Hey, I want to recommend a book ! “You’re History:The Twelve Strangest Women In Music” by Lesley Chow is not so much actual ‘history’ as it is a celebration and appreciation of sounds. Literally. It’s about songs and artists infiltrating our hearts not via literal, linear lyrics but rather through idiosyncratic improvs, ad-libbing, glitches and off the charts weirdness. Here is her description of the book’s inspiration in the intro:
“What lifts a song into greatness may be the singer’s impulse to lengthen, slur or skip over a note, or an incorrect turn of phrase that nonetheless becomes iconic”.
It’s about how Chaka Khan’s glorious “oohs” on “Ain’t Nobody” and Rihanna’s emphasis on the “ella” in “Umbrella” embody life itself. How lyrics that say “nothing” can be everything. The book features chapters on several of my personal and forever Queens ( Sade, Kate Bush, TLC, Chaka), breaks down the endless wonder of Janet Jackson’s lustful, obsessive “If”, offers the absolute best take on Tom Tom Club I’ve ever read in my whole nerdy life and closes things out with her own list of “The Greatest Oohs in Modern Music”. I was endlessly nodding as I read it, all the while marking pages with freakin’ post-its so I could re-read them and nod again later.
Look, it’s cool to read a music book and get some validation once in a while, to discover that someone else is experiencing songs like you. And it’s rare to hear someone taking the angle Chow does in “You’re History”. Never mind that I am always down for deep analysis regarding TLC. It’s inexpensive, paperback and is only 162 passionate pages long so it’s easy in every respect. If you are the kind of person who actually enjoys my meandering blog, then I think you might like it 🙂 Okay, onward !
And now please join me for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the best new songs that’ve crossed our path over recent days. All are lush, tuneful, anthemic and beautiful. You can listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify.
Listen on Soundcloud
Click here for Spotify Playlist