Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

22 February 2014

Fear of Music (33 1/3) by Jonathan Lethem [2012]

This is a book of beautifully-written criticism of an early album by Talking Heads, one of my favourite bands.  

Jonathan Lethem goes through each song on the album, chapter by chapter, tying everything back to his first experience of listening to the album in 1979.  It's difficult to describe the writing - it is incredibly densely written, each page of prose like a rich, complex meal.  It is very personal and evocative and the images and associations Lethem creates seem to bleed from the music onto the page.

I had never heard of the author, but I looked him up and discovered that he holds the same professorship at Pomona that David Foster Wallace held.  This link makes a lot of sense to me, as his discursive intelligence jumps off the page in the same way.

This book is a great example of how to write intelligent (and non-obvious) criticism. It's impossible to read at one sitting because it's like reading prose poetry. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Talking Heads - this book will make you want to listen to the album again.