Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rick Moody: Novelist Turned Music Critic

Howard Hampton in the NY Times is won over by novelist Rick Moody's new collection of essays on rock and pop bands, On Celestial Music (2012).

"The book’s best essays wrestle with performers and songs as if they were Moody’s better angels and personal hellhounds. He plunges in, thoughtful and reckless, psychoanalyzing the sounds and lyrics and singers and his own reactions, caught in a blissful, bleary tug of war between the heights of intoxication and the depths of hangover. He writes with enormous reserves of empathy and grace about the Magnetic Fields (fickle, arty, doubling back on themselves like serpent-shaped licorice), Wilco (a time-exposure wedding photo, Mathew Brady via Diane Arbus), the Pogues (an Alcoholics Unanimous meeting) and the deeply peculiar Danielson Famile (a Christian cult band or a band of Christian cultists or maybe some kind of crypto-born-again art project). This is doubly appealing for me because these happen to be bands I’ve never had time or affinity for...."


Moody reads tonight 7/26 at Skidmore with Francine Prose.