Jakob Dorof’s Review of “Transference” by Spoon

Link to Jakob Dorof's review of "Transference" by SpoonArtist: Spoon

Album: Transference

Reviewer: Jakob Dorof

Tiny Mix Tapes, 2010

Writing Disorders: Idea Fever, Infectious Punctuation, Jargon Palsy

Review Length: 1,194 words

Longest Sentence: 77 words

TMI: “making you wanna grit your teeth and open wide”

Wow. Jakob, you KO’ed the Pitchfork review of this Spoon album by nearly 300 words. That’s impressive. And since my site is the only one giving out prizes for such dubious honors, let me be the first to congratulate you for your effort.

Where do I even begin with this foot-long turd? Just to clarify, there WERE 11 tracks on your version of the album, right? I could have sworn that you were reviewing a box set. Take your intro, for example:

“Pitchfork asserted that the following year’s Kill the Moonlight progressed by “tak[ing] a scalpel to the highlight reel of their career,” cutting and pasting themselves into a magnum opus. 2005’s Gimme Fiction found Cokemachineglow marveling at “how singular they sound” after five albums. And Entertainment Weekly summarized…”

After you finally get tired of cramming your opening paragraph full of other people’s thoughts fitted with updated tenses, you have this to say:

“I’ll spare you snippets of message board chatter and Last.fm shoutbox debates”

But you just couldn’t resist snippets from Pitchfork, Cokemachineglow, and Entertainment Weekly? Are you hoping the music history fairy will give you 3.5 stars for your impressive use of secondary sources? Just introduce the album you’re supposed to be writing about. Who knows? You might retain some readers by trimming your text to an anorexic 1100 words. By the way, thanks for including hyperlinks. I’ll be sure to verify that those publications asserted, marveled, and summarized.

Pretty much everything wrong with your review has to do with your inability to keep any thought under 2 miles long. Example:

“suffice it to say that Spoon’s reputation as a band of continual self-revision and -refinement is one that has trickled down to man-on-the-street fans and skeptics alike.”

I’m shaking my head, Jakob. Why? Why did you tack that hyphenated strap-on to a noun that’s descriptive enough by itself? Did you do it to differentiate Spoon fans who utilize streets for locomotion from those who don’t? Thanks for that.

There are so many silly metaphors in this review, so I’m just going to highlight my favorite:

“Chop, Combine, Pulse, Beat — ignoring the smoother blends and elegant accents of settings like Frappé or Purée”

Where do Grate, Grind, Liquefy, and Ice Crush fit in with your blender metaphor? Maybe Spoon will upgrade to the next model Osterizer on their next album. Here’s to hoping not, though. I think too many blender settings is a sign of a band running out of ideas.

It’s hard to choose just one fat sentence to scrutinize from such a large herd, but I’ll try my best:

“A survey of their very best material reveals a breadth of formal and stylistic diversity that is practically panoramic, whether we’re talking about the breezy Casio summer pop of “Anything You Want,” the serpentine rock epic that is “The Beast and Dragon, Adored,” or the paradoxically boundless and claustrophobic dimension of sound known as “Paper Tiger” (a noirish, streetlit ballad unlike anything else, in Spoon’s repertoire or anybody else’s).”

Jesus Christ. Jakob, sit yourself down. We need to have a talk, man to man. Now, I’m guessing a few years ago you probably saw “Almost Famous” and thought to yourself that it’d be cool to be in that kid’s shoes. You’re probably thinking that after a couple years writing for internet music zines that can’t even afford to pay their writers, you’ll be on the fast track to national attention. I’m going to save you the crushing disappointment. You write like a thousand other postmodern critics – 5 fingers on a keyboard and the other 5 fetching a fart to sniff. Don’t believe me? Read:

“Spoon unquestionably possess a unique and singular vision of rock”

“the paradoxically boundless and claustrophobic dimension of sound”

“like the contrapuntal montage of an Eisenstein film vis-à-vis rock ’n’ roll”

“There is no underdog, paper tiger, beast, or dragon to adore here”

Cheer up, Jakob. The good news is that there IS a lesson to be learned from “Almost Famous.” I eventually learned it myself. You know when Stillwater takes the stage and William starts scribbling notes on his pad? Did you ever notice how Kate Hudson pushes the pad away and the kid starts to loosen up and have fun? You might want to watch that scene again. You might learn something.

18 thoughts on “Jakob Dorof’s Review of “Transference” by Spoon

  1. I always knew keeping my name on Google Alerts would pay off someday!

    Well: here we are, man to man, and I have to admit I only skimmed your post. But I’ve gotta say, I’m impressed by the noble pointlessness of your endeavor here: after all, if so many question the worth of music criticism, then what does that say for the (largely hypothetical) craft of music criticism criticism? I kinda wanna review your review of my review for the hell of it, but that means I’d actually have to read your thing, and…uhh…maybe some other time? Hit up my next review and a reminder will automatically be sent to my Gmail.

    But as far as music criticism criticism criticism goes, one thing I’ll offer: if you sometimes feature a list of the “whitest” (really?) words a reviewer uses, I’d work on removing words like “loquacious” from your About page. It makes you come off as a hyp-o-crite (noun).

    Anyhow, thanks for the attention! I’ll be sure to rent Almost Famous sometime.

  2. Jakob, do you really think I’m concerned about being labeled a hypocrite when I have dozens of reviews to my name still sitting on the internet? Also, I highly doubt you merely skimmed my post. A man doesn’t write such a neat four-paragraph comment about a blog post he’s only perused. Thank you for your comment, though, and I sincerely hope you were wounded enough to learn something, for music’s sake.

  3. Boy, for someone who spends a significant portion of his time telling strangers to loosen up, you sure do take this seriously. Peace!

  4. Saying peace instead of goodbye lets me know you are a hip young cool dude who is up to date with modern slang.

  5. Er, Jakob, I think the website having a mission statement where he takes aim at a wordy writers and utilizes 8th grade vocabulary (Loquacious) to do so is hardly hypocritical. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if that’s one of your main points (Or your door slamming phrase, I guess. Mom, you’re such a hypocrite, ugh! *slams door), why did you come here just throw a pebble at someone criticizing you and then dash away, hyper-active tongue flailing?

  6. “A man doesn’t write such a neat four-paragraph comment about a blog post he’s only perused. ”

    Er, Mr. Wendus:
       /pəˈruz/ [puh-rooz]
    –verb (used with object),-rused, -rus·ing.
    1. to read through with thoroughness or care

    Actually it would make sense if he perused it. Just sayin’.

  7. Like most dumb folks, MK, I use “peruse” to mean “skim.” After you look this next one up, you and Webster can both:


  8. This shit’s gettin’ spicy.

    Let’s just all agree that nobody intends for their writing to define their person (or rightfully should), and that shouting hypocrisy in defense is a rather lame tactic in general. Matt’s comments still stand valid, and the purpose of his website has been fulfilled for Jakob to have had read his work thoroughly enough to give feedback on it. Make nice now?

  9. Matt, great read. Don’t worry about Jakob. I’ve been dealing with him on the Weezer message boards, allthingsweezer.com, for years now. He goes to Yale so he’s convinced everyone else is an idiot and he really is difficult to debate as he inevitably resorts to mockery as a means of defense.

    Furthermore, I’d like to add that his obsession with the thesaurus is quite disturbing.

  10. Sadly I only climbed the ladder of puffy Connecticut schools to Wesleyan. I’m surprised Jakob’s that old though. I thought he was in high school.

  11. What a hateful and sad joke of a website. I can’t believe this exists.

    I think you may have made the whackest comment of the year with the “you might wanna watch that scene again you might learn something” stunna! shocked em’ brah! oh my bad, ripped em brah!!! dude you SUCK, go do something else with your time!

    Anyone who uses the word “ripped” is an asshole.

    “You write like a thousand other postmodern critics – 5 fingers on a keyboard and the other 5 fetching a fart to sniff.”

    Oh my god dude you sound so lame I can’t even believe it….I NEVER do shit like this, NEVER. I stopped being a loser on message boards when I was like 15, but this is just too easy! I don’t even feel motivated to think of anything witty or clever to say to you besides


    Okay, if you want to have a website that really “rips” other writers, you have to be FUNNYor GOOD at being an asshole. You just sound WAY too lame my dude, you have no swag whatsoever. You must be some 27 year old lame dude who has some whack beard or something and doesn’t do shit but HATE.

    Sorry Sorry Sorry I am dragging this on too long! I should be constructive with this shit:

    Dude, if you are going to be the “!masta rippa!” you gotta be one of the following things:

    1. funny…


    3.don’t use half of the “rippin” words you use that are slightly slang-y…maybe refrain from using anything you consider slang?

    1 Luv!

    StayMagic Dude


  12. The comments for this review are awesome. I never thought someone could be that much of a jackass though, to reply to someone’s criticism of them by critizising them. Seriously just take it like a grown man and defend yourself or admit your faults.

    Or maybe Wendus emailed Jakob and asked him to make a comment on this site to stir up some viewer-attracting drama.

  13. Interesting site and comments.
    Not sure if you made post to try and get a response or not.
    Anyways, I guess everyone has an opinion and this site proves it.

  14. Like wow. And that reaction is both for the review of the review itself and the comments. This is quite a thread. By the time I reached the last comment I felt as If I ran out of things to say. Lol. I didn’t know that writers had this much going on. Anyway, I’m no writer so forgive me if I do not use words that would make ordinary readers like me scrambling for their dictionaries but both of you guys do have your own points. To each his own right? But guys like you are what make reviews very interesting so carry on 😉

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