Saturday, September 20, 2003

Leave it to the professionals

I would never review a book I had not read myself but I was intrigued by a review by David Kippen, book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle. He reviews Madonna's new children's book, The English Roses.

Read attentively, it yields an extremely personal, almost confessional glimpse into the author's raw feelings. Unfortunately, those feelings bespeak a persecution complex so narcissistic that she ought rather have paid readers $100 an hour than charged them 50 cents a page.

Binah's inexplicable ostracism is exactly the kind of storytelling gaffe an inexperienced writer runs into when patching together an alter ego out of different, not altogether compatible phases in that writer's life.

In other words, Madonna's just a poor little rich girl, and the rest of us only pick on her because we're jealous. There may be something to that. But it doesn't make her first book for children ("even grown-up ones," she suggests on the jacket -- ever the crossover artist) any less meretricious, cynical or unimaginative. Don't hate her because she's beautiful, the story transparently pleads. OK, we won't. But so long as she can't write her way out of a paper slipcase, we sure can't respect her very much.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Hearing this iconic recording anew will be interesting. I remember well...

The planned album was to be called Get Back, after the track of the same name, and was intended to signal a return by the band - after the lavish Sergeant Pepper, Abbey Road and White Album - to their rock and roll roots.

But as the four went their separate and acrimonious ways the session tapes were given by John Lennon - and perhaps not by accident - to the one man who did not do basic rock and roll: Phil Spector, the producer who specialised in multi-layered wall of sound techniques.

His lavish orchestrations during the re-production were praised by the mischievous John Lennon but disliked by Paul McCartney who had opposed Spector's involvement.

Thirty-four years later, and with two members of the band now dead, McCartney has had Let It Be remastered so that it resembles his original vision.

He wanted a return to a stripped-down live performance sound with no studio effects or dubbing of voices or instruments. The no-frills, back-to-basics album he had always intended has been renamed Let It Be . . . Naked.

via The Telegraph (UK)