“what even is a review?”

A formidable question, posed by Mark Sinker at Freaky Trigger, and a fetching/daunting examination of its many contours and contradictions. The surgery begins with a complaint (from a friend of Mark’s) about Nick Tosches’ review of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid in Rolling Stone, I think because Tosches seems to not address the record itself. Which leads to a trail of thought that includes Flaubert, the Grotesque … Continue reading “what even is a review?”

Lester on Ringo & George (Hi-Fi Stereo Review)

The above appeared in the June 1975 issue of Stereo Review (formerly Hi-Fi Stereo Review), now archived here. The letters are in reference to a Bangs twin review, from March ’75 (one I’ve never seen before) of Harrison’s Dark Horse and Ringo’s Goodnight Vienna (a “metal-flake glow-in-the-dark music box”). More links to HFSR stuff ahead. Continue reading Lester on Ringo & George (Hi-Fi Stereo Review)

“In the ’70s, directions are unclear…”

No author cited in this AP piece from May 28, 1976, conveying mostly confusion and disillusionment (“a certain sadness,” admits Bill Graham). I’m trying to square the sentiments here with Christgau’s notion of “semipopular” but I’m not getting too far (in part because I haven’t thought that deeply about Christgau’s notion of “semipopular,” but I’m thinking that I should). Whether or not it’s too obvious … Continue reading “In the ’70s, directions are unclear…”

Pop as a Sickness

“People sometimes ask why a serious, well-educated, intellectual fellow such as me wastes his time and enthusiasm on the most insignificant passing trends and the most contrived, trashy music he can find. And I don’t know what to say. I just can’t get into George Harrison, Seals & Crofts or even Van Morrison and the Band. I like that stuff, but it simply doesn’t excite … Continue reading Pop as a Sickness