Re: RARA-AVIS: Don't Let the Man Bust Our Music

From: blumenidiot (
Date: 06 Apr 2008

--- Kevin Burton Smith
<> wrote:

> Juri wrote:
> > As one who was trying to keep a music discussion
> going, I remember
> > very well
> > that Bill Denton told us not to have any.
> But usually long after the thread(s) had gone on.
> There is a point where all threads outstay their
> course (cf: The Long
> Goodbye, post-modern this and post-modern that, what
> "what" means,
> etc.), or wander off into the ozone, but as I
> remember it, the music
> discussions we've had over the years were usually
> quite savvy and
> interesting while they lasted. It was only when they
> started getting
> silly (Billy Joel songs, jazz is somehow inherently
> "hard-boiled"
> because there was some in such and such a movie,
> blah blah blah) that
> Bill usually urged us to pull the plug.
> It could be argued, in fact, that the hard-boiled
> literary genre was
> at least partially inspired (and its popularity
> aided and abetted) by
> centuries of bloody, violent and relentlessly nasty
> murder ballads --
> most of which make today's thuggier-than-thou
> gangsta rappers look
> rather tame and unimaginative by comparison. After
> all, it's not like
> suddenly people became interested in crime and
> punishment and revenge
> and justice and violence and mayhem one sunny
> weekend in 1922 or
> something.
> In fact, I'd suggest that people like 50 Cent or Ice
> T aren't so much
> the societal aberration (or sign of the Apocalypse)
> that some may
> claim it is as merely a continuation of a
> centuries-old folk tradition
> that has always existed and will no doubt outlast
> all of us.
> Hell, why is hard-boiled popular fiction worthy of
> respect and even
> serious discussion, but a four-minute song dealing
> with the same
> subject deemed somehow morally suspect or culturally
> negligible? If
> anyone could talk the hell out of this topic, it
> would be us, simply
> because we'd be approaching it from a literary, not
> musical perspective.
> Obviously this thread won't be for everyone. But
> please don't negate
> the interest a thread on crime songs might haver
> among those who do
> pay attention to the words.
> I'm not proposing music suddenly become the main
> thrust of the list
> (especially since I'm grooving so much on the
> missing authors thread),
> but as long as a discussion of crime-related songs
> stays within the
> boundaries of interest of this list (which has
> ranged from discussions
> of Magnum P.I. and James Ellroy's cult of
> personality to "blessings of
> the troops" or what's new in crime comics), and
> remains respectful and
> intelligent and proves entertaining to at least some
> members of the
> list, let's not automatically clamp down on what
> some of us deem a
> worthy -- and relevant -- topic.
Kevin, I agree murder ballads should be on topic, but I don't remember our discussing them-- Hey, we could have a long thread about Tom Dooley. I guess Dylan's Hurricane would qualify also. Popular music's appeal tends to be very generational The threads about music tend to be about jazz or rock. I can see to discussing movies occasionally, but this is a literary list. We manage to discuss works from the 1920's to the present. I don't think music has that generational spread of interest for most of the members of the list. Mark

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