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Friday, April 15 • 3:45pm - 5:15pm
Roundtable: The Voices in Our Head

What happens when our fan voice conflicts with our critical voice? After last year’s “Poptimism” moment, we began pondering the extinction of “guilty pleasures” in an age when (it is argued) charts are the most reliable barometer of critical consensus. What we are left with, perhaps, are guilty displeasures. Questions followed. Has taste become irrelevant, or, rather, is it being contested by younger social-media-schooled critics who refuse to be intimidated by it? Are we snobs if we prefer the raw-throated classicism of Chris Stapleton over the hip-hop-influenced beer busts of Florida-Georgia Line? Should we question the experiments on To Pimp a Butterfly because they don’t tear up the club? This is what happens when the voices out there become the voices in our head. In this panel we confess to how a critically championed artist or song has left us cold and unconvinced, then ponder the shame.


Moderators
avatar for RJ Smith

RJ Smith

RJ Smith is author of The One: The Life & Music of James Brown (Gotham Books, 2012); and The Great Black Way: LA in the 1940s and the Lost African-American Renaissance (Public Affairs, 2006). He has written for SPIN, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, and Yeti. An editor at Cincinnati Magazine, he is currently writing a biography of photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank. “Roundtable: The Voices in Our Head” | Download the fear... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Charles Aaron

Charles Aaron

Charles Aaron is a cultural critic who lives with his wife, son, and bulldog in Durham, NC. The former longtime Music Editor of SPIN Magazine and Editorial Director of SPIN Media, he once smoked a spliff behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the daughters of Joe Strummer and Mick Jones while they shit-talked Lily Allen, which is simultaneously the most Poptimistic and Anti-Poptimistic moment in the history of music criticism. He’s... Read More →
avatar for Sally Jacob

Sally Jacob

Sally Jacob is a lapsed academic (ABD, Cornell University), former music writer (SPIN, The Village Voice, CityPages Minneapolis, SF Weekly), intermittent musician, and perpetual fan. She lives in NJ, commutes to an NYC-based job in corporate communications, and as a consequence listens to music on headphones at least two hours a day on average. “Roundtable: The Voices in Our Head” | Download the fear. In a striking and perhaps... Read More →
SR

Sonnet Retman

Sonnet Retman is Associate Professor of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington. She is the author of Real Folks: Race and Genre in the Great Depression (Duke, 2011). She co-directs the UW Women Who Rock Oral History Archive. “Roundtable: The Voices in Our Head” | Download the fear. In a striking and perhaps notorious study from five years ago reported in the journal Neuroimage, an Emory University professor... Read More →
avatar for David Turner

David Turner

David Turner is a freelance writer based in New York City. He got his start writing on Tumblr and since graduating from that platform has been featured in the Fader, Paper Magazine, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone. He's fought being thought of as a "rap writer," "writer on Black artists," and "music writer"—though he likes doing all three—and continues pitching about mindless social media apps until he's no longer bound by any... Read More →


Friday April 15, 2016 3:45pm - 5:15pm
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