It's true that ultimately PPC and list building is where it's at. But, if you're a newbie - you're just starting out - you don't want to risk your money with PPC - or you have no spare money - that is your prerogative. By all means start doing articles + landing pages. Do articles and landing pages until you build up a little trickle of extra money. Say $15-$30 a day. Not hard.
Once you've built up that trickle... take that $15-$30 a day and open up a squeeze page, Aweber account and PPC campaign with it. It's extra money - pretend you never even got it and just funnel it into your PPC and experiment with it. It won't hurt if you lose it because you wouldn't have had it in the first place.
Continue this for a while. In the mornings do the minimum to maintain your trickle from articles and in the afternoons experiment with PPC and squeeze copy. During the weekends read and learn new stuff. During the week, put what you learned into practice. If you keep this up, one day sooner or later, something will 'click' inside your head. You will get it. You'll make a profit.
That's the point you need to get to. And you will get to it if you work methodically towards it. From that point on, the increases are exponential.
The big secret to articles vs PPC is that one leads into the other. Start out where you feel comfortable taking daily action, but make sure not to get too comfortable in that safe and cozy realm, and have a concrete plan laid out to make the jump when you can.
Just my two cents on the matter