Ray K. wrote: Velvis wrote:
Sir John Coan wrote:
Look at Springsteen. Man, artist - one and the same. If he turned out to be a Bush-supporting weed who always really wanted to work in a library, we'd be shocked and disappointed. And his record sales would plummet.
Kinda stingy toward his band members, ain't he? Still great records.
I'd wager he's a card carring GOP member... after a certain income I think it just comes naturally - even if you keep it in the closet. He knows who is buttering his bread.
You'd think so, but that wouldn't explain why he played all those 'vote for Kerry' concerts in 2004 and wrote about his reasons in the Guardian
. And the way he dealt with the whole "Born in the USA" fracas as well testifies that his intentions are normally good.
In the case of Springsteen though, his (perceived) personality is almost inextricably intertwined with his music, whereas as both Leg of Lamb and Ken have eloquently reiterated, someone, like, say Miles Davis makes music that exists on a different plane to whatever his true personality was. Even something as hard, dense and downright nasty as On the Corner
suggests that it's more travellogue than actual mindset, to say nothing of the unfathomable calmness of the last passage of It's A Silent Way
But I'm not denying that Coan's opinion has an element of truth to it, but really it depends how strong you feel about the merits of their work and whether it can overtake your misgivings towards their personalities- and the other factors dealt with above.
As for Paul Simon, I wouldn't call him a genuis as such, though I think Bookends
is an astonishing record- the only Simon & Garfunkel one I can totally get behind. Everything about it just seems to fall right into place- the woozy, faintly offkilter (yet strangely reassuring) production, the conciseness of the melodies and the winding narratives of the lyrics...it's all of a piece. And to be fair, there are some quite beautiful moments on the two records immediately before it (Sound sof Silence
and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme
But I think there's a fussy, overwritten side to Paul Simon's work that I find rather galling at times- it's even apparent on Bookends
where he finishes with the heavy-handed and shockingly glib "At the Zoo" which sounds less like a song than a written project. Really, it's a terrible lyric, it doesn't scan, the ultimate message is obvious and the melody is pretty thin too, to say the least. But it's a minor blight on a pretty wonderful and surprising release.
That fussiness certainly spilled over into his solo work and even Graceland
at times. As for the accusations of cultural imperialism, well, I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. How other
listeners approached the work is not his fault. Personally, I don't think the 'world music' excursions are any more offensive than those on Talking Heads' Remain in Light
or David Byrne & Brian Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
(though, to be honest, I prefer both of those records to Graceland
It's before my time but I've been told, he never came back from Karangahape Road.