20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Yeah, this book has a list of songs. But the book isn't about the list. It's about the music. More importantly, it's about the author's opinion's of the music. Dave Marsh is the greatest rock critic who ever lived. He truly loves rock music. And he is an extremely talented writer. He is very well able to communicate his feelings about music to the reader.
Dave doesn't just describe the songs. He also describes his own personal feelings for the songs - why it is that he feels the way that he does about the songs. Every one of these songs means something special to him, and each for a different reason. He also explains that the ordering of the songs is not really that important. The song that he picked for #1 isn't necessarily his all time favorite. In fact he doesn't really have an all time favorite.
Dave hates Reaganism. I mean, he really, really hates Reaganism. And he seems to have this habit of projecting his feelings about this subject on to other people. I mean, who would ever have guessed that the Police's "Every Breath You Take" is a criticism of the Reagan administration? (Dave, if you really believe in free speech, then please consider voting Libertarian! The Democrats in political office are just as much in favor of government censorship as the Republicans. The PMRC, the V-chip, censorship of the internet, etc.)
When I read a lot of the stuff in this book, I often end up saying to myself, "Yeah! That's exactly how I feel." Such as when Dave comments that it's somewhat odd that today's critics of modern music's lyrical content want to return to a more "innocent" era like the 1950s, when, in reality, Little Richard's music from that period was among the crudest, most sexually explicit to ever be recorded. I also agree with Dave that "She Loves You" is one of the Beatles' best songs. Yes, their music did grow more complex as the years went on. But it never got better. I also agree with him that "Love Child" by the Supremes is the best example in rock music of hope, optimism, and upward mobility within the lower class black community.
Dave has a true admiration, love, and respect for the major role that blacks have played in the history of rock music. Although I'm not going to go through the book and count, I would guess that approximately half of all the songs in this book are performed by black artists. And that makes a lot of sense.
Dave explains why he chose to make a list of songs, and not albums. But still, by looking at the songs, one can see a glimpse of what some of Dave's favorite albums might be. For example, the list includes 4 songs from the Pretenders' album "Learning to Crawl." I think that that may be the most songs from any non-compilation album, but I'm not sure. As far as compilations are concerned, Dave seems to be a big fan of Sly and the Family Stone's "Greatest Hits" album, the Motown boxed set "Hitsville U.S.A.," and any of the many Otis Redding compilations. Dave has great taste!
I don't always agree with Dave's opinions. For example, he likes Elvis Presley's version of "Hound Dog" better than Big Mama Thornton's, whereas I prefer Thornton's version. Even so, I still very much enjoyed reading what he wrote on this topic. Even though I don't agree with Dave's opinion, I still give him credit for having the opinion that he has. Besides, taste in music is just that, an opinion. Dave has such an enthusiasm and love of music, and he is so good at expressing his opinions, that even when I don't agree with him, I still love reading what he writes.
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Dave Marsh, the author, is right; however much it looks like one, this isn't a best-of list. It tries to tell a single story (no pun intended), that of pop music in the latter half of the 20th century. According to the introduction, the book intends to change the conversation about this music.
Most critics seem to believe that rock and soul emerged all of a sudden in the 1950's as a marriage of R&B and country music, and evolved in gigantic leaps forward about every 15-20 years, between which nothing much happened. This book, on the other hand, asserts that the music developed slowly, from a huge range of styles, and continued to progress in a more or less unbroken line from that point onward.
That story would make a good book all by itself. Trouble is, The Heart of Rock and Soul is too ambitious - it has a few other stories to tell, too. It wants to teach that modern pop music is not exclusively about rebellion but also about reconciliation; it wants to show that rock and soul is for adults as well as kids; it wants to demonstrate that this music is not just one thing, but many, and that it has survived for that reason. All of this is a pretty tall order, and as good a writer as Dave Marsh is, it's too much for him, especially being cast in list form. (Although, truthfully, I can't think of any other format that would serve better.)
Then there's the fact that despite the author's protestations to the contrary, these essays are pretty conservative. They like the old virtues, such as rhythm and feeling, so they get confused easily when it comes to progressive rock, and the understanding of funk and rap in them is pretty elementary. (Not that my understanding of those styles is much better, but then I didn't write a book.)
So as an academic study, The Heart of Rock and Soul falls short. Where it succeeds brilliantly is in the individual essays. Marsh is very good at combining singles into thematic groups; for instance, he points out that the singer of "My Generation" could easily grow up into the singer of "Born in the USA", and it makes sense. He's unafraid of getting emotional; the grown-up-too-soon girls he remembers when he hears "Soldier Boy" will have you looking at your anonymous neighbors in a whole new light. He uses pop tunes like "Running on Empty" and "Roll Me Away" to reassure us that growing up is not the same as selling out. He explains his reasons for almost ignoring the Coasters, and you grieve for America's lost innocence (it's a cheesy phrase, but you really do). He even finds the reason why that piece of schlock "We Are the World" actually brings a lump to the throat, a discovery which is by itself worth the price of admission - I'd been wondering about that for years.
Best of all is when he gets personal. "Sometimes I feel that Smokey Robinson raised me from a pup." "There are greater tragedies [than the Band's story], but that one's sad enough for me." "My mother taught me to buy singles. Actually, she thought she was teaching me the opposite but you know kids." I've felt things like that, and so have you - like the best pop music, Dave Marsh is most universal when he's most individual. His essay on how he overcame racism by listening to "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" could break your heart.
A near-miss at convincing the mind, and a resounding success at reaching the heart, this book is. I don't know about you, but I like it better this way.
Benshlomo says, Tear down the walls around your soul and some people, at least, will believe you.