PositiveThe Duluth News TribuneBeing Bob Dylan, he could certainly call Elvis Costello and hear everything the formerly young punk has to say about that 1978 rave-up. He didn\'t. Instead, he\'s here to tell you what the song makes him feel ... The list of people who I\'d trust to keep me engaged with essays like that about songs like Roy Orbison\'s Blue Bayou is very short. Hanif Abdurraqib, Andrea Swensson, Bob Dylan ... there are more, but not very many more ... The book does include some well-known singalongs; Dylan is not out to show you how cool he is ... The book isn\'t meant to be a best-of list, just a series of essays about songs Dylan finds interesting to write about. Still, it\'s moving that he chose to reflect on a song performed by his fellow Northlander, Judy Garland ... The book also isn\'t a personal history. This is about other artists and other songs, but those who are interested in Dylan\'s own music will certainly find food for thought, both in the song selection and in the way Dylan prizes atmosphere over substance in appraising the music ... reveals that Dylan has his eyes turned as much toward the present as the past ... Yes, we now live in a world where Bob Dylan\'s writing about TikTok. I\'m here for it, and for whatever he puts out next. Yes, even if that is yet another album of Sinatra covers. In the spirit of Glenn Gould, I try to keep my expectations at zero.
PositiveThe CurrentFrantz...doesn\'t pull any punches, but he also makes clear that there aren\'t really any bridges left to Byrne. ... The setup might lead you to expect a real dishy read, but the reality is that Talking Heads were never Mötley Cruë ... Remain In Love should help buttress the conviction that Talking Heads were a truly collaborative unit ... Remain In Love is a memory-dump memoir, but there are plenty of music fans who will be more than happy to download these memories. Frantz makes a point of describing just how down-and-out the Bowry was; Remain In Love is an apt companion piece to Debbie Harry\'s recent memoir[.]
Grace Elizabeth Hale
PositiveThe CurrentGrace Elizabeth Hale\'s Cool Town is one of those books with a subtitle that sounds like an oversell: How Athens, Georgia Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture. Hale has the receipts, though ... While the Athens buzz may have been manufactured, Athens is a very real place, and Hale writes with real passion about her formative years there.
MixedThe Tangential[Rushin] is particularly attuned to the consumer landscape that shapes our material lives — and did so particularly for middle-class kids in the ’70s and ’80s, when mass-produced products thrived and screens hadn’t yet proliferated ... The fact that Nights in White Castle begins in high school, then travels through college and lands in Times Square gives it more of a disjointed feel than the warmly cohesive Sting-Ray Afternoons, and all in all it’s not quite as funny. Most of its laughs come early on ... an affectionate but not misty-eyed look back at one man’s emergence from the remarkably unremarkable cradle of Middle America.
RaveThe Tangential... essential summer reading for those seeking the opposite of escapism ... In this perilous American experiment, Tolentino...refuses to relinquish her tools of discernment, her belief that there is an essential reality that we can approach, at least asymptotically, through critical thinking ... More personal, and delicately nuanced, essays examine religion (Tolentino was raised in a Texas megachurch its teen parishioners called \'the Repentagon\') and the culture of her alma mater, the University of Virginia ... [not] particularly optimistic, but...inspiring.
PositiveThe Current\"Tinsley celebrates Beyoncé’s art, not uncritically but recognizing that work like Lemonade \'offers public space that visualizes possibilities for performing race, gender, sexuality, and region black femme-ly, in ways other representations currently don\'t\' ... You\'ll come away from each chapter with a new appreciation of what Beyoncé has meant to women, particularly black women, across the country ... This isn\'t the kind of analysis that breaks down the video frame by frame, or digs into every single lyric. That kind of thing is available online, and it\'s valuable, but Tinsley has an eye toward the liberating presence of Big Freedia on [\'Formation\'].\
RaveThe Current\"Twilight of the Gods feels less like an essential read than an enjoyable one. Hyden embraces the way that true believers love to debate this music, and — in true classic-rock journalism style — he\'s open about his biases.\