Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Black Sabbath: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath


I'm in the middle of gorging myself with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by Black Sabbath. Not light stuff, not frivolous stuff, as is commonly supposed, and all about man's inhumanity to man. In fact, listening to Black Sabbath in a recession this never-ending and steep is a stern reminder, to those of us who have spent our lives writing partly about hetero sex and relationships, that there is other essential terrain to be covered. In a human landscape incorrigibly and invariably at least partially dominated by killing and killers, who are the killers, and what happens in their brains? How are they able to rationalize what they do? Can they? The tenor of this album, thematically, is claustrophobic and dour, but honest, and honestly about taking an approach to songwriting grounded in the grimmest, most primeval levels of human reality.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Jamendo and Ardent


Six tunes from Ardent now qualify as hits on Jamendo: 4 Elliott, Midnight Blues, Brown Eyes Like His, Doorstep, Bullett, and Ardent (title track, biggest hit). Thanks to Jamendo and my listeners there.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Return of Brown Eyes


Proud to say that, as of June 22, Brown Eyes Like His has climbed back onto the Soundclick charts and landed at #17, my first Soundclick placement in top 20 territory; and Brown Eyes has also reached the Top 100 in the overall Alternative Chart (#96), which weighs higher on Soundclick than the sub-generic chart. Do I feel like The Nazz? Why not. The Nazz, and/or totally anonymous. Happy summer!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Death of the (Song) Author


It is a commonplace of Deconstructionist literary theory: Roland Barthes' signature piece, The Death of the Author, awakened readers to the idea that the cult of literary authorship is a partly fallacious one. We create the book, as we read it; readers are authors, too. Why shouldn't this apply to popular music? One of my late conclusions about the popular song is this: popular music, as it rings down the ages, is meant to be completely anonymous. Songs get passed from generation to generation in an anonymous fashion, and cults of personalities around pop stars can never work over long periods of time, for a simple reason (Barthes' literary rationale is more complex): what popular music is, is accessible, as pop songs are relatively easy to play and write, and many people can write good popular music. There's no need for it to be individualized, because so many individuals are competent songwriters. Pop music is meant to just float. If you let, for example, the Stones better albums ring down the proverbial ages for a period of time, what the Stones need to be is a nebulous, ambiguous entity, with the music at the front. Coffee table books, trade journals, stooge criticism, and large media reputations need not apply. No one needs to know the names Mick and Keith: for the Stones best music to survive, there can be no Mick and Keith. To watch the Stones float, watch how their songs and albums take up space, as they remain anonymous. The spirit of totalized anonymity which animates the best popular music is ready to take over, one feels, in 2017, and (I think) this is for the best.