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And counterpoints are reactionary; they never exist alone.
The second fallacy is that by admitting that Banhart's music seems to have a different audience or status within whatever group he's supposed to speak for, despite not actually "changing," is that I assume he was ever speaking for anyone-- even scarier, that his music should necessarily be judged by whichever way the wind is blowing.
I imagine Gira felt strongly about Banhart from the get-go, and his pleasant surprise that the rest of the world (inasmuch as Banhart's newfound popularity translates to the "rest" of anything) has since come to agree is equally understandable.
Yet, I wonder if, like me, Gira gets the feeling that Banhart has arrived at a place where he's independent of Young God, himself, or his press.
However, where I formerly praised the singer/songwriter for taking me back to a time before MP3s and compulsive music consumption, I now believe that his preferences for surreal list-songs and lazy sing-alongs are simply an excellent counterpoint to these modern extravagances.
Almost two seasons later, things feel different: Like it or not, Banhart no longer sings for just one person (either himself, or whomever is hearing him) and, more than with any other artist, I'll identify him with 2004. Okay, so for the first fallacy in my revelation: None of the songs on Niño Rojo are any more or less intrinsically bound to 2004 than those on Rejoicing in the Hands.
They were recorded at the same Lynn Bridges-coordinated sessions that produced the prior album, and in fact will be released as a single double-vinyl set with Rejoicing soon.
Personally speaking, that's a sickening thought, but one that I take for granted in most mainstream music analysis.
Journalists are often accused of hubris, wherein they're supposed to believe the things they write about are necessarily benefited due to increased publicity.
In fact, musicians can benefit from this, but if I'm to believe Gira (and I do), Banhart's success is due more to people responding "honestly to his music." The last time I wrote about Banhart, regarding his Rejoicing in the Hands album from earlier this year, I emphasized how removed from contemporary context his songs felt.