Literary criticism, songwriting analysis, and cultural commentary, Words and Music Into the Future is an uncompromising examination of the current state of popular songs and songwriting in the English-speaking world. Devoid of hero worship and celebrity gossip, using mostly well-known songs from recent decades as examples, Michael Koppy presents a compelling case that we listeners have been force-fed a steady diet of industrial illiteracy, and that the timer has come for songwriting and song criticism to riser to greater heights.
Whether you agree or disagree with the challenging, even heretical ideas presented in Words and Music Into the Future, it will forever change how you think about and hear popular music.
1. No, Don, the Levee Wasn’t Dry—And No One Was Drinking Whiskey and Rye
2. There Goes The Robert E. Lee?
3. To What End?
4. A Personal Remembrance
5. A Later Kick in the Pants
6. Don’t Shoot, Dammit! I’m Just the Messenger!
7. Politics? Religion? How About SONGS?!?
8. Ground Rule Number One
9. I’m Your Fan! You’re My Hero!
10. Herds of Wildebeests Stampeding Across the Veldt!
11. Why Peeing Your Pants Beats the Hell Out Of Nostalgia
12. Madonna, Kanye, Coldplay, Bieber, U2, One Direction—Effluvia, Ephemera, Etcetera, Etcetera
13. See You at the Grammys!—A Note on Industrial Smarm Festivals
14. Ethics? In Popular Music...?!?
15. Dunno Much ’Bout Art, But I Know What I Like
16. Ever Notice the Worst Writing in an Insightful Pop Music Review—Even a Rave—Usually Shows Up When the Critic Quotes the Band’s Lyrics?
17. Those Pesky, Over-Idealized Nineteen-Sixties
18. So Where Are We?
19. “Yeah, But You Really Hafta See ’Em Live!”
20. Over the Top? Ya Think?
21. Yes, We Too Are All So Very Sorry You Weren’t Born on a Mississippi Cotton Plantation
22. Art School Confidential
23. Dance? Okay, Fine. Dance! Now Go Away.
24. It’s All Greek—French, Swahili, Latin, Klingon—To Me.
25. Country Music is “Three Chords and the Truth” Computerized Drums, a Catering Truck, and a Smirk
26. Country’s Brainier Half-Sibling: Americana
27. Tradition and Illusions of Same
28. The Disarmingly Enabling Inscience of Rap and Hip-Hop
29. Come to the Cabaret, Old Chum
30. Under a Stack of Marshall Amplifiers
31. Ethics? In SONGWRITING ITSELF…?!?
32. The Twentieth Century Ended Two Decades Ago
33. The Insolvency of 'Po-Mo'
34. Song Lyrics vs. Poems
35. “But It’s Poetry!”—Refuge for the Inarticulate
36. Sincerity Ain’t Depth
37. The Kids Are Alright!
38. La-Da-Da / Sha-La-Ti-Da
39. Is 'The Folk Process' an Expired Merchanism?
40. Lessons from Browne's "These Days" and Kristofferson's "Bobby McGee"
41. How About That! Some Country Music Is...
42. Get Me Rewrite!
43. Bob Dylan: Bad Writer, Bad Influence
44. Shallowness, Thy Name is Bob
45. Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard
46. If Ya Wanna Send a Message…
47. McCartney's Song Writing Lesson
48. Steve Sondheim Desperately Wishes He Were Right
49. Didn’t I Just Hear That Song in a Commercial for Paper Towels? Insurance? Gum?
50. Should We Use A Number 37-A?
51. On Brightly Wrapped Packages
52. On Gilded Frames
53. Making Sausages
54. Making Music
55. Sure ‘Authenticity’ is Great—But It Doesn’t Guarantee Good Work
56. Form Follows Function
57. Words Seek Music. Object: Matrimony.
58. Rules Were Made to be Broken. However—
59. Swan Song
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