Thursday, 4 September 2008


I've written a piece for the Book Notes section of Largehearted Boy's excellent music and book site, which you can now read here.

Elsewhere, Signal To Noise have reviewed I Shot a Man in Reno, and very favourably too. I don't think you can read it online, so I'll include the potted highlights here.

"Over the course of this thoughtful essay, Thomson... is a surefooted guide through the musical graveyard. His writing is never dry or academic, but he smartly puts each song into its sociological and psychological context. It's fascinating to see how concepts of death changed over the decades, as Thomson points out trends such as the explosion of death songs during the psychedelic era.... He makes excellent use of quotes from some A-list songwriters; he interviewed Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Will Oldham and Nick Cave, and he draws on other sources for remarks from other musicians..... At first, it may seem puzzling that songs on this grim topic have become hits and even popular standards, but Thomson persuasively shows that death very much belongs in pop music."

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