- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Da Capo Press Inc (18 Aug. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0306814854
- ISBN-13: 978-0306814853
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,608,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Marooned: The Next Generation of Desert Island Discs Paperback – 18 Aug 2007
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A new generation of music critics grapples with the eternal question - what album would you bring to a desert island and why? Featuring original contributions from today's leading music critics, "Marooned" is a revealing snapshot of the current state of pop music criticism. A follow-up and homage to Greil Marcus' rock 'n' roll classic "Stranded", "Marooned" asks the same question: What album would you bring to a desert island, and why?
About the Author
Phil Freeman is the author of Running the Voodoo Down. He has written for the Village Voice, Down Beat, Revolver, and the Seattle Weekly. He lives in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
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Any comparison between Greil Marcus’ Stranded and Marooned is in format only. Setting the individual essays aside, none of which are remarkable, I’ll focus on the authors’ discography. I purchase a book like this as a road map for discovery of sounds I wouldn’t otherwise explore - or for that matter - be aware of. So the fact that Freeman decided that The Pretenders, Off the Wall, Murmur and Nevermind do not qualify as essential listening in the post-1980 era is not an issue for me. I know these are great records; it just makes him appear ignorant that they are left off the list, though I suspect he thinks it makes him appear “enlightened.” If Freeman is a heavy metal fan that’s a personal preference, but he can’t seriously claim that Prong and Neuraxis qualify as history-changing popular music. At least Trout Mask Replica falls within the realm of “listenable.”
Matt Ashare waxes sentimental over the "tricky ninth chords" and his emotional experiences at age ten with Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ("'Bennie and the Jets" - my first-ever air-piano song/the cartoon cover image of Elton stepping out onto a yellow brick road...was going to make this a relatively easy sell for my protective parents, in spite of the trademark platforms Elton's pictured wearing."); Douglas Wolk defines his first encounter with Stereolab's "Jenny Ondioline" (from Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements) as a "liquid rainbow" ("I stood there, pointing my head straight into (the speaker), barely moving, breathing only when I remembered to, for eighteen minutes. That was the greatest sound-moment I've ever experienced."); while dissecting The Cars' The Cars, Rob Harvilla proclaims that, "The first sixty seconds of `Just What I Needed'/that's all I'll be needin'. Seeing as how I possess the forty-four seconds preceding the greatest drumroll ever recorded." As with the 33 1/3rd book series, each writer is allowed his or her journalistic slant, some creating fictional scenarios of plane wrecks and slowly draining iPod batteries (Laina Dawes' Stoosh by Skunk Anansie), stereo systems made from "coconuts and palm oil" (Ned Raggett's Loveless by My Bloody Valentine) and abductions that involve literal forced-at-gunpoint selection processes (John Darnielle's Legends by Dionne Warwick).
Surprisingly, all but a few of these quirky journalists - writers from The Wire to Nerve.com to Ohio's Other Paper - convince; they do a brilliant job expressing love for and laying claim to something they will rely on for aural comfort for the next day, week, or years until rescue from some uncharted piece of land, persuading you - yes, you the jaded listener with a 4000 CD collection - to check out this music. Okay! I'll revisit Dio, already!
"I don't personally know a single person who listens to a lot of the "Stranded" artists [i.e. those covered in the original 1978 book] with any kind of regularity. Sure, The Ramones and The Velvet Underground still have an audience, but Van Morrison and The Ronettes and yes, even the --- New York Dolls are more frequently mentioned in passing than played for pleasure."
Dear Phil Freeman: perhaps you should broaden your circle of acquaintances.
Oh - some of the essays are amusing. But I personally don't know a single person who listens to Skunk Anansie, My Bloody Valentine, or Divine Styler. And the "Treasure Island" redux is too slanted towards heavy metal and punk. But at least you got X and The Blasters and Nirvana in the right perspective.