1. Ever since the Boston Globe's longtime "pop critic" Steve Morse -- or, as we like to call him, the Leader of the Hacks -- took the buyout and retired, bringing to a close one of the least distinguished reigns in all of rock journalism, it has been widely rumored that the Globe was attempting to kill two birds with one stone by using one new hire to replace Morse and fellow-buyout-taker Renee Graham.
Our worst nightmare was that they would make Joan Anderman music editor: she's smart, she's got really great taste, she's an awesome writer (and, of course, she learned from the best, if we do say so ourselves). Another dark horse candidate was Jonathan Perry, who took over Morse's "Rock Notes" column. Also smart, also a pretty good writer, though not with a taste broad enough for what the Globe was looking for: someone who could cover stadium rock and emo and mainstream hip-hop in a single bound. And since that's what they were looking for, we were a little worried they might hire somebody young and talented.
Thank god they hired Sarah Rodman instead.
Rodman confirmed last week that she has taken the Globe job and given notice at the Herald. As the rest of us breathed a sigh of relief, ancient Herald music editor Larry Katz was telling people that he doesn't have the budget to replace her. Christopher Blagg, your life is calling.
While the Rodman hire caught many people by surprise, cynical observers are bound to point out an unsettling strain of logic: the newspaper began a search to replace one of the city's best pop culture columnists (who also happened to be African-American) as well as its worst old-whiteguy rock critics, then hired a black woman who can't write. OTD is not cynical enough to co-sign that train of thought. No one's happier than us to see a woman of color in one of the whitest, male-dominated professions in town. But let's not kid ourselves here: Sarah Rodman is no Renee Graham.
Ironically, it's that fact -- as opposed to her skin color -- that is likely why she got the job. Rodman is a critic very much in the mold of Steve Morse: her writing is so bland as to leave very little impression at all, and to make up for it she's one of the sweetest, kindest, gentlest, nicest human beings on the planet. The legacy that Morse left behind was: don't rock the boat, shake a lot of hands, pick a few adjectives you like and stick with them to the bitter end. Rodman will slip into that role perfectly. And the Globe won't be a threat to anyone but itself for the next 20 years. Thanks, dudes!
2. If it wanted to see what a smart daily newspaper does with its music coverage, the Globe didn't have to look any further than its parent company, the New York Times: over the past decade, the Times has figured out how to have fun with its music coverage -- see ex-Phoenix critic Kelefah Sanneh, who kills it on the regular, as well as chunklets like their much imitated Playlist column -- without sacrificing that gray-lady newspaper-of-record gravity. In the process, they regularly beat the glossies and the weeklies to huge songs and new trends, and pushed NYC's oldest alt-weekly further to the fringes than the margins could keep up with, whereupon the Voice pretty much collapsed under the weight of its own what-the-fuck-are-they-talking-about bullshit.
That said, a moment of silence for the fucking Voice.
Anyone who already cares has already the news that Chuck Eddy (for sure) and Robert Christgau (seems inevitable) are the latest casualties of the New Times blitzkreig. This is sort of the Tianenmen Massacre of rock criticism. (Who knew the Voice dudes were so emotional? First Sylvester faints, now we're hearing that Eddy broke down in tears upon being let go. And then, ho-ho, called up WFMU? [Scroll to 1:35:17]) Like just about everyone in the profession, we suppose, our attitude towards those two guys modulated back and forth between jealousy, hatred, and awe. Suddenly, or maybe not so suddenly but finally, writing about rock and roll seems like a career that you should really get the hell out of, as quickly as fucking possible. The dinosaurs had been bemoaning the end of an era for at least a decade, maybe two, but if you want to drive the nail in the coffin, strike ye here: April 2006. Rock criticism is dead.
Then again, who needs rock criticism when you've got Nick Sylvester, who is very much alive, having post-excommunication breakdowns with the Game over at the old blog (thereby fulfilling a trope we suggested a few weeks back), and dropping hot sauce over at Riff Market (which we decline to link to, since the selfish little prick didn't blogroll us. Fuck you, link me.) Or, better yet, just jump over to the left-hand nav bar. That's right -- newsflash: Nick Sylvester publishes first freelance review since being fired by the Voice and Pitchfork; T.I. album emerges intact. (Oh, also: he did this week's download column.)
3. In other media news, back to Morrissey Blvd: at the same time they hired Rodman -- a vote for complacency -- they're also trying to beef up their online presence by starting . . . wait for it . . . a DAILY MUSIC BLOG!
We can't be mad at that. For one thing, they kissed OTD's ass in a high-falutin' post last week, and gave props to our boy Will Spitz's band. For another, Boston.com's music editor/blogger Matt Shaer -- not to be confused with Phoenix music editor Matt Ashare -- pitches us all the time. We think he's writing a book review for us next week or something. 'Sup, homie?
Globe-blog-central might want to invest in a copy editor, tho -- they posted an anti-emo rant that says Saves the Day's new album came out on Matador. OOPS. (We know, we know: all those fake-indie labels look the same when you're peering down from on high.) Dude, if you thought that asshat from Victory Records was mad at Steve Jobs, wait'll he gets a hold of these guys. Also, the Globe neglected to mention you can download the new Saves the Day song over here:
DOWNLOAD: Saves the Day, "The End" (mp3)