Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Dancing to Architecture - this is uncool

No music today , instead a book about music
Someone once said that "writing about music was like dancing to architecture" or something like that. Whilst i tend to agree this hasnt stopped me reading most of the music press for periods over the last 20+ years from Smash Hits through to Word. This seems to get even more true when it comes to books about music, especially the "top 100 industrial soul records of the last 5 years" type.

However ........ This is the major exception that proves the rule.
It does what it says on the tin - the author writes about each of his top 500 singles from 1976 up to 1999. Why is it so good .. well it is immensely personal and opinionated for a start and it overlaps when I started to get seriously into singles (ie I was coming out of my ELO phase). Its a great celebration of the single

The author describes a great single as
"It stands alone from and transcends an artists usual work. It must have hooklines, even when those hooklines subvert or ignore the usual singalong chorus norm. It should say something striking about its chosen subject even if its an instrumental. It should want to be a hit even if it fails.It should when heard for the first time induce in the listener to stop what they are doing and exclaim "what the fuck is that " It must speak directly to you!"

However the true test is that the writing is so good that it makes me want to listen again to songs that I know i dont like, because after reading about them .. well I must have been wrong!

You can buy This is Uncool by Garry Mulholland from here ...

Garry followed it up with "Fear of Music" which does the same thing but with albums .. it is good but like the taste explosion of first hearing a single verses the meal of an album, it doesnt reach the same heights as This is Uncool


  1. Hi

    just checking your new site after a tip off from the Vinyl Villain - can't believe the first thing i see is that book! It is great and basically maps my musical life - confidentially it usually lives next to the loo for a quick read!

    All the best with the new venture!


  2. thanks for the comment Kev

    I'm afraid to say I too had next to the bog for ages until my son knocked it into his bath and I had to get a new one!


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