Category Archives: Passions & Attitudes

Outro #4: On Paying Tribute

What good does it do to pay tribute? What does it accomplish to declare to the world that you see the worth of something, that you thrill to it? The question seems pressing to me after my last post, which … Continue reading

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Great Love, “My man”: Laura Nyro, “Tom Cat Goodby” (1969)

What would it be like to hear real love in music? What would declare it adequately? Would there be a sound of ecstatic transport–soaring high notes, a fluttering up and down scales, Melisma City? Or would there be a sound … Continue reading

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Creepy Love #2, “So fine”: Jefferson Airplane, “Watch Her Ride” (1967)

I knew with my last post I’d taken at least one too many swipes at love in song, and it was past time to go positive on this topic. But getting there isn’t easy: the next great trope I think … Continue reading

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The Creepiest Love Trope: The Philosopher Kings, “All To Myself” (1994)

This is not exactly a neglected topic, but you know how it is: you hear a song you really like and it starts you thinking again. Concerning the nature of creepiness in love, for my opening move I’ll suggest that … Continue reading

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The Greatest Point: Nilsson, “The Most Beautiful World In The World” (1972)

Even joke music means something, right? Because otherwise, why go to the trouble of striking a jokey attitude? You’re making some kind of run at what you’re joking about. It’s all for fun, we know, but . . . what … Continue reading

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Experimental: Pere Ubu, “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” (1975)

You’re in a hole-in-the-wall record shop rooting around in a singles bin and you find a release by Pere Ubu (Pere Ubu!) called “30 Seconds Over Tokyo.” That’s the hook, for starters: you don’t know why an underground Cleveland band … Continue reading

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Outro #3: Good and Evil in the Garden of Hooks

What does it all mean? I don’t believe in metaphysics as a way of defining good and evil, but I do think we have a stubborn tendency to make a distinction like this: Good = strong, shining, connecting Evil = … Continue reading

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