Tosh's Reviews > Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste

Let's Talk About Love by Carl Wilson
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's review
Jan 31, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended for: those who are obsessed with pop culture and somehow have a heart to like Celine Dion

It can be but not really tailored made for the Celine Dion fan, but this book is really about the nature of taste in pop(ular) music and it's a fascinating read because of it. Basically Wilson hates this particular album, but he wants to know why. So with that in thought and with an open mind he goes into the world of Dion as well as the fans and of course fellow music lovers who hate her music.

The big moment for him was the Oscars where she won an award for the Titanic theme song. The author is a big fan of Elliott Smith, and the combination of seeing somehone he admires and a world (Celine Dion) that seemed so horrible in contrast made him write this particular book. One of the touching aspects of the book is when fans of Smith commented on him being on the same stage as a showbiz hack as Dion - but according to Smith, she was really a nice person who spoke to him before his performance and gave him encouragment and actually an emotional hug. So he was pissed off whenever he heard anyone putting down Celine Dion.

And that is one of the great things about this book - it keeps an open mind about popular culture and the nature of taste and where that leads someone. One of the better 33 1/3 series books - that's for sure. And no, I don't want to buy a Celine Dion album, but I respect her for making her recordings. That's something!

Down below are comments before I read the book.

I think like most of the world, when the always interesting 33 1/3 series announced that they will be publishing something in their series on Celine Dion's "Let's Talk About Love" most rawk fans of the press probably went 'huh?' Which is an ok thing to do because things need to be shaked up - and this is for sure one of those moments of great 'huh?" But saying that this book has been getting great reviews, because the book is not only about the album and it's artist but also the nature of 'taste' in contemporary music. I looked at it quite quickly and it looks like it will be a great read. More longer (and real) review shortly.
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Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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message 1: by Jessica (new)

Jessica This looks really good. I've actually been really curious about the whole Celine Dion thing since I saw her on Oprah awhile ago.

Let us know!

message 2: by brian (new)

brian   yeah, tosh, as soon as i saw this book announced in their line-up i was intrigued; and as an american idol obsessive and one who finds elliot smith utterly whiny wispy and annoying, i can't really condemn celine dion all too much. it's funny, of course, how the whole authenticity and integrity thing is so integral to pop music. it's popular music, afterall, and part of a business machine. the ramones lusted after a top 40 hit and sold merchandise up the ass, iggy pop's songs can be found all over television commercials, and elvis - a badass, for sure - was the biggest whore of them all. there is no doubt in my mind that celine dion is as passionate about her music as ella fitzgerald or bruce springsteen or wilco are about theirs. the only other one of the series i've read is Meat is Murder; i wanna read this one next.

Tosh It maybe one of the best books I have read on 'pop' music. It's fascinating that the writer Wilson is trying to come to grips with a culture that he doesn't understand, yet he goes through various channels to understand what's happening. And the fact that he is coming from a more indi-rock stance is even more interesting. He tries to break down her audience - to understand them and to understand Dion. And no way is it dis-respectful to Celine Dion or her music. He just doesn't like it! But why?

Also Brian he wries about "American Idol" in terms of Celine Dion who is very much part of that world. And a lot of the book deals with Quebec culture as well. The duality of that particular culture plays in the aesthtic and maketing of Celine Dion.

And Wilson being a major Elliot Smith fan, is another fascinating read on that culture as well - especially when it mixes with something mainstream like Dion's world or the Oscars.

The Indi-rock world has a self-belief system that is at odds with the pop music world. So the book is about that as well. I am going to change this book to five stars!

message 4: by David (new)

David Can't stand her.

First saw her on that grotesque "Jackson Family Honors" special where the skankies family in show business gave "awards" to flunkies. It was all a build up for Michael who was supposed to sing but didn't. He just thanked his fans for loving him so much. YUCK!

I happen to love "Titanic," but that's a separate issue.

Tosh "Can't stand her," and that is exactly what this book is about. David you should read this book!

message 6: by David (new)

David Oh maybe.

But there's a pile of books I have to catch up with first.

message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah OK, I gotta agree that she's cheesey as hell, but can anyone dispute that the woman can sing? I'm jealous of her pipes.

I saw a commercial the other day for some televised concert thingie that she was doing and she was dressed in a skimpy dress and shaking her booty. Can someone please tell her that she's not Beyonce or Shakira? No one wants to see her shake her ass.

Brian, I never would have pegged you as an American Idol obsessive. You continue to surprise me.

message 8: by brian (new)

brian   i think, sarah, that the only topic more incendiary than politics is american idol. i've had more jackasses wanna argue with me that american idol is the purest evil this world has ever seen, that it is the surest sign of a civilization in decline. morons! it's the only thing in this world i love as much as my dog!

Tosh And again this book touches on that subject matter. Carl Wilson, the author is a smart guy. I like how this book is personal as well as questioning what's popular taste -and is it bad? My gut feeling that it is! Yet there is something beautiful about a cheap evening out listening to cheap music and connecting to that cheap entertainment (American Idol). Next time Brian you have an American Idol TV blowout I will join you.

message 10: by brian (new)


wow. this is amazing.

well, this week i'll be in juarez and el paso, but in two weeks (on wednesday) we'll get together. first we watch the performances and then the results. there are b/t 6 - 10 of us who do it every week and the whole thing takes about 3 hours. there's tons of food and booze and lots of thorough disussion (yes!!!) -- it'll probably be at gwen's...

and, fuck yeah, donald... cowell is a god.

message 11: by Tosh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tosh ...But afterwards I want to watch a Celine Dion live in concert DVD. We might as well go bananas and overboard at the sametime.

Kimley OK, Brian, you're really going to have to learn to spread out these tasty morsels of personal information because you've been such a contrarian lately that frankly nothing you say can shock me anymore.

I've never actually watched American Idol though I will confess to a strong addiction to Project Runway. I have to say that I am eager to hear Tosh's response to the show!

But back to the subject at hand - yeah, I hate Celine Dion but whatever. She's a bit of an easy target, no? What I actually find the most fascinating is that people just can't seem to understand that other people respond to music, books, art, films etc. in so many different ways. So, while I don't "get" Dion myself, it doesn't seem strange to me that other people enjoy her. And yeah, Sarah, totally agree that she has the chops but for me there's no soul. But clearly other people are responding to something there and I'm sure her technique is part of it.

message 13: by Tosh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tosh See! Everyone should read this book. It's a fascinating subject and Koeeoaddi, for all the reasons above you should read this book. Do I need to buy everyone here a copy of the book???

message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Tosh, I've never turned down a free book.

Well, okay, that's not true. I turned down the Book of Mormon.

message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Brian, what do you think of the Carly controversy?

message 16: by brian (new)

brian   shit... that's tough. she's definitely a crowd pleaser -- great voice and she's cool and her husband's entire face is tattooed!

but, yeah... if it's open to professionals, it kinda changes the rules of the game, doesn't it?

not sure. whattaya you think, sarah?

message 17: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I really like her, but I don't think someone who's had their shot at a record contract should be eligible. Actually I also have a problem with a non-American citizen being the AMERICAN Idol. I have no problem with immigrants who've become citizens, because they're now Americans. But, to the best of my knowledge (since they were talking about her visa troubles) she's not a citizen.

message 18: by Andy (new)

Andy Holy cow, I thought this book was a weird joke.

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