad, would they be popular? Ben Folds Five just rocks. Thanks for listening.
I'm sure you've received a few angry letters already, but here's my take on your review of Ben Folds Five. In your review, you come across as sounding almost jealous of the fact that there is a band that can not only touch deep emotions (as with "Brick"), but also make a mockery of everyday occurrences ("Song for the Dumped"). The versatility of both their subject matter and melodies is one of the aspects about the band that makes them stand out. So every song doesn't sound alike and isn't about falling in and out of love; the irony of "One Angry Dwarf..." still makes me smile to myself. Maybe I relate to the revenge factor the dwarf gets to carry out. Or maybe I just like the piano line. And although I, too, like their self-titled CD more, I don't think it is cause to count the band out. The band's growing tour schedule and expanding fan base seem to prove their lasting appeal.
It would be nice if the Dallas Observer could hire a music critic that could actually write objectively about a band instead of letting his personal feelings get in the way. I suppose this letter is mainly in reference to Robert Wilonsky's review of the new Grand Street Cryers album ["Crocodile tears," May 14], but it also reflects on his entire body of work.
To begin with, Mr. Wilonsky has an over-driven tendency to trash a band he doesn't like, which is just simply not good or proper journalism. Good journalism is supposed to be an objective view of the subject at hand, not a one-sided, egotistical quest for self-gratification. When Mr. Wilonsky actually finds a band he likes, then in his eyes, they can do no wrong. Heaven forbid that Mr. Wilonsky should dislike your band, because then, regardless of what you ever accomplish, you still suck, unless you become famous, then Mr. Wilonsky will love you eternally.
Who really cares if a band puts out a new album that isn't earth-shattering, ground-breaking, or unique to all other forms of music? For starters, everything has been done. Musically speaking, there's nothing so monumental that's going to come out anymore. With today's technology, anything can be accomplished, and everything has. There is a vast majority of people who just enjoy listening to good, well-written, and well-recorded music--music that the listener can sit back and sing, or hum along to while enjoying a great performance. Is there something wrong with that? Apparently Robert Wilonsky thinks there is. But don't let Mr. Wilonsky know that the Old 97's don't have an original sound. After all, they can do no wrong.
Let's talk about the fact that Grand Street Cryers play a new song at almost every show. Let's talk about the fact that Grand Street Cryers are playing shows about 10-15 times a month. Yet Wilonsky claims that the Grand Street Cryers aren't into writing, but recording? I must say, there are several other songs I would have liked to have heard on this album, as opposed to four repeats, but at the same time, I can see and understand why they did it. They're not on a major label. This is the album that will be shopped around to the labels, so they want their best songs to be heard. Quite frankly, the labels are looking for something catchy that has "staying" power, and Grand Street Cryers purely exemplify that.
In conclusion, this all boils down to one thing: I finally got tired of reading the amateur journalism of Robert Wilonsky--a person who can't see past his own ego. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that perhaps he does this intentionally to stir up controversy in a pitiful attempt to make a name for himself somewhere amongst real journalists, but it's getting old now. It's time for you to practice what you preach, Mr. Wilonsky, and find something new, unique, and ground-breaking to do--like you claim every musician should do--and quit getting your quick surface pleasures from trashing every good album and band that dares to release an album in your neighborhood.
I do want to set the record straight about the comment on Robert Wilonsky's comment about Pimpadelic being racist or their new CD coming off being racist because we have Quincy's intro at the beginning of the CD ["1998 Dallas Observer Music Awards, April 30]. If Quincy wasn't in jail right now, he would personally tell you that we (the DJ and I and Mattison, the drummer) took him off the streets and let him live in our house.