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A deeper dive into a 'chill muzak' a key part of Liz Pelly's Spotify essay from a little while back. https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-problem-with-muzak-pelly
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Notes on the rise of #chillpop as genre (& chillness as aspiration symptomatic of our time)
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Excellent breakdown of a theme I’ve been trying to attack in my music criticism for many years now. Without naming names, the steady rise in popularity of inoffensive, pleasurable, characterless music began well before “Chill LoFi Hip Hop Beats to Study To”, but that does seem to be its latest culmination.
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“It makes sense that, in 2019, as we grow collectively more uncomfortable with our own quiet, inefficient sentience, we have also come to neglect the more contemplative pursuits, including mindful listening, listening for pleasure, listening to be challenged, and even listening to have a very good time while doing nothing else at all.”
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“Although I recognize the utility of listening to non-distracting study music, I nonetheless find it disheartening to see art being reconfigured, over and over again, as a tool for productivity—and then, when the work is finally done, as a tool for coming down from the work” Pelly does a great job of putting words to a phenomenon we’ve all noticed without really noticing . This passage especially stood out to me for articulating the shift in roles that streaming facilitates, where music is reduced to a productity enhancer . Streaming promised a radical blurring of genre lines, clearing out the dust of old-fashioned opinions on music , and it’s disappointing to see it turn into algorithmic goop. What is the next move?