Favourite Music Reads of the ’00s: #22 (Dense Verbiage)

“Good try, Jon Voight, John Turturro, and Dennis Miller, but the closest thing we’ve got to Howard Cosell right now is Alanis. Much like even non-football fans used to be mesmerized by Cosell’s genius for never using two words when 23 would do, you don’t have to be a love-damaged 17-year-old girl to find Under Rug Swept‘s dense verbiage a trip. Words tumble forth and arrange themselves kaleidoscopically into all sorts of unusual categories. Multi-Syllable We-Can’t-Even-Think-of-a-Word-That-Rhymes Words: ‘communicative,’ ‘connectedness,’ ‘reciprocity,’ ‘vacillated.’ D-Verbs That Nobody Ever Really Uses: ‘derive,’ ‘divulge,’ ‘dispel,’ ‘disarm,’ ‘discern’ (what, no ‘delineate’?). Support-Group Thanks-for-Sharing Words: ‘engage in dialogue,’ ‘provide forums,’ ‘conflict resolution,’ ‘playing the victim,’ ‘survival mode,’ ‘midlife crisis.’ Ambivalence-Is-Maybe-Possibly-a-Sign-of-Wisdom Words: ‘not necessarily,’ ‘supposed,’ ‘so-called,’ ‘essentially,’ ‘conditional.’ Alanis-Must’ve-Made-These-Up Words: ‘ungood,’ ‘arms-lengthing.’ Perfectly useful, a lot of them, and the point definitely isn’t that dumb is better or purer than smart. I’m just not sure that pop music should come out of a thesaurus. ‘(I Can’t Derive No) Satisfaction,’ ‘Thank You for Engaging in Dialogue With Me Africa,’ ‘A Person I’ve Been Spending Time With in a Romantic Way’s Back’ — the world’s a better place without them.”
– Phil Dellio, Thesaurus in My Pocket, Village Voice (2002)

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