Monday, March 19, 2007

Neon Bible.

Arcade Fire has a new album out, their second, called Neon Bible. I was ecstatic to hear this as I wore the old one out. Usually I'm on top of this stuff, or someone around reminds me.

That said, I hear of the new album, click over to New Music Express to read the review. Reading the review is not necessary since I have decided to buy the album. But if the review is glowing then I get to feel cool and fashionable for a few extra hours. If the review is scolding then I get to feel righteous and indignant, for what do they know about my tastes? Those elitists who can never be content, etc...

In fact the review could have been written in a different language and I would still have purchased the album. And in fact it was, kinda.

A lot written in pop mags these days, to borrow from Orwell, is "saying a lot without saying anything at all."

Here's a snippet from the review, about the song titled, Antichrist Television Blues:

"...while the fantastic blue-collar factory rattle of "(Antichrist Television Blues)" is a vibrant exposé of 9/11 paranoia from the point of view of a terrified stage parent that also, crucially, manages to rock like Bruce Springsteen doing the dirty boogaloo with a teenage Courteney Cox. In hell, obviously."

Obviously this writer is talented. I'm awestruck by the juxtaposition of images. But what do we know about the song? This is akin to the Director who tries for amazing shots. The audience walks out of theater saying, "Those upside down shots of the mirror from the dog's point-of-view were amazing." Great, but did you like the story?

(If you're involved in the story you do not notice the shot, you live the shot with the Hero of the story. As you go in for the kiss on a first date you do not notice the color of lipstick she's wearing - for to notice takes you out of the moment.)

The critic, an expert in the field, is hired to express his opinion.

The problem here is everyone can have an opinion on music, and therefore the critic must distinguish himself from the masses by creating surreal imagery. "Sure you can write about a song, but you cannot write like this." I suppose the Editor compounds the problem, for the critic that says, "Take my word, this is a keeper" doesn't seem to fly for the gatekeepers of what's cool and fashionable. To them, the words have to be as glossy as the advertisements.

Yet, one man's take is exactly what I'm looking for.

Maybe, however, it's just really hard to write about music, since if the feelings and emotions and themes of the song could be crystallized in words, it would cease to be music - and would therefore be fiction.

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