PODCAST TRANSCRIPTS: Chuck Klosterman on Overrated, Underrated or Properly Rated

From Time's Yours Podcast with Spike Eskin.

Chuck: The new Drake record is out today. The people I follow on Twitter are nuts about this record. They're in love with it. So I was listening to it, because I had that experience beforehand, where I was reading all the visceral, over-the-top reactions, it seems a little overrated to me. It doesn't seem as good as what they've been arguing. But then, you know, that has nothing to do with the record, it only has to do with my pre-exising perceptions, and the fact I happen to know people who have been listening to this record for a week and are predisposed to like it. So, will I ever know if this record is properly rated? I don't know. To me, that's the more confusing thing, that there is no consensus. We're forced to let our very small circle of influence tell us if something is universally good or universally bad. So I think in a lot of ways, we have so much more information now, so much more access to things. We have more information, and are yet less informed.

Spike: So that opinion you read before listening to the record, does the fact that it's rated so highly change how you actually enjoy it? Like, if you hadn't heard any of those things, if you had just heard that record, would you have thought it was better?

Chuck: Well I certainly wouldn't have thought it was worse. We're talking about two nebulous things, we're talking about something's real value and something's perceived value. So, I'm going into this record having heard all these people--some of them are critics, but the larger fact is that they're just my friends, that's why I'm following them on twitter--they're saying things about this record and they're obviously very moved by it, and they see the record as very important. So when I start playing the album today, I'm not really listening to it as, "Is this music entertaining?" I'm actually looking for the import, or trying to hear the import that they're seeing. And that really changes the scales, you know? That's why I think that no matter how talented a critic you are--at least in terms of rock music and rap music--it's very difficult to compete with young people and their experience. Because their experience is not to look for import, they're just having a "real experience" with the sound. Whereas, if you deal mostly with writers and adults, you know, the only reason to write about music is because it means something outside of itself. And that really detracts from the experience of, oh well it sounded good or whatever.

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