Author: Thompson, Ben
Number Of Pages: 352
Release Date: 01-02-2001
Details: Congratulations are due to Ben Thompson, for producing Ways of Hearing, a book that must rank as one of the most imaginative and admirable additions to pop's literary canon in recent years. Books on popular music traditionally fall into easily identifiable categories, from the picture-book "Our Story" tomes so crucial to the marketing of this week's perfect pop fodder, to the rushed, newspaper-cutting compilation rags which represent the literary reward for any band that manages to successfully negotiate that "difficult" second album. Disappointingly, music books that begin by quoting RD Laing's pioneering analysis of schizophrenic mental disturbance, The Divided Self, and end with a top 20 of songs featuring "great whistling" are somewhat less common. However Ways of Hearing manages all of this and much more.
Thompson's book seeks to investigate the "pop psyche", the power of popular music to "transform" both those who make it and those who listen to it. This investigation is split into three main sections, beginning with a consideration of some of the means in which we tap into the pop psyche (through the varying media of television, radio and film), moving on to the author's absorbing and often highly amusing biographies of both pop's main and peripheral figures, before concluding with five essays which draw together the many imaginative threads explored, in a largely successful attempt to broaden our understanding of how "music helps us to define ourselves, both inside our heads and out in the cruel world".
Throughout, Thompson's constant stream of ideas and concepts, frequently supported by amusing, opinionated comment, provide countless sterling examples of the enthusiasm and sheer imagination so often lacking in pop writing. For example, where else could one find a consideration of Paul Weller's solo career using the regions of the East Midlands as its main reference points? ("While Wild Wood suggests Nottingham in its engag
Item Condition: UsedVeryGood