Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Music Writing and the Death of Blogs

My buddy Erik just wrote an article about the Death of Blogs. I capitalize that because it appears to be a phenomenon that has captured the attention of the media, who, as a general rule, try to Make Things More Portentous Than They Really Are. Anybody remember Y2K? Like Davey Crockett coonskin caps, like Pet Rocks, blogs are said to be a passing fad, one that captured the public imagination and attention for a few years, and that now appears to have (mostly) run its course.

I'm not entirely convinced. Or convinced at all, for that matter, although I know many people who have abandoned their blogs. This is because people will continue to discover the joy of writing, and because blogs provide the perfect Vanity Press. The people who don't particularly care about writing will stop writing. And the people who do care will continue to write, and many of them will continue to write in their blogs, where they are assured an audience of at least one, which is as good as it ever gets with Dear Diary.

Aside from one's personal edification, though, blogs offer a bounty of information. I love music. And there are several blogs I check every day because they consistently yield new and interesting musical information: Stereogum, My Old Kentucky Blog, Largehearted Boy, Aquarium Drunkard, and Brooklyn Vegan. There are many others I check with slightly less frequency.

And here's some more news. The best music writing today is found on blogs, not in print magazines, which are often forced to truncate or otherwise mangle the writing because of word length restrictions and editorial constraints. Here are three great examples. These folks are not famous. They don't earn their living by writing about music. But they offer insight, and something more; beauty in the way they string the nouns and verbs together, life in the way they understand that things like power chords and backbeats can transform a mundane day into a glorious day.

Here is Michael Atchison at Teenage Kicks on why Bruce Springsteen still matters.

Here is Kelly Foster, English teacher, on the ineffable power of rock 'n roll.

Here is Josh Hurst, seminarian, on music as storytelling, and a storyteller named Loudon Wainwright III.

Blogs are doing just fine.


Joel said...

Though selfishly I hope blogs don't completely replace print magazines someday. Blogs don't pay very well. Then again, neither do print publications...

Anonymous said...

Three cheers for blogs!

Michael Atchison said...


Thanks for the kind and flattering words. And you're right. As long as people want to enthuse and communicate, blogs won't go anywhere.

Anonymous said...

You're right. If anything, it seems as if blogs will (very soon) become a "respectable alternative" to the even more ephemeral phenomena of texting and twittering.

I think I'll change my Facebook status to say that. :-)

Natsthename said...

Fabulous finds! Thanks for pointing me to those posts. Vive la bloggers!