Conrad Tao

Reviews 60
Approval 98%

Soundoffs 39
News Articles 6
Band Edits + Tags 5
Album Edits 77

Album Ratings 517
Objectivity 66%

Last Active 09-22-12 1:03 am
Joined 11-24-09

Forum Posts 75
Review Comments 2,090

07.09.13 2013.5 11.22.12 Conrad's Top 50 Albums Of 2012
06.15.12 2012.5 03.23.12 2012 Q1: The Unsung (and The Less So)
03.19.12 Conrad Made An Album. 12.07.11 conrad presents 25 from 2011
06.11.11 The 2011 List You Probably Haven't Hear 05.01.11 Fuck Elitism.
01.19.11 Albums That Changed The Way I Listen 12.08.10 Conrad's 2010: Top 25 (with Description

Fuck Elitism.
w h o k i l l

As amateur music critics, we all like to say things like "we've reached a point where (such and such) is (such and such)" and reach a questionable conclusion from that often dogmatic statement, throwing in a couple of carefully chosen words that add a thin layer of condescension to every little piece of venom being spewed out. Like, uh, what I just did. But I'm losing my patience with that self- consciously snarky bullshit. Or, at least I think it's self-conscious...but that might just be my self-consciousness speaking! (Ha! Wouldn't that be something.) I can't help questioning myself, any more than Merrill Garbus can when she asks herself, with more than a little bit of self-deprecation in her voice, "Would you call me naive and an idealist if I told you I am disheartened that, in this day and age, I do not have more male black friends?" It's worth keeping in mind that Garbus lives in Oakland, site of what seems to be eternal gentrification, but hell, I live less than ten blocks away from Harlem. It's practically the same thing.
The King of Limbs

So if I can convince myself that my privileged position doesn't render me incapable of truly "relating" to the music I'm trying to "objectively" criticize, who's to say that I can't convince myself to like something that I don't?

Or, on the flip side, that I can't convince myself something is awful, even if it is actually - this might be a tough one to swallow - good? Like, legitimately good? Because I hate Ke$ha on principle (although her persona seems to have a dash of self-awareness that is, for better or for worse, notable) but "Blow" kicks my ass every single time that beat hits the floor. And fuck me if "Go insane, go insane, throw some glitter make it rain, let me let me see them Hanes" isn't a brilliantly stupid come-on. I can't resist it. Against my better interest, I enjoy it.
4Britney Spears
Femme Fatale

And hey, I hated the new Britney record, but that doesn't stop me from losing my shit to "Till The World Ends" at every single party I've been to in the last two weeks where the song has been played - which is to say, all of them. I called it a Ke$ha ripoff, which I still think it is, but there's something universal to that cry of "I can't take it take it take no more, never felt like felt like this before". Universal can also mean stupid, of course, and in this case the line between the two descriptors is very, very blurry, but who am I to say that the song veers towards one direction or the other?

It would be like dismissing "S&M" as a continuation of pop's recent fascination with BDSM as trendy commodity. In fact, I use "trendy commodity" too often, not only in my reviews, but in everyday speech as well. What is trendy anyways? What's cool? In pop, cool is what sells. In society, "cool" seems to currently be nerdy chic, horn-rimmed glasses and all, which unwitting consumers consider a noncomformist approach. Ahh. The sweet smell of self- delusion. Nothing quite like it. This recent trend makes pop's love of sadism- and-masochism a bit unexpected, but maybe it speaks to a larger trend, a desire to surrender to emotions ostensibly regarded as "dangerous". Take, for instance, the song's chorus: "I may be bad but I'm perfectly good at it / sex in the air I don't care I love the smell of it / sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me." Which then goes into one of Rihanna's signature wordless hooks, and then we're back on the dancefloor, sweaty, bumping into each other, as the floor vibrates with the throbbing beat. Maybe all of that matters. Maybe none of it does.
6The Weeknd
House of Balloons

Because all I can think of when I'm in that "zone", whether I'm performing or listening or partying or something in between, is "I don't want to be thinking about anything right now." Conscious attempts at "letting go," if you will. Calculated catharsis. Tension and relaxation. Limp and hard. All at the same time. I want to be high, I want to be sober. I want to be perpetually in control while I'm surrendering to a sonic world that I don't understand. And I don't want to think about what comes afterwards. That's for the scholars to talk about.
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