You’re History takes a unique perspective to music criticism. Finally, the lyrics alone are not the point.
“The most captivating music is slippery, telegraphing a secret meaning while asserting its intentions at face value. Music is not always about depth and timber: sometimes the song is best served by a slick, offhand treatment.“
The varied examples prove this theory has merit.
“Sade gets hooked on luxe mouth movement, to the point where the primary aim of the songs appears to be getting variations on texture, rather than lyrical or melodic originality.”
“[Taylor Swift’s] Blank Space forced a re-examination, introducing a new character to the world of pop. It’s narrator is a baby-faced girl who longs to be unmasked as a horror: Estella and Miss Havisham in one, with full sexual power and malevolence intact.”
Unfortunately, many of the artists described here are not as famous as they should be.
“Choosing lyrics for their mellifluous potential is unlikely to start trends or find acclaim, no matter how gorgeous or wine-dark the results.“
Even though this book is advertised as critique of twelve unique female performers, it includes many more. Even Prince, Michael Jackson and David Byrne make an appearance.
The book’s somewhat rambling and sometimes repetitive style feel like a late-night conversation with your most musically astute friend. I’ve always been a hater of music criticism. I just don’t agree with most of it. In my opinion, the almost universally critically acclaimed Bob Dylan cannot sing a note and should have been a poet. However, talking about how a song makes the listener feel is a valid part of criticism.
I truly enjoyed You’re History. I found some new favorites and remembered some forgotten gems. It is much more fun to ask Alexa to play each song as you are reading about them. 4.5 stars!
Thanks to Repeater Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.