The ILM Essential Reading Thread

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Though I'm not really into reading essays about music, I like this first section of "Charts of the Gods" by Greil Marcus
(via "Ranters and Crowd Pleasers", G Marcus):

"Fans have been abuzz this fall with word that famed rock band the Rolling Stones have made a “good” album (Tattoo You), as opposed to a “bad” album (such as last year’s Emotional Rescue). Buzz aside, however, no one has been able to explain why Tattoo You is a “good” album, save that it is generally agreed to sound “pretty good”. Announcing the Rolling Stones current American tour at an August 26 Philadelphia press conference, lead singer Mick Jagger denied that the good/bad consensus pointed to a “new artistic rhythm” in the work of the band. “Chacun a son gout, but really”,he said. “All right, Some Girls was good, Emotional Rescue was bad, this one’s good, I agree – though this one’s nowhere nearly so good as Some Girls. But don’t forget – between Exile on Main Street, which was a great album, and Some Girls, we came up with four bad albums, and a couple of those were terrible. Consumer Protection Agency investigations, class action suits, the whole bit. But anyway, “Jagger went on, “everybody will have forgotten about this one in six months. Sure it sounds ‘pretty good’, and it’s even got a ‘rockin’ side, and a ‘dreamy’ side, just like those ‘oldies but goodies’ lps, but I defy anyone to find a single song – what’s it called again? Oh yeah, Tattoo You, thanks – with a , as Sartre would have said, raison d’etre. L’enfer, c’est les autres, you know? We could have done these songs, or we could have not done them. Who’s know the difference? What people want is product. To assert that a tune carefully constructed out of half forgotten Rolling Stones hits for the sole purpose of assuaging the listener with a sense of familiarity disguised as high-tech contemporaneity could possibly be compared in terms of emotional impact or social metaphor to a record on the level of Elmore James’ ‘Done Somebody Wrong’ is merely to reify the sort of false consciousness that may well make revolution in our time impossible,” said Jagger, demonstrating the breath control that has made him a singing sensation on five continents.

Pulling himself together, Jagger pointed out that “the eighties are here”, and that he was therefore abandoning his “oldfashioned sixties habit” of dropping pretour hints that “this time” the Rolling Stones might surprise their huge audience with something “new and different”. “We’re going to do what we’ve always done”, Jagger said, “and when we’re finished, we’re going to do it again. Forever.”
The Response of KMET, the Los Angeles FM radio outlet that was broadcasting Jagger’s words live, was all too real. The station immediately scheduled an eight hour “Stones Special” for August 28 – a marathon that, at least for the two hours during which I remained within its signal range, was characterized principally by a nearly complete avoidance of any material more than five years old. This policy was perhaps predicated on demographic research indicating that a good proportion of KMET’s audience was not born when the Rolling Stones began recording in 1963 – there being no reason to clutter the airwaves with music that, might serve only to confuse many clear-thinking young men and women with unfamiliar sounds, arcane references, or outmoded values."

peepee (peepee), Monday, 6 September 2004 19:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

More conventional medium, but excellent:

Tim Lawrence's Love Saves the Day.

djdee2005, Monday, 6 September 2004 20:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

One of the best music histories I've ever read, certainly the best that's ever been done on 70s American dance culture.

djdee2005, Monday, 6 September 2004 20:07 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

(how did I miss that Amnesiac review when it came around?!?)

Dave M. (rotten03), Monday, 6 September 2004 20:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm quite annoyed by your notion that Spencer was talking "in jest" when he said Skykicking was essential. wtf?

jed_ (jed), Monday, 6 September 2004 20:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

no no no, jest as in the idea of ILM needing essential reading, like a prerequisite to posting or something. Skykicking roxor! Tim knows i think so, i hope!

Dave M. (rotten03), Monday, 6 September 2004 20:32 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

the amazon reviews of chuck eddy's book are quite amusing.

splooge (thesplooge), Monday, 6 September 2004 20:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I thought the concept of essentialism was rockist?

Jimmybommy JimmyK'KANG (Nick Southall), Monday, 6 September 2004 20:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

ah ok, i see.

jed_ (jed), Monday, 6 September 2004 20:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

djdee, I kiss you. That book is the best thing I've read all year.

Jacob (Jacob), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 01:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

sinkah's "punk" piece at

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 01:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah the punk piece!

For me another would one would be Tom's article on Real Real, Fake Fake, Fake Real and Real Fake in pop - however I can no longer find it!

Oh yeah and the first edition of Kogan's Why Music Sucks where he breaks down his "PBSification" idea.

On a slightly more personal tip, Reynolds' piece on 2-step for The Wire in '99 doesn't introduce any new critical tools or ideas per se, but is a genre analysis par excellence, and has probably had a greater influence on the way I approach writing about music (in terms of unconscious emulation) than any other single piece.

(thanx to dave m and jed)

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 03:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I've namechecked both Messers Eddy and Reynolds enough times, and deservedly so. If I had to name two other sources -- well, a compiled collection of key articles and pieces from Melody Maker would be handy (I'm thinking things by Cathi Unsworth, Taylor Parkes, Neil Kulkarni and more besides). But in terms of recent writing, ain't no contest -- Dave Frickin' Q.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 03:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

ouch, that slate exchange is practically unfair

the thing about tom is that he really doesn't have the one definitive piece does he, somehow i dont think real fake fake real is it, it may be a good philosophical overview but it lacks trademark charisma, tho maybe i should reread before i spout off drunk again as i usually do

artiste (artiste), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 04:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah I agree, but I thought suggesting people should read everything he's ever done on Freaky Trigger might seem glib even though it's true.

His "Vox" piece might be a good "representative" piece as well. Especially the bit about Mariah Carey and Sigur Ros subjecting the whole in favour of the part.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 04:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

re : tom - The Pet Shop Boys' first twenty singles... & The Pixies' B-Sides still give a tingle on re-reading.

etc, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 04:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

nik cohn - "phil spector," from that big red rolling stone history book.

the entire prologue to lipstick traces.

my fave tom ewing piece is his short essay on "panic," the link to which i can't find right now.

"death rock 2000" by frank kogan.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 04:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

justyn - is this it?

etc, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 05:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah! thanks for the link!

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 05:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Someone recommend some books to me.
Do I go beyond Carburator Dung w/ Lester?
What do I do w/ Greil Marcus?
C Eddy?
Who else?


djdee2005, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 07:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

David Toop. 'Ocean of Sound' which is part theory, part memoir, part history, part travelogue fairly loosely held together by 'ambient'. I've not read his other books ('Rap Attack', 'Exotica') but I'm looking forward to getting 'Haunted Weather', his new one.

Obv Reynolds.

Jon Savage 'England's Dreaming' is just great and again, so much more than just a book about the sex pistols. (It starts with a detailed social history of the King's Road, for example.)

I don't normally do biography, but Julian Cope's 'Head On' is hilarious and definitely worth a read as is his 'Krautrocksampler', whic is out of print now , I think. If one definition of good music writing is making you want to hear the music described, then Copey missed his vocation by being a pop star.

And if all that's not out enough for you get your head round Kodwo Eshun's 'More Brilliant Than the Sun' which is great if only for the vicious critique on the rest of writing about music in the introduction.

I've just started 'Words and Music' by Paul Morley and I'm too excited to say anything about it. Is there a thread on that already somewhere?

Jamie (Jamie T Smith), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 09:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Based on what I heard, 'Krautrocksampler' is really the only music book I've been interested in reading.

peepee (peepee), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 09:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Paul Morley 'Words And Music' ? brilliant or just trying hard?

pete b. (pete b.), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 09:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Not a terribly illuminating thread, that.

Jamie T Smith (Jamie T Smith), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

this is more like it. despite the rather hollow disclaimer, it's very close to admitting there is and ilm "canon". there is y'know.

stelfox, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

this is more like it. despite the rather hollow disclaimer, it's very close to admitting there is an ilm "canon". there is y'know.

stelfox, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I got a secondhand copy of "Mystery Train" Greil Marcus, usually mentioned when a 'canon' of rock writing is breached. Should I bother?

mark grout (mark grout), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

haha dave -- this is a thread for ppl to talk/share music writing that is important to them.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

this is kinda in the same ballpark:

old music books/essays on the web

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Someone recommend some books to me."

the second Lester compilation ("Main Lines, Blood Feasts and Bad Taste")is mandatory mostly for "Bob Dylan's Dalliance W/Mafia Chic."

John Morthland (editor of above)also wrote "The Best of Country Music," a truly definitive record guide. (out of print)

"Pet Shop Boys, Literally" by Chris Heath is a great documentary of 80s pop and a delightful sampler of The Wit & Wisdom of N. Tennant.

"All What Jazz" by Philip Larkin is somewhat limited as criticism -- he's a hidebound swing-era conservative -- but his prose sings. Read it for form rather than content and you could learn how to write.

"Blues People" by Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones). He's a hateful anti-semite but this early work is a thoughtful examination of race and music in the US.

"Disco" by Albert Goldman. For my money this is the best book ever written about popular music. It took the scourge of rock criticism, professor Goldman, to define the first popular alternative to rock. "Disco" is the source for every subsequent history of the DJ, and also the first/only book to consider the effects of technology on pop music-making. And it's short, probably 10-20,000 words enclosed in a amazingly decadant coffee-table book. Also provocative, thought-provoking and FUNNY as hell. big caveat: it's out of print, and insanely expensive on Amazon.

"The Dark Stuff" by Nick Kent outclasses most journalists' collection because Kent went back and edited/combined various pieces into a varied and cohesive whole. Classic encounters w/ Iggy, Neil Young, Guns & Roses and Stone Roses/Happy Mondays.

Any one of the various editions of "Rap Attack" by David Toop is essential. The "EMP Oral History of Hip Hop" is overlong, even padded, but the first half, er, rocks.

I've always had a soft spot for "Any Old Way You Choose It" by Robt Christgau. a nice mix of early 70s consumer guides and essays. more mainstream than his musical tastes and prose style became later, but just as intelligent and challenging.

"What do I do w/ Greil Marcus?"
Read him w/ a salt shaker at hand. If you start thinking "is it just me or is this hyperventilating nonsense?" It's not you.

lovebug starski (lovebug starski), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, i guess that these days i only want to read stuff by people who do not contribute to ilm. nik cohn is a fave, as is barney hosyns and penman.

stelfox, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

so stop reading ilm.

jess (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Albert Goldman is good

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

that's really valid point, but i get bored at work and i'd rather be irritated than fall asleep.

stelfox, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 11:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i was really let down by the second bangs book - that dylan piece was one of the worst, actually.

mystery train seems sort of thin next to marcus's later work (which i really like, mostly), but the "presliad" is still worth reading.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 11:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Richard Meltzer "A Whore Just Like the Rest" is about my fav book by anyone, not that I give a fuck about his taste in music (he likes THE DOORS), just his ideas overall. I reread it more or less constantly.

Andrew Blood Thames (Andrew Thames), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 11:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Cat Fancy, July 2002 issue.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 11:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Richard Meltzer "A Whore Just Like the Rest" is about my fav book by anyone

controversial choice. could see you banned from ilm

stelfox, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 11:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't like books about music.

Jimmybommy JimmyK'KANG (Nick Southall), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 11:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i go back and forth on goldman - he really didn't know a thing about rock (he started out as a jazz critic), but that gave his writing sort of a weird, alien perspective that i thought was really interesting. he was kind of a bad writer (in the sense that his syntax always sounds garbled) but he came up with some really marvelous phrases that i can never get out of my mind. i've never been able to find his disco book, though it sounds like the ideal subject for him.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 11:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

there are a few meltzer fans on ilm dave - has anyone got hold of his 'autumn rhythm' collection btw - read a review of it a couple of months ago.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 11:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

tim lawrence has some interesting things to say about goldman and not very flattering, either.

stelfox, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 12:07 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Andrew Holleran - 'Dancer From The Dance' - great novel about disco in NYC.

Greg Tate - 'Flyboy In The Buttermilk'.

John Corbett - 'Extended Play'

Edmundo (Edmundo), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 12:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Btw, would appreciate being pointed in direction of online presence of CSM/Ian MacDonald double-header review of 'Low' - originally in NME.

Edmundo (Edmundo), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 12:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract for methodology, and Meltzer and Marcus's prefaces to The Aesthetics of Rock (I don't understand most of the rest).
In particular from Meltzer, I love:
"Rock, when it's totally, gloriously on, can go from A to Z - no sweat - instantaneously. [Cites examples, including the Doors.] Today, whatever I hear has trouble doing a credible A. Jazz can at least always be counted on for a good solid A, and usually B, C, D as well. (Dub: A, sometimes also B.)"
In my mind, that gets to the heart of the matter like nothing else, except I like more music today than he does.

dr. phil (josh langhoff), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 12:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I think my favorite tom piece is his "all music is bad" article, although his smiths/mazarin essays are fab too

fernando, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 12:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah Dr P I love that bit too. That Kogan thing is superbish so far, everyone go read it

Andrew Blood Thames (Andrew Thames), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 12:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

This Is Uncool

piscesboy, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 12:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Dave (Stelfox) would you consider your own ideas about music to differ that strongly from what you consider to be the ILM "canon"?

(i realise this question may come across as somehow personally involved since I'm mentioned at the top of the thread, but I'm more just curious than anything else. I accept that you feel like an outsider but I would never have considered your writing about music to be somehow contrary to some hypothetical ILM guiding principles - whoever is defining them)

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 13:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Dave Rimmer's Like Punk Never Happened

scott pl. (scott pl.), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 13:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

So...what IS the Gladys Knight and the Pips rule, as mentioned in the question? Can anyone summarise it in a few lines? Does anyone know what it is?

I'm wondering if there's some sort of Universal law involved.

hobart paving (hobart paving), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 13:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Dave Rimmer's Like Punk Never Happened

Oh my god yes, without any question. Matos and I are united on this point.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 13:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Greg Tate, "The Electric Miles: Parts 1 and 2,"
Downbeat, July and August 1983.

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 13:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

(aaah, sorry for xposting.
there's already tate's entire "flyboy" listed upthread)

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 13:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

trust me tim, it's not a personal matter and i should have said with a few notable exceptions. i enjoyed your work long before i started to contribute to ilm and will continue to do so, the main reason being because there's a real sense of joy in it and a feeling that the music is actually important, not just a vehicle for your ego. i get that from very very few people round these here parts.

stelfox, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 14:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

a feeling that the music is actually important, not just a vehicle for your ego

This is an interesting distinction. How is importance defined?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 14:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i could say alot more but it'll piss people off and i don't want to do tha, plus i'm derailing this thread and i don't want to do that, either. guess i was just interested to see someone saying something was essential, then realising they'd broken an unspoken ilm rule, could be accused of being *canonical* and having to backtrack. forget it.

stelfox, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 15:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't really think that having a canon and being in favour of canons is the same thing.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 15:07 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

stelfox: can't speak for others, but i'm more interested in personal crit-view formation, like i said (see first line of question).

(you can do penance by suggesting books on reggae or dancehall or some jamaican music axis, which i would v. much appreciate since every time you post to a dancehall thread i get out my notebook).

also does anybody know what happened to the archives of Addicted To Noise? can we bully Da Capo into publishing them?

Dave M. (rotten03), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 15:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

as in, of course in any community there's gonna be stuff that is loved by many, thus canons are established. And since a lot of ppl on ILM love, say, Girls Aloud or Dexy's Midnight Runners, defense of those groups will be more strong than of others where opinion is more split, and as a consequence ppl who dislike 'em will feel less inclined to say so, because arguing against tons of ppl by yourself is sort of an acquired taste. The aspect of canonisation that some ILM headz hate though, I think, is the idea that anyone who dislikes whatever is being canonised is objectively WRONG. And I don't think that most Girls Aloud or Dexy's supporters on here would really believe that, even though in practice it might look that way.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 15:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

though you know it's always hard to tell when canonisation is done jokingly and when it's actual bullying, and that goes for represenatives of the "oficial" Rock canon as much as it does for ILMers (ts "if you dislike (x), you hate Rock & Roll!" vs "if you dislike (x), you hate fun!"

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 15:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

(uhm, err, "Where Did Our Love Go?" is a really good book.)

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 15:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

my favorite Tom piece is very short, but instantly burned itself on my brain when first i read it. now i can't totally hate on Phil Collins, though.

Dave M. (rotten03), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 15:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

books by the late Robert Palmer (who wrote for the NY Times, not the singer)

I think there's another thread where someone mentioned reggae and dancehall books...

steve-k, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 15:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

wake the town and tell the people by norman c stoltzoff is okay if a bit dry, bass culture by lloyd bradley is pretty decent, too. incidentally, i'm trying to get a book deal together, more or less as we speak. for weight of info you really can't fault steve barrow's rough guide to reggae, but there's precious little real critical writing abt dancehall. dunno why - there's a lot of material to work with.

stelfox, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 15:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

freaky trigger I love and loved: 'arthur russell', the strokes articles ('is this it?', 'you have three minutes to amaze me'), 'tiffany', 'are you going?', 'he said trust me...', 'I remember blind joe death', 'passion victims', 'ten songs which were not written by they might be giants...', 'one beat', 'freak like we', 'southern hummingbird'. ok.

cºzen (Cozen), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 16:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"And since a lot of ppl on ILM
love, say, Girls Aloud or Dexy's Midnight Runners"

I had no idea this was true. I'll be leaving now. hahaha! Just kidding. I don't even know what girls aloud is. maybe i love them too. and i did own the 45 of come on eileen when i was a kid.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 16:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Girls Aloud are the lastest crap pop group it's OK for hipsters to claim they like

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 17:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i've never heard sugababes either. do they even release sugababes in the u.s.? i did like the t.a.t.u. album of course. and i am a hipster. so i might like this stuff.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 17:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Best writing on this thread: "...arguing against tons of ppl by yourself is sort of an acquired taste."

nabisco (nabisco), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 17:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink


I should mention that Kelefa Sennah (sp.) piece on Jay-Z that's in De Capo's best of 2002.

djdee2005, Tuesday, 7 September 2004 18:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

scott: Sugababes have a song on the Love Actually soundtrack that i heard a lot here, called "Too Lost In You". someone needs to do a Rough Guide To Girls Aloud, because i feel like checking them out.

and dee you're right, but the Elizabeth Mendez-Berry piece on Jay 'Classic Material' just !KILLS!, as does that entire book.

Dave M. (rotten03), Tuesday, 7 September 2004 23:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Classic Material is pretty great.

djdee2005, Wednesday, 8 September 2004 00:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I have nothing to add off the top of my head, but great thread, thanks for the tips everyone.

artdamages (artdamages), Wednesday, 8 September 2004 20:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

My reviews of 3DO's Army Men games are required reading.

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Wednesday, 8 September 2004 20:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Here's Chuck's Gladys Knight & the Pips Rule (which is his way of restating Meltzer's "The rock 'n' roll experience must combine both the awesome and the trivial in order for either facet to be potent"):

In "Midnight Train to Georgia," which everybody I've ever met acknowledges as a great record, the frivolousness of the Pips doing their train-whistle ooo-woos (especially if you're watching it on TV and they're gesturing and spinning around in unison at the same time) is what keeps Gladys's soul singing down-to-earth. Without the Pips, Gladys would be merely "intense" - not catchy enough, therefore boring, therefore not intense at all, really. Calling music "intense" or "emotional" or "soulful" is usually a euphemism for "it seems like something I'm supposed to like." It's fairly obvious that the Pips alone would be an ignorable proposition; my point is that Gladys alone would be just as ignorable. And, in fact, the problem with most soul music is that it's all-Gladys/no-Pips: e.g., '60s Aretha Franklin subscribed to the fallacy that by removing shlockish prettiness from music (Dionne Warwick's "I Say A Little Prayer," say) you improve it, when really you just make it more reverent....

Then again, since rock'n'roll is a leisure time activity, there are inevitably people who act like music should be all Pips/no-Gladys. But that wouldn't work, either, since Gladysness is where music's tragedy comes from. As often as not, I need moroseness or violence in my disco. My sense of humor's fine, but the trash-aesthetic concept of forced insignificance (where ideas and passion and audacity are shrugged off as "pretentious") isn't fun - it's lazy.

Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Wednesday, 8 September 2004 22:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Best writing on this thread: "...arguing against tons of ppl by yourself is sort of an acquired taste."

I was gonna say "because no one enjoys arguing against tons of ppl by yourself" and then I realised oh wait, some ppl *do* enjoy that and sometimes I do, too, but most of the time most ppl don't.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Wednesday, 8 September 2004 23:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

I've been reading Steve Almond's Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life. Enjoying it so far, and it seems to be way up ILM's alley (a book about being an obsessive music fan / sometimes professional music critic).

Mordy, Sunday, 25 April 2010 23:44 (seven years ago) Permalink

Criticism of Criticism

ksh, Monday, 26 April 2010 00:06 (seven years ago) Permalink

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