Thursday, October 25, 2007

Review of my OA Daniel Johnston Article in Offbeat

Alex Rawls gives my Daniel Johnston piece in the Oxford American a favorable nod in his Oct. 25, 2007 Pop Life column, comparing the OA Music issue and Da Capo's Best Music Writing of 2007:
More than suggesting that people will still read longer works if they're well-written and say something - check out novelist Jonathan Lethem's profile of James Brown in Best Music Writing for Exhibit A - the pieces on cult artist Daniel Johnston speak to the difference in the publications. Baton Rouge's Alex V. Cook looks at Johnston's conflicted art and the questions it raises, particularly as songs stretch into albums that stretch into a career. Nitsuh Abebe's piece on Johnston for Pitchfork looks at the drama in his life now and the equally complex questions about his family relations, and the degree to which they contribute to his fragility and the degree to which they benefit from it.

Abebe's piece is more compelling, but Cook's essay serves the function that liner notes once served. It contextualizes Johnston's art and suggests a way to hear it, and that's what the majority of the OA music issue does.