Friday, May 12, 2006

Hey, I made it to, sandwiched in between E! Online and Rolling Stone.


KarlandBethany said...


Unknown said...

And a fine review it is....

Andy...I finally got he CD....It's great in the most mopsterish of ways...but now i need your help...

I GOTTA find more Mando Saenz...just gotta

Help mon ami

Andy Whitman said...

Brian, I'm glad you enjoyed the CD. Mando Saenz will be hard to find at most stores. I'd try Amazon:

e said...

"Razing the Bar"
80--Uncle Screwtape

It’s hard to find fault with such a warm, generous and open-hearted collection of blog posts.

Unknown said...

Merci mon ami...

You're turning into a very unfair influence on my CD a week project.

Thanks again, and I'll head to Amazon this minute.

Happy "Married to a Mother" Day


Jon said...

Have you listened to Sufjan's new album yet? I'd love to read your review of it, if you write one.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I haven't listened to the new Simon/Eno CD but I find the commentary on it interesting.

Some years ago I read an article which examined the ages at which certain professions peaked. As expected, physical disciplines such as athletics peaked very early (often in the 20's) whereas intellectual endeavers peaked later (often in the 60's).

Being a pianist, I found it interesting that the concensus was that concert pianists peaked at about the mid 50's.

I would expect from all this that singer/songwriters would peak later than concert pianists, their discipline being much less physical than piano playing. But what I find is that most people, even the critics, believe that singer/songwriters peak in their late 20's to early 30's. Are there any reviewers that suggest that Simon has surpassed his earlier work with Surprise? His age suggests to me that he should be at the very pinnacle of his craft.

And that, in turn, confirms to me that the process of determining what songs are "good" is more subjective than objective. As a culture, we prefer both songwriters and porn stars to be young and dumb- and neither preference has much to do with "art."

Anonymous said...

After reading my last post, I realized that the last sentence was out of line. I didn't mean to suggest in any way that musical criticism is morally questionable. On the contrary, I think that musical criticism adds a badly needed objective component in a field that is highly subjective.

Andy Whitman said...

Fred, these are interesting points, and I'd love to discuss them with you.

Part of the issue with songwriters is that they often have one foot squarely in the entertainment camp, and one foot squarely in the art camp. "Entertainment," particularly as it is marketed these days, is very much about youth and beauty. Art recognizes no such boundaries. Songwriters often occupy that hazy territory between both worlds.

For me, a lot of this has to do with genre. For rootsy musicians, jazz players, blues players, and singer/songwriter folkies, I'd say that age can be a plus, and that songwriters often benefit from additional life experiences. For rock 'n rollers, age is often a detriment, at least partly because they work in a genre that requires a lot of energy and attitude. And after a while, aging rock 'n rollers simply don't pass the strut-and-swagger test. Who wants to see a 62-year-old Mick Jagger parading around in spandex? Not me.

I hear a lot of great music being made by (relatively) young kids. And I hear a lot of great music being made by old farts. It doesn't matter to me. I'm much less concerned about the marketing/image than I am about the music itself, so there's absolutely no reason why both young, passionate kids and old geezers can't make great music. And a lot of them do.

I just reviewed an album by a guy named Johnny Dowd, who is 58 years old. What is interesting about this is that he recorded his first album when he was 50. Up until that point he drove trucks, and eventually started his own moving company. He recorded his first album in the warehouse that holds his moving trucks.

And he's great. He has one of those wonderful, lived-in, world-weary kind of voices like Johnny Cash, and he writes these marvelous seen-some-hard-times songs that I suspect come right out of his life on the road. A 20-year-old couldn't write these kinds of songs and be believable. But a 58-year-old guy can. Conversely, a 58-year-old guy shouldn't be writing "hope I die before I get old" anthems to misspent youth. It's too late.

There's a place for all of it. In any case, I don't prefer my songwriters to be young and dumb. They can be young or old. In neither case, do I want them to be dumb.