Sunday, March 13, 2005

jukebox

I've never read a better book about popular music than Geoffrey O'Brien's brilliant, moving Sonata for Jukebox. He gives us a memoir of music. All the sounds he heard as a child. The few moments of silence. Radio. Records. A piano. Theme music from TV shows. The Ice Cream truck jingle. His family's broad and obsessive musical interests. Music is with us always but it has taken Geoffrey O'Brien to teach us how very important it is and how strong a claim it deserves on our attention.
He expresses strong preferences. The first chapter is a spirited defense of Burt Bacharach, a composer so many in my generation loathed without listening to for cultural rather than musical reasons. Know this, O'Brien has heard and listened to just about everything that has passed for music in his lifetime. He has an original take on everything he talks about, and it's probably better than your take. This guy really sends you back to your stereo, listening to your favorites like it was your very first time.

Mister Nouse

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