Some Sound Advice

Just finished reading a book that was a Christmas present from my girlfriend. It’s called There, I said it – Bob Dylan is overrated. She knows the author/editor (Joshua Shelov), I forget how. Maybe she knows somebody who knows him.

Anyway, for me, the book concept gets an A. The execution, maybe a C. It’s some disappointingly short essays by different intelligent folks (some ESPN people, film people, actual professional musicians, etc.) each taking a personal crack at an untouchable artist.

The Dylan essay is good (by the author/editor, presumably where the entire project began). I like the Steely Dan essay. I think the Stevie Wonder essay is well done.

On the contrary, the Beatles essay never gives any kind of concrete reason whatsoever for not liking The Beatles. The Billy Joel author’s essay proves to me that the guy knows way too much about Billy Joel’s music to hate it. (Plus, he tries way too hard to be funny, as do some others.)

Frankly, I think the four founding Remnants would do a much better job producing the same book.

Go buy it if you’re intrigued. My girlfriend would be happy you supported Joshua Shelov. It’s certainly a quick and easy read.

Within the book, there’s mention of “a bit floating around the internet, with Dave Grohl railing against American Idol, how it’s destroying music, and so on.” As sad as I think it is (in more ways than one) that Dave Grohl seems to be the only official spokesman for rock ‘n’ roll anymore, I had to find it.

This is the best match I could find. Perhaps you’ve seen this a million times already; I had not. Although I wish it were nastier and more direct, as a guy who certainly believes the popular music of today is firmly in the shitter, it speaks much truth.

6 thoughts on “Some Sound Advice

  1. Don’t make me watch Joe Jackson. He’s better than Billy Joel I grant you. I guess he qualifies as another piano player with two first names: Billy Joel, Elton John, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis has three, Stevie Wonder’s real last name is Morris, I can’t think of any others off the top of my head but there are others.

    Two responses to the state of music (and everything else): 1) discover and disseminate that which is good, 2) do something about it yourself. I’m fucking trying.

  2. True. Joe relented with Steppin’ Out, right?

    But, think you are vastly underestimating Jackson, Gene. Solid songwriter and fantastic musician and live performer with a crack good band. Seen him live and puts on a great show, and not an Elton John type. Very low key: he was wearing a duster, as i remember, outside at the Greek theater in Berkeley.

  3. I’m playing regularly too now, Gene. It’s just a silly little classic hard rock cover band, but I’ll put up a video one day. You guys will get a laugh out of it, for sure.

    Was also thinking, ironically enough, if I were to write an essay on an untouchable, iconic band that doesn’t grab me very much, I could definitely do Foo Fighters.

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