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Mstation Book Reviews
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Thu, 01 Dec 2005

Music Writing 2005

JT LeRoy, P Bresnick, Da Capo Best Music Writing 2005,
Da Capo Press

Finding literate commentary on what's happening in music has always been a problem. The few magazines that specialise in such things seem to have short lifespans as advertisers can't seem to believe that intelligent people are a worthwhile market. And publishers get greedy and take their publications downmarket in search of more money... at which point they disappear in a little pinpoint of light. I hope it hurts.

Two interesting things about this collection are reading through where the pieces originally appeared, and the subject matter. The second relates mostly not to now but to years gone by which I find faintly troubling. It's not that there isn't anything to write about -- there's plenty -- even the grossed-out big commercial music things have interesting aspects to examine in writing.

The writings wander amongst post-modern studies of Black Minstrelsy, Bob Dylan moments, Punk, Curt Cobain, the last days of Ray Charles, Wilco and spy broadcasts, and many more. Nicely done they are too even if, in some circumstances, it is a little difficult to work up the same enthusiasm the author has for a certain subject.

The first point was where to find such stories when they first appear -- what mags should you subscribe to? The answer is that the writings are thinly spread and come from everything from the New Yorker to the Austin_American Statesman.

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