Springsteen's lyrics don't read as well -- as poetically and with as much resonance, anyway -- as those of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, or Robert Hunter,Springsteen's lyrics don't read as well -- as poetically and with as much resonance, anyway -- as those of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, or Robert Hunter, his three greatest and most similar contemporaries in my opinion. But the early songs, up through "The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle" certainly, and maybe up through "Nebraska", are worth reading for the storytelling power he is often capable of conveying, and the dark worlds of lost and foundering souls that yearn to escape to somewhere that they don't even know how to dream of.
I have the hardcover, which is a handsome package; nice photographs throughout and an all-around solid production. Necessary for all serious fans of course, but probably not something for the casual listener/reader....more
One can't help but disagree with certain choices in a book like this, but I think over time this has proven to be the most all-around useful guide toOne can't help but disagree with certain choices in a book like this, but I think over time this has proven to be the most all-around useful guide to good rock n roll (and to some extent blues, jazz and country) out there. I like the format, personally: alphabetical by artist exclusive of genre (at least in the edition I have), star ratings for all the albums at the beginning of each review, then a general discussion of the artist and his/her/their evolution chronologically. My personal view is that the editors somewhat overvalue The Rolling Stones and The Who, undervalue The Grateful Dead and David Bowie; they're right on with Springsteen and Dylan. Everyone else will find different things to gripe over, but this will always remain a valuable reference to all but the most jaded "classic rock" connoisseurs. ...more
First off, I must tell you that, though you won't find a ready indication on the cover, this is primarily and in fact 99% about classical music, musicFirst off, I must tell you that, though you won't find a ready indication on the cover, this is primarily and in fact 99% about classical music, musicians and composers. Yes, there are little write-ups about the Beatles and Elvis and slightly more substantial paragraphs on major jazz artists, but for the most part this is devoted to the significant, the major, the obscure and the really unheard-of classical composers who worked from 1900 to the 1980s. Lebrecht is pithy and curmudgeonly to a fault, though it livens up the essentially dull nature of an encyclopedic work; my biggest personal peeve is that he feels compelled to dredge up information about sex lives as often as possible, whether or not it seems to have significant impact on the personages in question.
Still, this is a useful little tome, with almost any composer you can think of mentioned, and plenty you haven't heard of; musicians and orchestras are also given some space, but most of the pages belong to Britten and Messiaen, Strauss and Puccini, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern and the rest of the last century's great polyglot mix of traditionalism, romanticism, folksong, serialism, avant-garde and just outright weirdness. ...more