Chuck Klosterman on Why Political Music Writing Isn’t Interesting Now

Author digs deep into modern and classic songs, political writing.

July 12, 2017 4:14 pm
Chuck Klosterman Weighs In on Politically Minded Writing
Author Chuck Klosterman visits at SiriusXM Studio on October 27, 2016 in New York City. (Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)

If you’re a fan of author Chuck Klosterman’s work, he needs no introduction. For the rest of you, start with Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and fan out from there. (He’s already on his 10th book, the aptly titled Chuck Klosterman X, so you have a lot to work with.)

Pitchfork recently caught up with the historically verbose Klosterman and let him run wild on some topics. RCL has curated some of our favorite quotes from the exchange below.

On Finding Out That Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell Had Died:
“I got into an interesting debate with someone about whether someone dying necessitates that you listen to their music that day. His take was, ‘I wasn’t going to listen to Soundgarden today if he was alive, so why should I do it now?’ But I guess I’m the kind of person that does. So I was in a car a going over the bridge toward Newark Airport, kind of like the opening sequence of The Sopranos, and listening to Soundgarden.”

On Selena Gomez‘s Single Bad Liar:
“There’s no aspect of my life now that collides with the work of Selena Gomez, unless I’m in a car and somebody else is playing it. I’ve never felt any pressure to make sure I’m keeping up with everything in popular culture, and I’m not going to start now. Should I make sure I always know the new Selena Gomez song? I don’t know.”

On Merle Haggard‘s Working Man Blues:
“Listening to country songs from [Haggard’s] period by that kind of guy is like hearing about a period of time that you vaguely remember but never actually happened, this time where these guys are working, they go to the tavern, have a few beers, and life is tough, and they’d like to leave town but they’ve got to buy their kids shoes. That didn’t happen to me, so why does hearing this song remind me of my life? It makes no sense; it’s not false nostalgia, it’s like nostalgia for something that I never experienced.”

On Politically Minded Writing in 2017:
“[So] much [music] criticism now is really just political writing. Someone hears a song that they like so they decide, ‘Well, this fits my politics, so I’m going to say this is a manifestation of that,’ or, ‘I don’t like this song, so I’m going to say it’s reactionary.’”

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