I read an article in The Wall Street Journal, the August 19-20 Pursuits section (I’m a little behind), titled “Reading, Writing–And Rocking Out.” Here’s a bit:
Having seen the power of songs to promote TV shows, movies and even video games, publishers and authors are increasingly experimenting with soundtracks for books. Writers like James Patterson and Lemony Snicket are giving out CDs with their novels. Others, like Mr. Ellis, are posting music suggestions on Web sites, blogs or MySpace pages.
My fist reaction was disgust. Books are good things, all by themselves! Why promote to such extremes? Why should writers have to? The words on the page, the story…But then again, I like music, and we’re in the midst of a ‘media-crossover’ boom, it seems. Bands are on Myspace, books are coming with cds, and there are novel-related Web sites like Dallas Hudgen’s blog for his novel Drive Like Hell, which has Fulmerica Radio on it and lists of his characters’ links. And then there is the Web site for Suzanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell (an awesome, awesome book) which includes reviews of the book written by both of the main characters. Soundtracks would certainly work better for some books than others, and when it comes to new music and novels you have to wonder how much of it is simply incestuous promotion of some sort. I have to say though, that Lemony Snicket is damn cool, and the “20th-century Russian symphony, which was intended to be played before the end of the world” packaged with A Series of Unfortunate Events sounds riveting, but then again, the Lemony Snicket books have been commodified like most new fiction hasn’t.
I don’t have a soundtrack to any book coming out, but, I do have some music in roataion. And for your listening pleasure, here it is:
1. Gnarles Barkley, St. Elsewhere. This is by far one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time. It’s a whole work of art and the whole thing works together. My son loves this CD; he sings to “Crazy” and dances to any of it. Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse are my new heroes. And all of those costumes! The costumes!
2. Robert Randolf & The Family Band, Unclassified. Awesome all the time and anytime–praise the Pedal Steel.
3. Benevento-Russo Duo, Best Reason to Buy the Sun. Jam band: Organ/Keybooards and drums–what more do you need? Sometimes this just doesn’t do it for me, but other times it’s just right. Excellent for video game playing…
4. Los Lobos, Kiko. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard this sooner. It’s another one that’s great any time. It induces a happy nostalgia, maybe because it came out in 1992–is there an early 90s vibe?
5. Jack Johnson, Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George. This is nice and chill and great for the kiddos.