Monday, March 24, 2014

Thomas Jerome Seabrook: Writing (mostly) rightly about music

Thomas Jerome Seabrook must've just chosen his words poorly when he used "blistering" to describe Bowie's "Stay." I've now read a better sample of his writing about music, having gone through his song-by-song break down of Iggy Pop's The Idiot

Yet, I find Seabrook's adjectival descriptions of the songs to be a strange thing in print. For some reason, I have an easier time imagining them being spoken by a music critic sitting at a piano or keyboard in a documentary than reading them on a page.

Maybe this disconnect exists for me because I never learned to read music, and so in reading about it I just don't make the connections between the adjectives and their precise meaning. In the case of a documentary, just what a critic means can be demonstrated on whatever basic instrument they have to hand.

I find Seabrook's name dropping to be quite a bit more helpful. Even his categorizing of the songs on The Idiot into genres that I know little about, like Industrial, is evocative for me. Much more so than drumming being described as "taut" or bass chords as "brash" (90).

Apparently, Seabrook does a similar breakdown for Bowie's Berlin trilogy, so I'm looking forward to reading all about what influenced Low, Heroes, and Lodger. Not to mention about the essential intrigues and trivia surrounding them. That is, as long as Seabrook continues to follow his pattern of describing Bowie's situation, who he's with and their relationship, and then working through an album.

No comments:

Post a Comment