Slicing Up Eyeballs

The cassettes used in the original header/logo design, as they’ve sat since the site launched.

On Feb. 20, 2009, Slicing Up Eyeballs launched onto the web not with a bang but a whimper, debuting with a simple 91-word declaration and a headline cribbed from an R.E.M. song that Google Analytics now tells me was not viewed by a single person that day (which seems a bit off, since I’m fairly certain I looked at it at least once myself).

The following day, thanks to posts about Sonic Youth, The Godfathers, Depeche Mode and The Replacements, the site claimed a whopping 12 unique pageviews. And we were off.

In the intervening six years, this site has become more than I ever expected, a news source devoted to following and celebrating the ’80s college rock and alternative bands that so many of us still cherish, attracting an audience that I still have trouble grasping — accumulating, over that time, 13 million pageviews from 4.3 million different people in 228 countries around the planet.

This is Slicing Up Eyeballs’ 4,587th post. It’s also the last.

I’ve spent months laboring over this decision; in fact, this very post was created, according to WordPress, on Nov. 9 of last year. I revisited it a few times, but kept talking myself out of pulling the plug, most notably in December, when I decided to redouble my efforts to keep this site going.

But I was just delaying the inevitable. Over the past year, I both found less and less time to devote to this — as regular visitors no doubt will have noticed through the fall-off, first gradual then precipitous, in posting frequency — and have grappled with growing burnout.

Maintaining a music-news site, even a niche one like this, means putting in an inordinate amount of time on the Internet hamster wheel, either feeding the beast with new news that often will be straight-up copied-and-pasted or, at best, lightly regurgitated by other sites (with a link-back if you’re lucky), or churning out the very same album/tour/reunion news that so many other sites already have or will.

Certainly, there’s room for originality and creativity, and I took great pleasure when there was news to share about lesser-known acts like Game Theory, Eleventh Dream Day, Orange Juice or Redd Kross. But it was also clear that people were far more interested in — or, rather, far more people were interested in — reading about The Smiths, New Order, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode, et al.

None of this is particularly good nor bad; it’s simply how these things work, and, after six-plus years, it’s time to get off the aforementioned hamster wheel. This site started, quite deliberately, as a one-person operation, and despite many generous offers to help from other writers over the years, and even bids to purchase the site in part or outright, it’s going to end that way.

But the important thing here — the most important thing — is that I stop to thank you, the readers of Slicing Up Eyeballs. I started this site because I figured that if I still liked this music, there probably were others out there, too, who would enjoy reading about these bands. I never imagined there would be so many of you. So thank you for reading, for sharing, for listening, for participating — for everything.

You’re the only reason this site lasted as long as it did. Because people cared.

With that in mind, because there is a community out there, I am going to maintain the Slicing Up Eyeballs presence on Facebook and Twitter. While I won’t be posting here any longer, there is still so much out there to share, celebrate and comment on via social media, where so many of you already are.

And, of course, as we’ve all seen so many times, few break-ups are forever anymore. So I will rule nothing out for the future of Slicing Up Eyeballs — certainly an onstage reunion by Messrs. Morrissey and Marr would obligate me to fire this rickety old beast back up again. Until then, my friends.

— Matt Sebastian, retired music blogger


P.S. Yes, this means there’ll be no Best Songs of ’82 poll. Sorry.