I want to first apologize if I have ever written anything pretentious on this blog. It’s something I’m a little self-conscious about because I am a firm believer in the idea that simplest is best. However, in those rare moods where I’m feeling verbose (encouraged by professors who demand papers with a certain length as opposed to quality) the words just flow out like I’m not even speaking them. And I’m not really speaking them, some idiotic voice in the back of my head is going “Yeah, that sounds great write that, just keep going, don’t think about it, just keep writing.”
But all that ends up being is fluff: nonsensical, pretentious, important-sounding-but-really-unimportant-and-pointless fluff.
I bring this up because I was just reading a review of Spoon’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga album on Pitchforkmedia.com and these were a few of the sentences in it:

What in lesser hands could be extra-textual gobbledygook instead feels the product of studio freestyling, something to which the murky mixing-board wizardry of Jamaican dub is an obvious precursor.

Backed by an irresistible Holland-Dozier-Holland gospel-pop-stomp, “Cherry Bomb” re-imagines the heart/sleeve cliché as a vivid bicep tattoo, as Daniel implores his love to three-point-turn and chill out.

With Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon have once again found a gray area between the poles of pop accessibility and untested studio theorizing, modifying a formula that has grown to feel familiar even as it wanders, and refusing to square the circle while doing so.

All I can say after reading sentences like these is “I’m sorry, what?” Because they are so unnecessarily dense, filled with words that don’t need to be there, they have no effect. Even if someone could elicit meaning from these sentences, it took then too long to do it. pretentious

So in that last case, the bolded sentence, how could that have been improved? I’m not even sure. I’m still trying to figure out what place he’s trying to describe as the “gray area between the poles of pop accessibility and untested studio theorizing”? What formula they’ve created that feels “familiar”, and why it still feels familiar as it’s wandering? And what circle are they “refusing to square”? Is the square the “pop accessibility? Is the circle the “untested studio theorizing” (which, keep in mind, can never actually exist because once something is recorded it is no longer “untested” and therefore is the purely theoretical, but I”m wondering how that is antithetical to “pop accessibility”)? Is the gray area where Spoon is wandering while they’re modifying their formula?

I could go on, but it would only depress me.

What I’m wondering is how this ever got published. Who edited this? Because this is Grade-A crap. This is pretentious to the nth degree. It’s just throwing out words that don’t need to be there so he can sound smart, and impress upon his readers how erudite he is, and how great this band is for “refusing to square the circle”, when really all he needed to say is “This band is different in a good way because they avoid the cliches of the pop music formulas they work so closely with.” Simple. Clear. Precise.

So please, if I ever write anything near as pretentious as any of that drivel by our dear Eric Harvey, please call me out on it. Lambaste me publicly. I want to hear it, so that I don’t turn into something far, far worse: the pretentious writer.

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