The Bill Simmons Thread

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I don't think I could tell you a single Taylor Swift song off the top of my head that has come out over the last ten years, or since Shake it Off. I don't listen to pop music really though, and I'm sure I'd recognize some of her bigger songs over that timespan if I heard them, but I couldn't tell you their names. As big as Swift is, and you can point to her concert revenue and social media influence and all that stuff, it's hard for me to believe she is bigger than Michael Jackson, as Klosterman said, simply because pop music isn't nearly as ubiquitous as it once was.
This is an interesting thought. I don't know if you have kids, but I have two girls and a wife--all three couldn't be more different (my oldest is an alterna-chick who just did a National History Day project on the Riot Grrrl movement), my youngest is a typical suburban middle school teeny bopper and my wife is obviously older than all three with tastes that are different. All three of them absolutely adore Taylor Swift to an unhealthy degree. As far as I go, she's really grown on me--I like most of her stuff.

I was knee deep in all things Michael Jackson back in the 80s as was my brother. We were obsessed with the guy. But the difference between Taylor Swift and MJ (at least in my two families) is that my Mom knew about MJ but never listened to him--aside from when my brother and I would play Thriller. I don't think my Dad knew anything about MJ.

I think--and I can't prove this--that Taylor Swift has deeper penetration into other demographics other than just the youth. Older people, like me and my wife not to mention my mother, know who she is and can probably name somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 songs. At this point you almost have to jump over MJ and wonder if Swift is approaching The Beatles or Elvis Presley territory.
 

bigq

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This is an interesting thought. I don't know if you have kids, but I have two girls and a wife--all three couldn't be more different (my oldest is an alterna-chick who just did a National History Day project on the Riot Grrrl movement), my youngest is a typical suburban middle school teeny bopper and my wife is obviously older than all three with tastes that are different. All three of them absolutely adore Taylor Swift to an unhealthy degree. As far as I go, she's really grown on me--I like most of her stuff.

I was knee deep in all things Michael Jackson back in the 80s as was my brother. We were obsessed with the guy. But the difference between Taylor Swift and MJ (at least in my two families) is that my Mom knew about MJ but never listened to him--aside from when my brother and I would play Thriller. I don't think my Dad knew anything about MJ.

I think--and I can't prove this--that Taylor Swift has deeper penetration into other demographics other than just the youth. Older people, like me and my wife not to mention my mother, know who she is and can probably name somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 songs. At this point you almost have to jump over MJ and wonder if Swift is approaching The Beatles or Elvis Presley territory.
I think she has already surpassed them at least on a global scale and it's not particularly close.

The Beatles toured extensively in Europe and the US in the 1960s and hit Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand as well.

Elvis never toured outside of the US.

Swift has toured far more extensively in Asia than the Beatles including stops in China and she has also added South America. Her ongoing Eras tour has already generated more than $1 billiion in revenue. I don't think any other artist can touch that even on an inflation adjusted basis.
 
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John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Oops that's a big typo!
It's okay. Shake it off.

And I mostly meant in terms of a zeitgeist phenomena. Every person over 65 pretty much knows where they were when the Beatles played on Sullivan. Add ten years to person and you can say the same thing about Elvis. These two performers are so ubiquitous, I'm not sure if they'll ever be a time when someone doesn't know who Elvis or the Beatles are.

I don't think that Swift is there yet, but I think she's trending that way.
 

8slim

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1) That Taylor Swift can generate this kind of unrelenting, ubiquitous, universal fame in our current media environment is astonishing. No one gets THIS famous anymore outside of Presidents. She’s a force of nature. I was there for the Michael Jackson era and she’s just as big. Easily.

2) The legacy song take is strange to me. She’s got a bunch. Hell, start at the beginning of her career 15 years ago and there’s songs like Love Story and You Belong With Me. Put those on in any grocery store and half the people there with be mouthing the lyrics.

3) I only catch Simmons’ podcasts once in a while post-football season. He’s negative about the Celtics? For seriously?!
 

luckiestman

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I have now listened to the podcast with Klosterman. It is said here that Simmons is now like Dan Shaughnessy discussing the Red Sox or Pats. I would go the other way; SoSH comments are the Dan Shaughnessy to Simmons being the Pats/Red Sox.

Simmons is not down on the Celtics, that is absurd. The podcast was not negative about Swift, in fact it was the opposite and the thing about how culture has changed with parents and kids being more alike as a return to a pre-war America was interesting and only used Swift in a way to discuss the concept.

The legacy song thing was also interesting and it doesn't mean Klosterman is down on Swift either. He talks about listening to her albums with his daughter (I dont even think he brought up that he has met her and did a profile on her years ago). It was about how she doesn't have a song that has taken on a life of its own like 7 Nation Army. You can disagree with his position but his argument isn't from an anti-Swift place. Furthermore, Chuck is not that much of a snob about music. He loves pop-Rock (Kiss, Van Halen). He also compared Swift to the Beatles, Zepplin, Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson. You need professional help if you can listen to that podcast and come away thinking it was anti-Swift in any way.
 

Bunt4aTriple

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1) That Taylor Swift can generate this kind of unrelenting, ubiquitous, universal fame in our current media environment is astonishing. No one gets THIS famous anymore outside of Presidents. She’s a force of nature. I was there for the Michael Jackson era and she’s just as big. Easily.

2) The legacy song take is strange to me. She’s got a bunch. Hell, start at the beginning of her career 15 years ago and there’s songs like Love Story and You Belong With Me. Put those on in any grocery store and half the people there with be mouthing the lyrics.

3) I only catch Simmons’ podcasts once in a while post-football season. He’s negative about the Celtics? For seriously?!
it had nothing to do with whether people will sing along with a song. It was about whether or not people will sing along with love story in 40 years. And I think that’s very much up in the air.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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I have now listened to the podcast with Klosterman. It is said here that Simmons is now like Dan Shaughnessy discussing the Red Sox or Pats. I would go the other way; SoSH comments are the Dan Shaughnessy to Simmons being the Pats/Red Sox.

Simmons is not down on the Celtics, that is absurd. The podcast was not negative about Swift, in fact it was the opposite and the thing about how culture has changed with parents and kids being more alike as a return to a pre-war America was interesting and only used Swift in a way to discuss the concept.

The legacy song thing was also interesting and it doesn't mean Klosterman is down on Swift either. He talks about listening to her albums with his daughter (I dont even think he brought up that he has met her and did a profile on her years ago). It was about how she doesn't have a song that has taken on a life of its own like 7 Nation Army. You can disagree with his position but his argument isn't from an anti-Swift place. Furthermore, Chuck is not that much of a snob about music. He loves pop-Rock (Kiss, Van Halen). He also compared Swift to the Beatles, Zepplin, Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson. You need professional help if you can listen to that podcast and come away thinking it was anti-Swift in any way.
I was talking about the last episode. The one with Celtics Flop in the title.
 

Spelunker

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it had nothing to do with whether people will sing along with a song. It was about whether or not people will sing along with love story in 40 years. And I think that’s very much up in the air.
I don't think the answer to that particular question ever comes from asking 40 year olds.
 

Bergs

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Well I'm in my 50's, and think Cardigan and Betty are the best 2 pop songs Ive heard this decade.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Couldn't name a single Swift song ever. I'm sure I could hear a song of hers and say, "didn't know this was her song", but...her entire catalog could disappear into the ether tomorrow and I wouldn't know the difference.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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Maybe this isn't the place to discuss it, but saying that you don't know any of her songs says more about you than anything else.
 

moondog80

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Greater legacy song:

Any one Beatles song, or "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"?
 

bigq

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It's okay. Shake it off.

And I mostly meant in terms of a zeitgeist phenomena. Every person over 65 pretty much knows where they were when the Beatles played on Sullivan. Add ten years to person and you can say the same thing about Elvis. These two performers are so ubiquitous, I'm not sure if they'll ever be a time when someone doesn't know who Elvis or the Beatles are.

I don't think that Swift is there yet, but I think she's trending that way.
What constitutes zeitgeist phenomena is probably changing over time. The Beatles appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show had somewhere around 73 million viewers. It was certainly an iconic moment in US pop culture history which effectively kicked off Beatlemania. Swift lacks that sort of iconic moment however to your original hypothesis that Swift has deeper penetration into demographics other than just youth I think she does just on a global volume basis. Her worldwide fan base can be measured in billions of people and the means of accessing Swift content are numerous and ubiquitous. At any time of day or night there are hundreds of millions of people listening to Swift somewhere in the world. The Beatles and Elvis did not experience that type of exposure.
 

Dotrat

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The Beatles definitely did.
They were extremely popular globally--with albums and paraphernalia being smuggled in an around the Eastern bloc and other authoritarian regimes in addition to their preeminence in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Western Europe, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand at al. They changed fashion as well as music and had an almost incalculable effect in remaking pop culture. They were not alone in this--but they were the vanguard, the tip of a highly influential spear.

The Western phenomenon of Baby Booms definitely helped. The growing populations in the developed world were demographically positioned for an explosion in youth culture--and the band was its accelerant. The stark contrast of the West's youth-oriented pop culture, specifically with its emphasis on (to oversimplify) sex, drugs, and rock and roll, with the paradoxically bland and violent rigidity of life in, for example, the USSR and China, almost certainly boosted the Beatles' popularity in those countries.

I dig TS. I also have two daughters who were huge fans for several years, and my wife remains a big fan, even as our daughters have mostly moved on. She may ultimately go down in history as bigger than the Beatles--she's certainly comparable in terms of global popularity and influence on pop music. But it's not for me to gauge. And what I find hysterical is two privileged middle-aged white men claiming and debating that she may not have a legacy song--which is like two 40- or 50-somethings in 1968 arguing that the Beatles, Dylan, and the Supremes are all passing fads who don't make 'real' music the way the all-time greats like Sinatra and Mary Martin did. It's both sad and ludicrous that these two self-appointed arbiters of taste would even raise the issue.

The lessons, as always: Simmons is beyond parody when talking pop culture, and Klosterman is an overrated hack. YMMV.
 

ManicCompression

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What I find funny are the posters saying that middle-aged white men can't have an opinion on music mostly co-written by middle-aged white men (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_by_Taylor_Swift).

It seems fair to say that Taylor Swift is an incredibly popular artist with many popular songs, but also note that pop music (like all pop art, including films, TV, and even advertisements) has flattened in the last decade due to the disruption of technology. People with money to finance the creative endeavors are less willing to take chances because their cut of the pie is smaller, so the audience is given slightly different versions of the same safe thing over and over and over again.

Because of that, we have less variety in pop music broadly, and also artists themselves have less variety in their catalog. Songs don't stand out as much, and artists take less risks. I think Taylor Swift's music is perfectly enjoyable to listen to with my niece, but I also just can't help but hear how her songs are intentionally written to be popular... it's the musical equivalent of a Marvel movie, IMO. It's well done and precise, but it's all in between the lines in order to service the fans. You can disagree if you hear something else, but I'd rather put on Phoebe Bridgers or Julien Baker if I'm going to listen to a modern artist in that vein. They just have more soul to me, which I know is an indescribable feeling.

It's fine if other people like TS' music, but what turns me off is this ridiculous idea that simply not liking her music says something about me as a person, or my biases... it's a matter of taste. I just don't generally like pop music, and when I do it's when artists are on the bleeding edge, like James Brown or Marvin Gaye or Prince, people that seem to take risks with almost every album they put out. I also find Justin Timberlake uninteresting, and John Legend and a whole host of acts that seem to approach music like it's an algebra problem instead of an art from. Like, would we be sitting here in 1999 saying, "Oh, if you don't like the Backstreet Boys, you're just an old fogie who doesn't understand." No, that would be ridiculous - so why are we doing that here?
 

bigq

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To clarify, without a doubt the Beatles as well as Elvis had and still have global popularity. Swift has global popularity on steroids. The scale of her reach is much broader simply by virtue of global population growth and technology enabling many different options for accessing her content. In addition she is touring in massive population centers in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Argentina and Brazil. The Beatles and Elvis did not venture into those markets for live shows and were not the international jet setters that Taylor Swift is.
 

Dotrat

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And for a clarification of my own—especially as a middle-aged white man with a surfeit of opinions on pop music—I’m not denying anyone’s right to opine.

What I am saying is that questions of legacy in pop music primarily inhere to the people who are the artists’ primary audience, which is largely, though not exclusively, a function of demographics. History may offer a different, even contrary judgment down the road, but that revision is an evaluation that is balancing the new estimate of work(s) against how it affected—or failed to affect—its original public.

I’m also contending that the idea of legacy songs is not necessarily about a song’s quality but is very much a function of the role they play—and keep playing—in the souls of their target audiences, regardless of who wrote them.

Which is why I’m insisting that Simmons and Klosterman are pathetic for making the attempt. If they want to talk about why they love or hate ‘Shake It Off’ or ‘Mean’, they’re more than free to do so—but a discussion of legacy songs is a very different discussion—and is one that they’re arrogant dumb asses for assuming they could or should take on. (And given the trajectories of their respective careers, I would expect no less from them than this dim-bulb, premature get-off-my-lawnism.)
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Not withstanding that if Mike Lupica and Bob Ryan had the same conversation. 25 years ago, Klosterman and Simmons would (rightly) rip those two.

And I genuinely like Klosterman a lot but this is an argument that I don’t think he has a lot to say in.
 

Auger34

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Not withstanding that if Mike Lupica and Bob Ryan had the same conversation. 25 years ago, Klosterman and Simmons would (rightly) rip those two.

And I genuinely like Klosterman a lot but this is an argument that I don’t think he has a lot to say in.
I think you’ve nailed a lot of what really bothers me about Simmons at this point. His hypocrisy/lack of self awareness is off of the fucking charts.

His whole schtick is something that his younger self (or even his current self) would absolutely hate. It’s all hot takes and flip flops. It’s incredible that he tries to make fun of Cowherd/Bayless/First Take when he engages in the exact same shit (especially with sports other than basketball or pop culture where he basically has no idea what is going on)
 

Hoya81

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To clarify, without a doubt the Beatles as well as Elvis had and still have global popularity. Swift has global popularity on steroids. The scale of her reach is much broader simply by virtue of global population growth and technology enabling many different options for accessing her content. In addition she is touring in massive population centers in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Argentina and Brazil. The Beatles and Elvis did not venture into those markets for live shows and were not the international jet setters that Taylor Swift is.
To be fair, while the Beatles mostly toured in North America and Europe, they did have a notable 1964 tour that included stops in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Their farewell 1966 tour included stops in Japan and the Philippines, the latter of which included a near international incident after a kerfuffle with the Marcos family.

As for Elvis, I remember reading somewhere that he wanted to tour overseas but Col. Tom Parker prevented it because Parker was living under a false identity in the US (he was born in the Netherlands but pretended to be from WV) and couldn't get a passport.
 

Remagellan

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To be fair, while the Beatles mostly toured in North America and Europe, they did have a notable 1964 tour that included stops in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Their farewell 1966 tour included stops in Japan and the Philippines, the latter of which included a near international incident after a kerfuffle with the Marcos family.

As for Elvis, I remember reading somewhere that he wanted to tour overseas but Col. Tom Parker prevented it because Parker was living under a false identity in the US (he was born in the Netherlands but pretended to be from WV) and couldn't get a passport.
That was covered in the Elvis movie with Austin Butler and Tom Hanks.
 

bigq

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To be fair, while the Beatles mostly toured in North America and Europe, they did have a notable 1964 tour that included stops in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Their farewell 1966 tour included stops in Japan and the Philippines, the latter of which included a near international incident after a kerfuffle with the Marcos family.

As for Elvis, I remember reading somewhere that he wanted to tour overseas but Col. Tom Parker prevented it because Parker was living under a false identity in the US (he was born in the Netherlands but pretended to be from WV) and couldn't get a passport.
I do think the Beatles were pioneers in world touring and I’d love to hear more about the trouble they ran into in the Philippines. I think Swift is following in their footsteps and making additional stops in mainland China, Malaysia and Indonesia is probably adding hundreds of millions of people to her fanbase. I wonder if she had plans to make it to India or Africa in the future. Her reach is nearly limitless.
 

Hoya81

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I do think the Beatles were pioneers in world touring and I’d love to hear more about the trouble they ran into in the Philippines. I think Swift is following in their footsteps and making additional stops in mainland China, Malaysia and Indonesia is probably adding hundreds of millions of people to her fanbase. I wonder if she had plans to make it to India or Africa in the future. Her reach is nearly limitless.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles'_1966_tour_of_Germany,_Japan_and_the_Philippines
Wikipedia has a pretty good write up.
 

Stevie1der

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It’s amusing to read in this thread the vitriol and offense taken about a conversation that basically boils down to, “wow, Taylor Swift is really, really great. But how great is her greatness, and can she get greater?!” Like, this is basic bar room/water cooler bullshit that happens to be recorded and monetized, does it need to be taken so seriously? If 40-50s white dudes can’t spew unearned opinions on shit that doesn’t matter in the slightest any more, then I guess Nip should just shut down the servers at this point, right?
 

ManicCompression

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And for a clarification of my own—especially as a middle-aged white man with a surfeit of opinions on pop music—I’m not denying anyone’s right to opine.

What I am saying is that questions of legacy in pop music primarily inhere to the people who are the artists’ primary audience, which is largely, though not exclusively, a function of demographics. History may offer a different, even contrary judgment down the road, but that revision is an evaluation that is balancing the new estimate of work(s) against how it affected—or failed to affect—its original public.

I’m also contending that the idea of legacy songs is not necessarily about a song’s quality but is very much a function of the role they play—and keep playing—in the souls of their target audiences, regardless of who wrote them.

Which is why I’m insisting that Simmons and Klosterman are pathetic for making the attempt. If they want to talk about why they love or hate ‘Shake It Off’ or ‘Mean’, they’re more than free to do so—but a discussion of legacy songs is a very different discussion—and is one that they’re arrogant dumb asses for assuming they could or should take on. (And given the trajectories of their respective careers, I would expect no less from them than this dim-bulb, premature get-off-my-lawnism.)
They’re “pathetic” for having a conversation?

There’s a lot in your post that doesn’t make sense to me:

- Taylor swift is a pop musician. Everyone is her audience. We hear her on tv, in supermarkets… everyone knows who the Beatles are by simply existing and you can have an opinion on their music, and where that music fits into a larger narrative about music, without being a fan of their albums. Legacy is as much about who isn’t a fan of the music as much as who is.

- What are demographics in terms of music listenership? My skin or sex dictates what I will be a fan of? In 2024? Like, what was the demo of “Ain't Nuthin’ but a G thang?”? Because I’d argue that a majority of that demo was white suburban kids at high school dances…

- And if only the audience, largely a function of demographics (per you), can question legacy, that means we can’t hash out the country legacy of Morgan wallen or the rap legacy of insane clown posse, or a million other artists that I don’t enjoy because it’s just not my bag… no, that doesn’t make sense.

- was it get off my Lawnism to say limp bizkit sucks at the time, or smash mouth, or nickelback, or Britney Spears, or imagine dragons? Like what is definition by which an artist can be criticized or discussed by non-demographic fans?

It’s just two guys having a conversation. The crazy fencing that needs to be put up about this one particular artist, even if it’s the slightest of criticisms, is kind of crazy.
 

kenneycb

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Not withstanding that if Mike Lupica and Bob Ryan had the same conversation. 25 years ago, Klosterman and Simmons would (rightly) rip those two.

And I genuinely like Klosterman a lot but this is an argument that I don’t think he has a lot to say in.
Simmons has always been a pop culture and sports guy. He has never been or tried to be Lupica or Ryan. That’s literally why he got popular. He filled a lane that didn’t exist 25 years ago that people found and still find entertaining. Lupica and Ryan would never have anything close to this conversation 25 years ago even if the tech and medium presented itself.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Simmons has always been a pop culture and sports guy. He has never been or tried to be Lupica or Ryan. That’s literally why he got popular. He filled a lane that didn’t exist 25 years ago that people found and still find entertaining. Lupica and Ryan would never have anything close to this conversation 25 years ago even if the tech and medium presented itself.
Okay. Replace Bob Ryan with Dan Shaughnessy who used touchstones from his generations as intros to tons of sports columns.

The point is, if Baby Boomers were determine whether Snoop Dogg had a legacy song in 1995, they’d be mocked. Mercilessly.

You become what you hate.
 

luckiestman

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Okay. Replace Bob Ryan with Dan Shaughnessy who used touchstones from his generations as intros to tons of sports columns.

The point is, if Baby Boomers were determine whether Snoop Dogg had a legacy song in 1995, they’d be mocked. Mercilessly.

You become what you hate.
Did you listen to the episode?
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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So who can have the conversation then? Sounds like age is one qualifying factor. Unsure on others.
Anyone can. It doesn’t matter, that’s not what this is a debate (strong word) about. You and I can have this conversation. Hank Azaria and Gavin Rothsdale can have this discussion. What I’m commenting on is the discussion and the optics of it and how two people who built their careers as iconoclasts are now doing the same things that they mocked.

That’s the entirety of my point. What Klosterman and Simmons said is fine. It has no more or less value than anyone else’s opinion. Like I said earlier, what find interesting is that if this was 25-30 years ago and a couple of Baby Boomers were discussing the merits of rap or grunge and trying to determine whether they fit into a structure that I’m not sure really exists anymore, Simmons would have spent 2000 words dragging the guy.

I mean he coined the line, “More tapioca Mr. (Old Guy)”, right? The career of Taylor Swift is not the property of Gen Zers and Millennials. But listening to two guys discuss whether she has a legacy song is, I don’t know, boring? Trite? Bland?

EDIT: this has nothing to do with me being “jealous” of Simmons or Klosterman—I still buy Chuck’s books the week that they come out. My favorite podcast is a bunch of guys my age talking about nothing and they talk a lot about Taylor Swift. Which is fine and they make some pretty dopey observations about her, which is cool. I make dopey observations about Taylor Swift.

Takes are takes are takes. You get older, you turn into something you once relentlessly mocked. Circle of life. It’s fine.
 

luckiestman

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That’s the entirety of my point. What Klosterman and Simmons said is fine. It has no more or less value than anyone else’s opinion. Like I said earlier, what find interesting is that if this was 25-30 years ago and a couple of Baby Boomers were discussing the merits of rap
They were not discussing the “merits” of the Taylor Swift’s music when talking about her not having a song like “Sweet Caroline”. The phrase legacy song is making this sound like something that didn’t happen.
 

Dotrat

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They’re “pathetic” for having a conversation?

There’s a lot in your post that doesn’t make sense to me:

- Taylor swift is a pop musician. Everyone is her audience. We hear her on tv, in supermarkets… everyone knows who the Beatles are by simply existing and you can have an opinion on their music, and where that music fits into a larger narrative about music, without being a fan of their albums. Legacy is as much about who isn’t a fan of the music as much as who is.

- What are demographics in terms of music listenership? My skin or sex dictates what I will be a fan of? In 2024? Like, what was the demo of “Ain't Nuthin’ but a G thang?”? Because I’d argue that a majority of that demo was white suburban kids at high school dances…

- And if only the audience, largely a function of demographics (per you), can question legacy, that means we can’t hash out the country legacy of Morgan wallen or the rap legacy of insane clown posse, or a million other artists that I don’t enjoy because it’s just not my bag… no, that doesn’t make sense.

- was it get off my Lawnism to say limp bizkit sucks at the time, or smash mouth, or nickelback, or Britney Spears, or imagine dragons? Like what is definition by which an artist can be criticized or discussed by non-demographic fans?

It’s just two guys having a conversation. The crazy fencing that needs to be put up about this one particular artist, even if it’s the slightest of criticisms, is kind of crazy.
Yes, everyone is potentially her audience, everyone can have an opinion, and anyone can discuss legacy--but Taylor Swift's legacy is not going to be determined by currently middle-aged people. It will be determined by her core audience--a core that self-selects as it does for any artist. Barring some kind of seismic cultural shift, self-selection in pop music is going to skew young. It has been a young person's game since the '50s. So, yes, I think it's ridiculous and arrogant that two 40- or 50-something white guys think their opinions on whether Taylor Swift has a legacy song are worth sharing. It displays an uncanny, though unsurprising, lack of self-awareness. Because no one in their age demographic will have a hand in whatever Taylor Swift's legacy ultimately is. And I suspect that most middle-aged fans of hers, as well as fans of, say, Steve Lacy, H.E.R., St. Vincent, boygenuius, or Olivia Rodrigo, et al. are aware that, as much as we may love their music, we also know that we don't constitute the bulk of the fan base--and that the respective legacies of artists in their 20's and 30's are not going to be decided by people in their 40's, 50's, or 60's.

As I said in my previous post, legacy is a different issue than anyone's opinion on songs and artists--it's saying, 'X number of years from now, most of us will remember Taylor Swift by 'Blank Space,' or "Taylor's stuff always brings me back to that summer 20 years ago,' or, more consequentially, Taylor Swift was one of the 3 or 4 most influential artists in pop music history'. And, of course, people will debate and argue about such memories and assessments.

Finally--I listen to a fair amount of contemporary artists--including Taylor. I'll be 61 soon. If someone asks which current music acts or songs I like, I will gladly list them. If someone asks, I'll happily drone on and on about what I take to be the legacy of XTC, Prince, the Clash, Talking Heads, or the Smiths. And I may have a very different estimate of that legacy from other fans within 10-15 years of my age.
But in the highly unlikely event that someone were to ask me what I think Taylor Swift's legacy song(s) will be, I'd have enough sense to answer, "How the f*ck would I know?"
 

kenneycb

Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2006
16,260
Tuukka's refugee camp
Anyone can. It doesn’t matter, that’s not what this is a debate (strong word) about. You and I can have this conversation. Hank Azaria and Gavin Rothsdale can have this discussion. What I’m commenting on is the discussion and the optics of it and how two people who built their careers as iconoclasts are now doing the same things that they mocked.

That’s the entirety of my point. What Klosterman and Simmons said is fine. It has no more or less value than anyone else’s opinion. Like I said earlier, what find interesting is that if this was 25-30 years ago and a couple of Baby Boomers were discussing the merits of rap or grunge and trying to determine whether they fit into a structure that I’m not sure really exists anymore, Simmons would have spent 2000 words dragging the guy.

I mean he coined the line, “More tapioca Mr. (Old Guy)”, right? The career of Taylor Swift is not the property of Gen Zers and Millennials. But listening to two guys discuss whether she has a legacy song is, I don’t know, boring? Trite? Bland?

EDIT: this has nothing to do with me being “jealous” of Simmons or Klosterman—I still buy Chuck’s books the week that they come out. My favorite podcast is a bunch of guys my age talking about nothing and they talk a lot about Taylor Swift. Which is fine and they make some pretty dopey observations about her, which is cool. I make dopey observations about Taylor Swift.

Takes are takes are takes. You get older, you turn into something you once relentlessly mocked. Circle of life. It’s fine.
Said differently then, who can have this discussion in a manner that is not trite, bland or boring then?
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
Dope
SoSH Member
Apr 12, 2001
24,869
Said differently then, who can have this discussion in a manner that is not trite, bland or boring then?
What, exactly, are you arguing about here?

Is it just about white knighting Simmons and coming to his rescue? Because if it is, I have no interest in talking about that.

If it’s something different, let’s talk.

But I think that your responses over the last few hours is, “you’re being mean to my favorite podcaster and I’m angry”.

Which is a valid reaction but not one I really care to discuss more. If I’m getting your perspective wrong, then tell me what your thoughts are because I think I’ve articulated mine pretty clearly.
 

kenneycb

Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2006
16,260
Tuukka's refugee camp
That you are believe there is completely arbitrary definition of who can discuss topics in an entertaining manner that applies much more broadly than Simmons. As a rule I find that dumb. Hence I’m trying to find out who you believe meets the criteria to have an interesting discussion and not be subject to ridicule on Taylor Swift. You talk about who can’t. I want to know who can. If you don’t know, that’s fine too but you appear to have some sort of rubric you’re working off of.

The other stuff you posted is just stupid tropes.
 

johnmd20

mad dog
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 30, 2003
62,281
New York City
That you are believe there is completely arbitrary definition of who can discuss topics in an entertaining manner that applies much more broadly than Simmons. As a rule I find that dumb. Hence I’m trying to find out who you believe meets the criteria to have an interesting discussion and not be subject to ridicule on Taylor Swift. You talk about who can’t. I want to know who can. If you don’t know, that’s fine too but you appear to have some sort of rubric you’re working off of.

The other stuff you posted is just stupid tropes.
I think Bill Simmons has turned into an unthinking moron. He is all blather now. He stopped reading, writing, and learning, has surrounded himself with a bevy of yes men and women, and he hasn't had a unique or interesting thought in years.

But for people to say he isn't allowed to talk about Swift's legacy is ridiculous on its face.
 

ManicCompression

Member
SoSH Member
May 14, 2015
1,462
Yes, everyone is potentially her audience, everyone can have an opinion, and anyone can discuss legacy--but Taylor Swift's legacy is not going to be determined by currently middle-aged people. It will be determined by her core audience--a core that self-selects as it does for any artist. Barring some kind of seismic cultural shift, self-selection in pop music is going to skew young. It has been a young person's game since the '50s. So, yes, I think it's ridiculous and arrogant that two 40- or 50-something white guys think their opinions on whether Taylor Swift has a legacy song are worth sharing. It displays an uncanny, though unsurprising, lack of self-awareness. Because no one in their age demographic will have a hand in whatever Taylor Swift's legacy ultimately is. And I suspect that most middle-aged fans of hers, as well as fans of, say, Steve Lacy, H.E.R., St. Vincent, boygenuius, or Olivia Rodrigo, et al. are aware that, as much as we may love their music, we also know that we don't constitute the bulk of the fan base--and that the respective legacies of artists in their 20's and 30's are not going to be decided by people in their 40's, 50's, or 60's.

As I said in my previous post, legacy is a different issue than anyone's opinion on songs and artists--it's saying, 'X number of years from now, most of us will remember Taylor Swift by 'Blank Space,' or "Taylor's stuff always brings me back to that summer 20 years ago,' or, more consequentially, Taylor Swift was one of the 3 or 4 most influential artists in pop music history'. And, of course, people will debate and argue about such memories and assessments.

Finally--I listen to a fair amount of contemporary artists--including Taylor. I'll be 61 soon. If someone asks which current music acts or songs I like, I will gladly list them. If someone asks, I'll happily drone on and on about what I take to be the legacy of XTC, Prince, the Clash, Talking Heads, or the Smiths. And I may have a very different estimate of that legacy from other fans within 10-15 years of my age.
But in the highly unlikely event that someone were to ask me what I think Taylor Swift's legacy song(s) will be, I'd have enough sense to answer, "How the f*ck would I know?"
Can people in their 40s and 50s, without being labeled ridiculous and arrogant, discuss legacies of contemporary movies? TV? Books? Art? Fashion? Is everyone older than their 20s discussing the latest Marvel TV show on this board ridiculous and arrogant and pathetic for expressing their opinion about where it falls within the canon of other Marvel projects? What is particularly different about music or the "legacy of songs"? This rule you've made seems highly specific and inconsistent when applied to music alone, but also any other form of art.

If you want to say, "Bill Simmons is ridiculous and arrogant for discussing Taylor Swift's legacy songs because he has very little depth of understanding about music beyond Pearl Jam and U2," that's a fair argument that I probably agree with. This is not his wheelhouse. Frankly, I don't know enough specifically about Klosterman to say what his opinion means on anything. But you're making a very different argument, that age and sex somehow convey special knowledge unto a person, and no matter how much you listen to an artist or are a fan of that artist, or even if you're just a highly engaged, interested observer, you are "pathetic" for even thinking you can discuss the topic. That's a pretty broad statement that, I think, blindly parroting dissuades people from staying in touch with modern music and having interesting discussions about it.
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
33,388
Frankly, I don't know enough specifically about Klosterman to say what his opinion means on anything.
After college, Klosterman was a journalist in Fargo, North Dakota, and later a reporter and arts critic for the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio, before moving to New York City in 2002.[6] From 2002 to 2006, Klosterman was a senior writer and columnist for Spin. He has written for GQ, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, The Guardian, and The Washington Post.[7] His magazine work has been anthologized in Da Capo Press's Best Music Writing, Best American Travel Writing,and The Best American Nonrequired Reading.Though initially recognized for his rock writing, Klosterman has written extensively about sports and began contributing articles to ESPN's Page 2 on November 8, 2005.[8]

In 2008, Klosterman spent the summer as the Picador Guest Professor for Literature at the Leipzig University's Institute for American Studies in Germany.[9]

Klosterman was an original member of Grantland, a now-defunct sports and pop culture web site owned by ESPN and founded by Bill Simmons. Klosterman was a consulting editor.[10] In 2020, he co-hosted a podcast titled "Music Exists" with Chris Ryan as part of The Ringer podcast network.