Signs of Life
finds hope in a new book (make that brilliant new book)
"[Mat] Callahan has written a brilliant new book, called 'The Trouble With Music,' (AK Press, 2005) which offers the most compelling blend of philosophy and music criticism to see release in several decades.
" 'I think that people really have to go out and find music. This is really important, because the people who are really music lovers are the ones who actively pursue music. It doesn't just come to them conveniently. That's a very important thing to say now; you wouldn't have had to say that 20 years ago. Because then, the people buying records, the people listening to the radio, were actively pursuing music. Now, it's like wallpaper; you're inundated with it. If you're 18 years old, it's really hard to turn off what's being thrown at you and find your own expression within it. If you're not willing to make the effort, or you can't find time to go and seek out the music that you like, and you're not willing to sit down and devote an hour to listen to it, or go to a gig and see a band, then I'm not sure you'll get it. To be honest, you have to make the effort.'
"Sometimes that effort can seem Herculean, if you are a person for whom music has long been an essential element in your life, be it as a lens through which you view your existence, a means by which you enter into some sort of community with your fellow men and women, or a way to chase the wolves from the door, at least temporarily.
"Care about music this much, and even a casual glance around you can be disheartening. Television commercials regularly feature songs that at one time were the voice of the counterculture, and are now being employed to hawk SUVs. Watch pundits gloat in the wake of the presidential election as they claim that its results proclaim a mandate denying "pop stars" the right to speak out on social and political issues, that indeed they should "stick to entertaining us." Peruse the list of Grammy nominations and feel your heart sink - the middle of the road seems to be the only piece of real estate listeners, musicians and industry types are willing to invest in."