by carl wilson

Chaining Miss Daisy 2
(More Interconnected Miscellany)

... And speaking of (I'm gonna see how many times I can do this) 33 1/3, I'm tickled to tell you that besides the sample-chapter offer, Continuum is holding a contest related to my book: You have to guess where in the sales figures on the series my volume will rank by the end of March (2008) - where, that is, between the series' perennial No. 1, the Neutral Milk Hotel book, and the current lowest-ranker, on A Tribe Called Quest (race-and-indie-rock polemicists, start your engines!), a book on Celine Dion and the sociology of taste will wind up a few months after publication. The prediction that comes closest will win you 10 free 33 1/3 books of your choice! Send your guesses to predictingceline AT yahoo DOT com by December 1.

And speaking of Celine, my review of her new album Taking Chances appears today in The Globe and Mail. The piece is kind of odd, as I realized in the process that nothing I could write about Celine that would take the book into account would actually make sense to readers unless they had read the book. (I figured out after the fact that I shoulda just dealt with that head-on, but too late now.) So don't expect anything too rad - it's mainly just a record review, which only obliquely addresses the mystery of her simultaneous popularity and unpopularity, the question that drives the book. I gave Taking Chances three out of four stars more on whim than anything else: Star ratings are always arbitrary but in the context of having written the book, it feels especially absurd with Celine - what is it being rated relative to: fan expectations, her past work, LCD Soundsystem, Balls of Fury, diptheria, IKEA? (I decided to rate it relative to the extent to which it opaquely fulfills various theses in the book.) There are a couple of tracks on it I like as much as anything she's ever done, in a way, but that's because I'm meant to.

And returning to (damn, broke the chain) the questions of ambition, "retreat" and so forth in current alternative rock/adult alternative/indiemacallit, an entry on musical "dealbreakers" on Carrie Brownstein's new blog for NPR, Monitor Mix, is four-on-the-floor: "My deal-breaker is preciousness: when the music is a tiny, baby bird that needs us to be nurturing and respectful, otherwise it can't spread its wings. I like quiet music, folk music, solo artists - it's not a matter of volume or numbers, but it is a matter of art being able to stand on its own two feet. I don't think music needs to be coddled, no matter how delicate or soft it sounds. When a band or singer makes me go awwww, as I would at the sight of a newborn child, then that is a band that needs a pacifier not an amplifier. Other indicators of preciousness include, but are not limited to: matching old-timey outfits; mumbling, soft-spoken stage banter that trails off and is quickly followed by a cutesy smile, which for some reason garners huge cheers from the audience; being so nervous on stage that someone in the crowd has to yell 'you can do it!' or 'we love you' (exception made here for child performers); asking people to lie down on the floor for the next song; and any audience sing-along or participation so complicated that it needs to be explained before the song starts."

I don't hate all those things (nervousness can be interesting when it's not an attempt to ingratiate) but it is a good answer to the misapprehension that what we're talking about is merely quiet versus loud or lo-fi versus pop and so forth. Ms Brownstein is of course formerly of Sleater-Kinney and so far her bloggery is standing up well to her guitarslinging.

Speaking of (hah!) good nervousness, SFJ on The New Yorker blog today has smart + kind words for Toronto's own Final Fantasy. (Um, Owen, your website needs updating.)

(Later: In re: this latest bit of reportage - which has appeared in several places, oblivious to the fact that a YouTube video of Celine Dion doing AC/DC in sound check made the rounds ages ago - please see several pages of Let's Talk About Love where I talk about her music as "metal on estrogen.")

General | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, November 13 at 5:59 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)

 

COMMENTS

Well, yes, it was a motif. I'm missing your point?

Posted by zoilus on November 14, 2007 1:36 PM

 

 

Three references to "zombies" and one "corpse" in the Celine review, by my count.

Posted by cliff on November 14, 2007 10:31 AM

 

 

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson