Letters to the Editor 

Name that tune

Thanks for Brian Smith's enjoyable "Out of the Groove" (Metro Times, May 10). Having worked for Dearborn Music, Record Time, Desirable Discs, Melodies and Memories, and Harmony House, I have to say that I still firmly believe that, aside from the used LPs and CDs the indie stores stock, the knowledgeable employees at these stores are still their greatest assets in the marketplace. I am often still appalled and amused at the lack of basic music knowledge of the typical clerk working for the "mass merchant" or "big-box" chains. I usually bite my tongue whenever one of them asks me if I need any "help," but every once in a while I'll throw out an artist name just to see their reaction.

"Nat 'King' Who?"

"Guess Who? It would be easier if you just told me the artist you were looking for, sir."

"Three What Night? Dog? Are they a rap group?"

"Mmmm. Pure Prairie League? Have you tried jazz?"

"ABBA? — are they a local group?"

"New Order? How long ago did you place it?"

And has anyone who owns an iPod ever called Apple asking, "Do you know this one song they've been playing on the radio? I don't know if it's a girl or a guy singing, but I think it has 'love' in the title and goes like this: Ba-ba, ba-ba, ta-da!" No, my friends, not even the radio station that played the song will provide you with as much song identity information as your typical indie record store associate!

Unfortunately, there are those who will call or visit these indie stores for these bits of Holy Grail information then complain that the CD costs too much there and try to find it cheaper at Best Buy or online, not realizing that perhaps the extra buck they spend might be to employ the clerk who answered their stupid question in the first place! —John Krzyston, Rhino Records contributor, club DJ and all around music enthusiast, Detroit

 

Reality politics?

I really liked Jack Lessenberry's article "The destruction of our America" (Metro Times, May 17). The quip about American Idol reminded me of what I thought when I heard that there are more people who vote on that show than voted in the 2004 election. I suggest turning the elections into a prime-time reality TV show. Just imagine, even if you get only 130 million adults watching, there'll be a bigger turnout —Philip J. Brzezinski, Ypsilanti

 

Riot Act

Serene Dominic's unnecessarily scathing attack on Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder ("Idolizing Pearl Jam," Metro Times, May 17) has a peculiar quality for a review of a new album: It doesn't mention any of the music from the album. Perhaps Serene should have listened to Pearl Jam's new contributions before deciding to insult the band.

Ironically, his opening paragraph criticizes his own readers for using musical taste as a unique way to 'shut humanity out.' I can't see how anyone could insult his audience like this and then proceed to spend paragraph after paragraph insulting a band whose music he apparently didn't feel up to listening to before publicly ripping on it.

I suppose freelance writers need to whip out articles to pay the bills. I just wish they'd save some time to actually do a little legwork and take their own advice. I, for one, like Pearl Jam's new stuff. But when a band takes a direction you can't follow, there's no need to hate on them. Just say you didn't like the new album, better luck next time, guys. —Daniel Crews, Nashville

 

Grievance

I find it amusing that Metro Times, a magazine that paraded around not so long ago touting a "no big business" attitude, just like Pearl Jam, would say anything remotely bad about them. Remember, like them, your roots are with the beginnings of Generation X as well. I would have expected better from you, unless of course Sony (PJ's former label) now owns you. Come to think of it — I have seen some pretty big names in your magazine lately. Did someone not tell us they sold out to the American Idol corporate crowd? You are not The Detroit News — you should stick by the folks who read you instead of them. —Mike Miller, Shelby Township

 

Not for You

American Idol and Pearl Jam?

What a bunch of headache-inducing gibberish. It would help if this waterhead Serene Dominic would have listened to the Pearl Jam record in question. Anyone with half a brain and a pair of ears would immediately refute any claims of the latest Pearl Jam record as being a "rehash of Ten."

Just because they have released a self-titled eighth album, just because they are now a part of the Clive Davis-owned J Records, and just because there is a lot of hype surrounding this album, does not mean that they have sold out.

Everyone is calling this a comeback — but did Pearl Jam ever really go away?

After all, we are talking about a band that has sold more than 61 million albums and influenced hordes of bands. They can basically sell out three consecutive nights in any arena in the world, and their fan base is as ravenous as ever. They have been around now for 16 years and show no signs of stopping.

I don't know, but could all the hype around the new Pearl Jam album actually be because — gasp! — it's a very good record?

Eddie Vedder does not need to win his idol status on a wretched TV show like American Idol. Eddie's status has been certified platinum for quite some time now.

Remember when rock 'n' roll stood for something? Remember when it actually mattered? Pearl Jam is the real deal.

Be glad that they are still "Alive." —Dave Detenbeck, Toronto, Ontario

 

Erratum: Last week's article "Burning questions" (News Hits, Metro Times, May 17) erred in reporting who commissioned the Boose review of Detroit's Master Concessionaire Agreement. The Gateway Communities Development Collaborative commissioned the new analysis.

Send letters (250 words or less, please) to letters@metrotimes.com. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.

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