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Reading With Sea

A book club on your own time

Last year, I started going through literary and music criticism and I read Rob Sheffield’s Love as a Mixtape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time.  Prior to cracking its cover I had positive anticipations, but I found I had to coarse myself along to the finish line.  It is Rob Sheffield I am talking about here.  Contributing editor of Rolling freakin’ Stone and he is writing his love story through the songs on his mixtapes.  How could that have gone sour, but it did – for me at least.  I have heard people raving about this book and normally I enjoy Sheffield’s work, but not on this occasion.  I found this book void.  The subject matter was deeply emotional, yet I found a disconnect in the relationship between his writing and the subject.  Space existed; dissonance resounded.  I do not know if this is a product of the difficulty of that which he wrote about.

If Neko Case, Jolie Holland, the collective units of The Eastern Sea, States of Mate or The Choir of Young Believers ever came out with a book like this I would be all over it.  Better yet, if Melissa Febos writes a book like this I am certain I would have nothing but praise to offer as I would willingly bet money that her taste in music is of parallel achievement to her writing.  I’d also be interested in Denis Johnson collection of mixtapes and Jon Cotner’s.  I have read Nick Hornby’s music criticism and I will stick to enjoying his literary criticism.  It wasn’t expansive enough.

I do not mind when and in fact enjoy an author who chews on an idea throughout their career since we all have ideas/feelings/pursuits weaved within our cores that we are constantly searching out.  What I am getting at is that I get carried away with authors who are sweeping.  I want an author who is moved by more than one particular thing, or in this case type of music.  I have nothing against Billy Joel and happen to listen to hims myself, but is there more?  By George, there is.  Give me someone who can write about Jonsi’s new solo album, Go then move on to The Capitols’ Wild Thing, then Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan’s Shotgun Blues and back to the Tune-Yard’s Hatari. At that point I will be interested.  I want to hear about someone who has an ear for a great song regardless if it’s rock, blues, indie-rock, hip-hop, or worldly.


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