Monday, May 17, 2004

Who doesn't love mix tapes?

Check out this quote from Luc Sante's article "Disco Dreams" in the May 13 New York Review of Books:

"Any canon of popular music will apply strictly to the person who drew it up, on the day that it was drawn. There is simply too much music in the world, whizzing along at every angle, for anyone to be content with anything less than constant replenishment. A canon, therefore, can be no more than a snapshot of a single moment within the flux--it is a mix tape."

This Sante's summation after discussing books on music by Nick Hornby and Geoffrey O'Brien, the former of which can be summed up as the playlist for something of a mix CD--in fact, the original version of Hornby's book, from McSweeney's, did include a CD with most of the songs he discusses--and the latter of which appears to be much more of a boxed set.

I'll be honest and admit that I was pleased to read that Sante was less than impressed with Hornby's selections. While I've read worse novels than High Fidelity, it has always seemed to me that someone should have asked Hornby for better credentials before declaring him the common man's expert on pop music. (In fact, Hornby has served, until recently, as popular music writer for The New Yorker, and five of the essays in Songbook first appeared in that magazine.)

Juding another man's mix tape is always a dangerous task, but, perhaps, in preparing Songbook, Hornby forgot his own best advice; by the end of High Fidelity, Rob has learned that a mix tape should be made first for its intended audience, not to prove the coolness of the person making it.

I always liked albums better anyway.

No comments: