Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dancing about Architecture

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." The author of the quote is unknown (Elvis Costello and Frank Zappa are among the allegedly responsible), but I think it's a rather provincial proposition. To the average person on the street, I'm sure that a dance about architecture would appear absurd. However, we have used one medium to describe another since the beginning of time, so why not use the written word to express music?
I'm not going to expound on this matter much further, because, as a reader of this blog, you know that I love to write about music. However, I encourage you to check out the 2009 music issue of The Believer, the literary magazine from McSweeney's. As in past issues, the volume contains a mix CD with detailed insights on each track. However, the articles in the 2009 music issue, in my opinion, are far superior to those from the 2008 and 2007 issues (There are more, of course, but I've only been reading The Believer since 2007). I've only read about half of it, but each piece has been compelling and thoroughly researched (the segment on The Lawrence Welk Show was much more interesting than I expected it to be). Arthur Phillips' exposition, "Dancing about Architecture,"[FULL ARTICLE] is illuminating and thought-provoking, my favorite article in the issue so far, and maybe one of the best ruminations on writing-about-music that I've ever read. Pick up a copy Here, read Phillips' piece, and share your thoughts!

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