Sunday Morning Coming Down #Seventeen


• "All of (Jenny Lewis's) records are challenging and firmly committed to a unique aesthetic, but to me, that’s what truly great and timeless artists thrive on: the ability to be subversive while never losing or diluting what the audience loved about them in the first place." Katie Crutchfield dishes about her Jenny Lewis jones at The Talkhouse.

• "It has become conventional wisdom that fashion is a platform that is increasingly crucial as either a springboard to stardom (see: Kerry Washington and Lupita Nyong’o, both of whom have discussed the red carpet as a key tool in an actress’s arsenal) or a way to sustain a career beyond stardom (see: Kate Hudson and Sharon Stone). But what the Beyoncé Paradox suggests is that this may not, in fact, be entirely true." Vanessa Friedman considers Beyoncé's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame museum appearance for the New York Times.

• "Many students would complain of the books being too difficult to find, and Sun Ra would respond that it was the point, because they contained "the secret history of the earth." Sun Ra was a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley in 1971, and here's his reading list, courtesy of Chart Attack.

• "Whence comes relatability? A hundred years ago, if someone said something was “relatable,” she meant that it could be told—the Shakespearean sense of “relate”—or that it could be connected to some other thing. As recently as a decade ago, even as “relatable” began to accrue its current meaning, the word remained uncommon. The contemporary meaning of “relatable”—to describe a character or a situation in which an ordinary person might see himself reflected—first was popularized by the television industry." Only tangentially related to music, but nevertheless an excellent read from Rebecca Mead on the scourge of judging artworks on their 'relatability' (via The New Yorker).

• "Spoon seems to look at rock songs analytically and figure out ways to deconstruct them, as a molecular gastronomist might do with a traditional recipe. Riffs and instruments stand out in Spoon’s songs, individual sounds in empty space. The result is that their songs deliver a pure rush of musical elation, the distillation of rock music, in the way that sea-urchin foam on an avant-garde restaurant’s plate provides a diner with the essential flavor of ocean. Spoon delivers the power of familiar songs without actually sounding that much like other rock music at all." Dan Kois examines molecular gastronomists Spoon for the New York Times Magazine.

• "Brown earned every bit of his self-regard, and the film’s great failure is that it doesn’t show us how. Treating Brown’s personality as the interesting thing about him means that Taylor doesn’t end up saying much about Brown’s music, the fascinating way it was made, or the colossal effect it had on the culture around it. As far as Get On Up is concerned, James Brown was an unstoppable personality more than he was a musician; the film suffers from the Great Man theory of funk." Douglas Wolk gets on down with Get On Up for Slate.

• "In New Orleans, you had to play for all different kinds of people. You played bar mitzvahs, you played at the universities, you played jazz, you played the street music, Latin music. I didn’t know that my repertoire for music was so vast until I came to New York." RIP Idris Muhammad, remembered in an interview with Eothen Alapatt for Wax Poetics.

• "The sphere of the kitsch must be shrinking, as more and more stuff becomes at least potentially something like 'art' – quite the opposite of Sontag's expectation that "the process of ageing or deterioration" could provide the "necessary detachment" for a camp appreciation. Perhaps this is because the camp sensibility that Sontag regarded as marginal in the early 60s now is mainstream culture. Isn't the arch detachment, the recognition that "'sincerity' is not enough", the "victory of 'style' over 'content', 'aesthetics' over 'morality', of irony over tragedy", the "theatricalisation of experience" – aren't all these tropes now our common property?" Robert Barry on Lou Bega, camp, and guilty pleasures for The Quietus.