Monday, June 15, 2009

A few of the latest reviews of the book.  First up are some comments by longtime critic Roy Trakin – who actually attended the Rock Writers Convention.  Roy was also a celebrity judge in the recent movie documentary Air Guitar Nation...highly recommended!  A great laugh.  Maybe next there will be an international "air drums" competition with the drum break from September Girls part of the compulsories.  

Next is a review from Memphis Flyer,a local arts weekly which sparked this observation. Rock writers often focus on lyrics because they work with words.  They have what they perceive as a common – perhaps even – ground with the lyricist – a keyboard with letters, not musical notes.  Once the instruments come out of the cases, the writer is usually just another guy who wishes he could play guitar.  The actual focus of those involved in the creation of Radio City was on the sound, the recording, and the song structures so that's what I decided to write about.  When I ran my overall thoughts about the lyrics to Radio City by Alex Chilton and he said that he agreed wholeheartedly with my take, I didn't feel a need to explore the lyrical themes much beyond their casual impressionist nature.  To start looking at them line by line would have reminded me as to why I switched my college major from English to Political Science in 1971 – the head of the department couldn't read anything without ascribing five layers of meaning and symbolism that if the author really intended, he would never have finished the book.  Rock lyrics are more often than one might think just a bunch of words put together around an idea.  And often what you hear on first listen is all there is to get...Which doesn't make September Gurls or Back In The Saddle (just heard Aerosmith on the radio - what does the song really mean? I dunno - some guy is back in the saddle and riding a killer riff – the title and whatever words I can pick up match the vibe precisely and that's all that matters ) any less worthy than something by Patti Smith channeling Rimbaud.  

And about the typos that have been mentioned above and elsewhere...I can't tell you how bugged I am about them (and, yes, as the author, I bear some responsibility).  But they're there (kind of like John Bonham's squeeky hi-hat on Moby Dick).  They don't get in the way of material.  And if everyone buys enough copies, we'll fix them in the second edition...:) 

Had a few detours but now back to work on the Powell's piece.  In the meantime, questions and comments welcomed.  

1 comment:

Larry said...

I agree completely (and I got my degree in English). Having said that, "I loved you, well never mind" is perhaps the greatest pop lyric in I've ever heard. It sums up so much in so few words - and specifics aren't really necessary. Proust, in contrast, took seven volumes.