I Love Vinyl (HBO) - Am I "Rockist" or Right?
Time for another "Rockist" or Right.
I am not sure what it means that I won again last week with about 60% of the vote (out of about 100 voters). This means that about 60/100 people responding felt that Lady Gaga's tribute performance at the Grammy's was, "not so awesome."
* A large percentage of my readers felt that Maroon 5 was "not so good"
* A decent percentage of my readers did not love "The Life of Pablo"
* And 60% of voting readers did not like Lady Gaga's Bowie tribute
I mention this not to gloat but to be reflexive. I suspect being voted right shows mostly that speak well to my base of reader's opinions. Anyway, the reason that I do this feature is to destabilize my authority as a critic. Rather than tell you that my opinion is right, I ask if my opinion is fair.
As you probably know, the first season of the HBO series Vinyl finished up last Sunday. The show has been both a ratings and critical disaster (for the most part) resulting in the firing of showrunner Terence Winter a little over a week before the finale of Season One (It was renewed early in its run).
While the show certainly had some problems, I am one of the few writers who supported the show throughout it's run (for those who have not read, I did weekly recaps of all 10 episodes here on my blog).
It occurred to me that the reasons I loved Vinyl might also be more "Rockist" than right. So, I figured this would be a good time to ask.
If you are still not clear about "Rockism" it is basically the idea that you are snobby or precious about your love for something. In this case, it is possible that I am so precious about anything that covers NYC in the 70's that I cannot be an objective critic.
Why I Loved Vinyl
My support for the show comes down to the following:
1. It was about both exposing the exploitation of Black artists and celebrating many of them. The show finally gave credit where credit was due, often taking great pains to include artists many of us maybe didn't know but learned more about because Vinyl was careful and thoughtful about its music curation (Otis Blackwell anyone?).
2. It was about both exposing the sexism inherent in the music industry and in the music of the 70's at the same time celebrating women who stayed true to themselves despite the obstacles. The show also celebrated many historically significant female artists that have fallen out of the pop-cultural zeitgeist (Ruth Brown anyone?).
3. The show portrayed Addiction (in this case drug and alcohol addictions) in one of the most accurate lights ever shown on television (Nurse Jackie also did - mostly - an excellent job in many ways). As someone who is both a recovering addict and well-versed in the state of the science of addiction, Bobby Cannavale did an incredible job throughout.
4. The show celebrated what is great about Rock Music when Richie said a great song makes you want to "Dance, Fight, or Fuck" he was telling the truth. The speech he gave in episode 10 about why his sub-label was called alibi was really great and spoke to what is great about music.
5. The soundtrack was incredible. So many amazing and often classic songs over 10 weeks. My hat tips to all of the people involved in the soundtrack. Many of the covers were amazing too, Julian Casablancas had a few amazing Velvet Underground covers and that Trey Songz Bowie cover was intense.
6. It was the 70's in NYC. Maybe clunky sometimes but come on. The birth of punk, funk, hip-hop, and disco for God's sake. Sure I would rather they did a better job of conveying the excitement and joy at being in the scene. Sure some of the impersonators could have been better. But it is 70's NYC.
I could say more (and have if you read the recaps) but....
Time To Vote
As usual, you can vote by leaving a comment here or by voting on the poll pinned to my profile page on Twitter (@OnPirateSat).
I may also experiment with creating a Google+ poll (new feature there).
Just like old school Chicago, vote early and vote often.
What did you think of Vinyl? Would love to hear your arguments for or against the show here. As long as you are civil, I always respond to comments. In other words, leave a comment!