Popular Music

As hands grasp hips in swaying sensation,
singers spew supposed sincerity in what is
mistake for intellectual integrity.

Neo-new wave heartthrobs
popping tunes from gummy bubbles.
Over-sized sweaters droop at the shoulder atop
skinny jeans, crowned by asymmetrical hairstyles;
we’ve seen this all before when
video killed the radio star.

But, hey, the girls love ’em, and
they’re dancing all the way to the bank;
our voices raised and coaxing them forward because
we can’t stop singing along.
If this is their expression of truth,
and it happens to sell well,
where is the harm?

Art as performance,
branded to influence online,
curated by quasi-intellectuals seeking
the truth behind a major label.
An aesthetic determined
in tandem with the fandom.
Recycling to synthesize in
meta self-referential drivel.
Put down the thesaurus, fellas.

I rose, once, in defense of my genres, and
lowered my gaze down upon those who
relished and revered radio stars.
But I’d rather change the station or
put on one of my playlists.
Their music may very well have
saved someone’s life
as the art of others saved mine.
Live and let listen to pop music.

by Erik Shinker

Louis Armstrong – Review

Louis Armstrong by Hugues Panassié

Photograph collection b Jack Bradley

Published in 1971

Pages: 148

Genre: Biography, nonfiction, music criticism

“The New Year was being celebrated in New Orleans.”

If you are from my generation or younger, you may be familiar with the gritty voice singing “What a Wonderful World,” but Louis Armstrong was most famous as a jazz musician; his playing takes center stage in Louis Armstrong by French music critic Hugues Panassié. Split into three sections, the book gives an account of “Satchmo” and his career blowing people’s minds with his unique trumpet playing.  Assuming they already know much of his life story, Louis Armstrong is a great addition to any fan’s bookshelf. Continue reading “Louis Armstrong – Review”