The importance of music—specifically, rock and roll—cannot be overstated when considering this novel. From Iggy & the Stooges to the MC5, Beautiful Music is a veritable crash course in Detroit’s lasting legacy on the music scene; the clanging guitars and screaming singers changed the wiring of an entire generation.
To forget Etta Moten is to miss the chance to celebrate a life as eventful as the twentieth century she traversed, an American biography that boasted not only a second act but a third and a triumphant fourth.
In pursuit of that rough and ready insight, I’ve been listening to the right of wrong and to the wrong of right in Brooklyn music for a couple of years. Here follows a smidgeon of the music in Brooklyn and a little of the Brooklyn in music, overheard.
Though I in no way consider John Darnielle to be the only artist who negotiates his connection with his fans through sharing his pain, I appreciate the way he has interrogated this dynamic in his recent work, both lyrically and in prose.
“I’ve said that I have a love-hate relationship with the institute of higher learning, but I’m not opposed to scholarship. A poet is a scholar. I really believe that you should know not just your own age, but other ages.”