Critic Amanda Marcotte: Sgt. Pepper’s made rock “music for men”

By |2020-09-10T11:22:31-07:00June 1, 2017|Uncategorized|

Amanda Marcotte, critic and politics writer for Salon. Yeah, no surprise that the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's has everybody out there opining. But I find Amanda Marcotte's take in Salon worth calling out, if only to say that as someone who considers herself a feminist I'm thoroughly tired of this kind of facile, oversimplified finger-pointing. Her claim that Sgt. Pepper's "was the point when rock stopped being the music of girls and started being the music of men" is potentially defensible. Certainly the critical reception the album received made it clear that popular music could be considered serious art. If Marcotte stuck to analyzing what critics at the time said about the [...]

Critic Richard Goldstein’s 1967 pan of Sgt. Pepper

By |2017-05-22T13:23:45-07:00May 22, 2017|Uncategorized|

Richard Goldstein, back in the day. The Washington Post has published this intriguing piece about how a 22-year-old critic came to write a negative review of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for the New York Times when the album was originally released. Richard Goldstein, the critic in question, has the complete review on his website: you can read it here. Although he was a young freelancer at the time, Goldstein was an important figure in 1960's music criticism. Robert Christgau says that Goldstein "invented rock criticism. He was the first rock critic. I mean, it turns out Paul Williams was publishing his [...]

Starostin on the White Album

By |2016-06-20T07:18:13-07:00June 20, 2016|Uncategorized|

The tireless George Starostin, still working his way through Rate Your Music's list of "Top Albums of All Time," has just published a new review of the White Album (currently #25 on the list). As usual, there's plenty of substance in Starostin's review, and I highly recommend it. These lines particularly stood out to me (ellipses mine): "A typical 'complaint' against The Beatles is that this is the first album where the band, much too often, reads like the sum of its parts rather than a collective whole: The Lennon songs are Lennon, the McCartney songs are McCartney, the Harrison songs mark [...]

Tumblr Fandom Categories and Beatle Books

By |2016-03-08T09:13:27-08:00March 7, 2016|Uncategorized|

By Gibson DelGiudice, guest Dullblogger As a 21st century Beatles fan (born in 1990, and so coming of age during the new millennium), it seems only natural that I probably have a different perspective than most Beatles fans on the literature that documents the group's rise to fame and the careers of its members. I’d like to share a Tumblr-influenced way of looking at Beatles books and sorting them into categories, based on the attitudes they express. Like many young people today, I’m a consummate Tumblr user. At the time of posting, over 277.2 million blogs make up the Tumblr network , [...]

Lester Bangs’ anti-Beatles sermon, 1975

By |2016-02-25T11:14:49-08:00February 25, 2016|Uncategorized|

Lester Bangs takes a call, mid-70s. Lester Bangs declared the Beatles “nothing” and hated A Hard Day’s Night. To be sure, he despised plenty of other bands. If you rate Bangs as a great critic (I don’t), you pretty much have to relish his talent for insult. Bangs’ animosity toward the Beatles, however, was particularly barbed. In 1975 he printed, in both The Real Paper and CREEM, an eight-page screed damning not only the former Beatles’ solo work, but the entire legacy of the band. Reading “Dandelions in Still Air: The Withering Away of the Beatles” in 2016, I thought: [...]

McCartney and Critics

By |2016-02-22T06:59:09-08:00February 19, 2016|Uncategorized|

  Mike and Nancy’s great posts about Starostin's critique of Abbey Road led to a lively discussion about how Paul McCartney is viewed and treated by music critics, particularly with respect to his early solo efforts. This is a great topic and one that I think deserves its own post. Why is it that Macca seems to run afoul of critics?  Is there a particular set of reasons or circumstances we can pinpoint which would explain it? In their interview with author Tim Doyle, author of Man on the Run, Paul McCartney in the 70’s,  Mike and Nancy asked a similar question: Why [...]

Starostin reviews “Abbey Road”

By |2016-02-15T17:29:07-08:00February 15, 2016|Uncategorized|

George Starostin, who by my calculations must sleep four hours or less per night to work an academic job and find time to review as many albums as he does. Indefatigable reviewer George Starostin, of the Only Solitaire blog, has just posted a review of the Beatles' Abbey Road. This one is part of his "Important Album Series," in which he is offering critical considerations of the "Top Albums of All Time" on the Rate Your Music site. Abbey Road currently sits at #7 on that site. I prefer the more comprehensive review of the album that Starostin posted in 2012 on his regular [...]

Lester Bangs on the Beatles

By |2016-02-25T11:13:26-08:00January 28, 2016|Uncategorized|

"Uncool" is just another type of cool, Lester. Oliver Hall over at the amazing website Dangerous Minds surfaced this contentious clip by ur-rock nerd Lester Bangs dismissing Beatles nostalgia as "sick" and "a rip-off," a mind-killing corporate shill whose ultimate victims were "the consumer" and (gulp) "John Lennon." This explosion of insight comes from a TV series called "FM-TV," which did a segment on Beatles nostalgia. The entire annoying segment is below. Right up front I'm going to cop to taking this personally, being one of those second-generation fans that, in Lester's eyes, should've lined up to see -- I [...]

Why Those Screaming Beatlemania Girls Matter

By |2015-11-30T12:09:11-08:00November 30, 2015|Uncategorized|

Those videos of Beatlemania girls screaming have have always made me squirm. All that howling, weeping, and writhing bug me for multiple reasons. As a woman, they make me cringe because rock criticism defined itself against them: screeching gals over there, analytical guys over here. As a Beatles fan they make me wince because they (superficially) reinforce the argument made by many non-fans that the Beatles “were just a boy band.” At a time when Why-Can’t-The-Boomers-Just-Get-Over-The-Beatles-Already is a definite thing (see this Washington Post piece), it's worth asking: Really, why all that screaming? And why should any of us post-Boomers care? Measured [...]

London researchers say Beatles not revolutionary

By |2015-05-09T18:06:57-07:00May 7, 2015|Uncategorized|

NANCY CARR * A study just issued by researchers at Imperial College London and Queen Mary University of London asserts that the Beatles' success in mid-60s America was anything but revolutionary. According to Professor Armand Leroi, the paper's senior author, “They were good looking boys with great haircuts and British accents but as far as their music was concerned they weren’t anything new.” "Yeah-huh," as those of us raised in Texas sardonically respond to transparently idiotic statements (at least when we're trying to be polite). The researchers decided that the Beatles weren't up to anything new because chord progressions, lyrics, and beats in [...]

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