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{ Tag Archives } pop music

Music and Lyrics

I saw Music and Lyrics on the airplane a few days ago. It’s cartoonish in the usual Hollywood romantic comedy way. Hugh Grant’s character (Alex Fletcher) especially is too much of a chameleon, changing color from pathetic to sexy to serious at the plot’s convenience. But it’s true enough to the music and has enough […]

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Coffeehouse goodbye

A few weeks ago my 8th class full of songwriting students met in the Duke Coffeehouse on east campus to sing their final-project songs. It was a final for me, too—my last significant act as an instructor at Duke—and it was a great way to close things out. I don’t remember the event ever going […]

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Operatic ambition and operatic reality

A few days ago that most incisive of gossip columnists, Opera Chic, had a little thing about Rufus Wainwright’s operatic ambitions, which are pretty high-flown (“My dream is to compose three operas that will be performed for the next two centuries”) but also seem to come from a sincere attachment to the genre. It’s refreshing, […]

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Going to town with “Going to a Town”

I’ve had it on my list for a while to look into Rufus Wainwright’s music. The time finally came late last week, when Roger Bourland posted a YouTube clip of “Going to a Town,” Wainwright’s new single. Bourland started his blog in connection with a freshman seminar on Wainwright’s music he was giving at UCLA. […]

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The badness of the best and worst

I’ve just been talking to a colleague in another department about a statistical analysis of Beatles chord progressions that he’s doing. I could go on and on about the pitfalls of that, but I won’t. He’s doing it to illustrate a statistical technique, so he’s not pretending to be coming up with the grand theory […]

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