just one more book lover
This is a lively history of pop music since 1989. If you think Katy Perry is great or you hate the Backstreet Boys, you will find out why in this book.
Or so the featured music producers like Denniz PoP and Max Martin would like you to think. This is a story about that segment of pop music where the artist is usually a pretty girl or boy whose sound and look are a creation of the producer and his team.
This is a story about songwriting simplified to a formula, where words are units of melody and melody is married to the beat.
The writer looks at sound factories in Sweden, America and Korea. He follows the careers of the major Svengali producers and the acts whose hits they have manufactured, including Kelly Clarkson (who fought against the constraints), Rihanna, Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry and a more recent Taylor Swift.
Spotify, the streaming music company, also gets a chapter.
You might become cynical about the music industry after this. You might get inspiration for your Ableton compositions. You might run out to see a real loose garage band or singer-songwriter just to prove to yourself that other kinds of music are out there.
But you won't look at today's music hits the same after reading this book.
Neil Gaiman is Mr Cool. Love any talk he gives because he blends humor, literary history, anecdote and insight.
In this talk he speaks with Chip Kidd on the anniversary of Sandman. Talk of origins, influences and storyline. There is even time for a William Shatner impression.
The story goes that Dylan got booed off the Newport stage in 1965 for plugging in.
The author digs thru the history to set the record straight. It has been set straight before, but this is the Audible version and an abbreviated one that doesn't come embedded in a longer history of Dylan.
The audience booed when Dylan was on. Pete Seeger did threaten to wield an axe. Folklorist Alan Lomax and Dylan's manager Albert Grossman did trade blows at some point. But the why of the myth and the why of fact are not one and the same, says the author.
Renehan does a good job giving background on the festival and its partipants. He says a lot in a very limited space, and stays true to his purpose to tell a more factual account. This is not Hunter S.
Thompson mainlining dramatic prose. But the book is a good and precise little history.
The narrator could have used some help with editing. Another sound editor would have removed the mouth smacking sounds. It happens all the time in audio recording and I didn't really care. But the narrator, if he is doing his own editing, might want to take those out next time.