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1978 Pazz & Jop: New Wave Hegemony and the Bebop Question

1978 Pazz & Jop: New Wave Hegemony and the Bebop Question

Given my pure mania for what should now be referred to as new wave — punk, I’ll always remember you — the fifth or sixth annual Pazz & Jop Critics’ Poll should really feel like a triumph, and in some methods it does. The 98 ballots acquired have been virtually half once more as many as the earlier excessive of 68, and a acutely aware try was made to keep away from loading the panel with new wavers, with many freshpeople drawn from such citadels of custom as Stereo Review, High Fidelity, Circus, and Crawdaddy (which I’ll name Feature the day Johnny Rotten — or John Lydon, okay — makes the cowl). To a lesser extent than anticipated, I received my conservative response from these critics. But it was overwhelmed by a post-punk sweep to which greater than 80% of the voters contributed with no less than one choice.

Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model is the largest winner in Pazz & Jop historical past. Except in 1974, when there have been a mere 28 voters, solely The Basement Tapes has ever remodeled half the ballots, and Costello’s level unfold — large over the runner-up Stones and completely staggering over everybody else — is unprecedented and then some. But what’s much more exceptional is the remainder of the chart. Last yr, eight of the 30 finishers have been immediately related to new wave; this yr — not counting Brian Eno, the Cars, or Cheap Trick — the determine is 16. And now think about the non-new wavers in the prime 20, the place the ballot is most dependable statistically. Eno produced No New York and Talking Heads and is referred to in a current difficulty of Punk as “God”; the Cars might share a producer with Queen, however they share a&r, to not point out key musical concepts, with Television and the Dictators. Bruce Springsteen was a punk earlier than there have been punks — a “real” punk, as they are saying. Singer-songwriter Neil Young encored at the Garden with a reprise of his paean to Johnny Rotten, and singer-songwriter Warren Zevon is an excitable boy who has carried out Neil one higher by encoring with “God Save the Queen.” Hard rock perennials Stones and Who each responded kind of explicitly to the punk problem with their hardest data in years. The greatest album since 1971 (if not 4004 B.C.) by the venerable rock vanguardist Captain Beefheart responds to nothing besides the climate, however the Captain was his personal sort of new waver earlier than there was an ocean, or a flag. And lastly there’s Willie Nelson, the nice exception, described by ace poll annotator Tom Smucker as follows: “Nelson takes the crossover spirit of 1978 Country Music and crosses over so far with it he misses the mainstream entirely and ends up with an album that takes risks and gains integrity.”

In half these monolithic outcomes mirror the inactivity of some main artists. Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Randy Newman, and Jackson Browne all completed very excessive in 1977 and might in all probability have executed so once more this yr. (Note, nevertheless, that Kate & Anna McGarrigle, quantity 13 in 1977, put the disappointing Pronto Monto on precisely one poll. Though a minimum of they acquired 10 factors. Nicolette Larson, unaccountably named feminine vocalist of the yr in Rolling Stone’s so-called critics awards, obtained solely 5 from her supporter.) But even when Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon had pitched in, there would nonetheless be little question that for rock critics 1978 was a yr through which to rediscover rock and roll.

Despite the wing of the motion represented in the ballot by Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, who lead a band referred to as Rockpile that performed higher than the Stones this yr, I don’t purchase the declare that new wavers merely revive the rock ’n’ roll verities. Still, when it comes to spirit and construction the concept has its validity. The wit and the mood of Presley/Berry and Beatles/Stones, intensified by compact, catchy, rhythmically insistent music, abound on the greatest new wave data. What’s extra, the similar virtues at the moment are being pursued with born-again fervor by the better of the non-new wave choices. For critics who’ve deplored rock’s growing pomposity and blandness, this can be a vindication. Rock and roll is our ardour, and all of the sudden there’s extra of the actual stuff than at any time since rock criticism started.

As the ballots crossed my desk, although, I started to really feel vaguely depressed. I’ve by no means thought it a crucial advantage to nurture weirdness, but for some cause I stored remembering the remark of satisfied eccentric Tom Hull, whose 1977 votes for such cynosures as Blondie Chaplin, Kevin Ayers, Hirth Martinez, and Tony Wilson received misplaced in the consensus, however who this time positioned 9 of his 10 favorites in the prime 30: “I haven’t heard as much odd stuff as in years before, and this list strikes me as pretty mainstream. Some mainstream, eh?” As fellow Pazz & Jop Poobah Tom Carson and I computed the Rs by way of the Zs, my melancholy received worse. It so occurs that there are a variety of orthodox new wavers towards the finish of the alphabet, together with three of Trouser Press’s Anglophiliac cabal, and instantly artists like Dave Edmunds (as Brit-purist as r&r will get), Devo (whose marginal early displaying had inspired us to hope they wouldn’t place in any respect), and Generation X (completed however under no circumstances unique — or principled — power-pop punks) have been vaulting upwards. This was turning into new wave hegemony, and I don’t like hegemony of any type. Not even the sudden success of my very own favourite report of the yr, Wire’s Pink Flag, warmed my coronary heart.

For though I stay a gleefully defiant rock and roll fan — I’m positive the Ramones are one purpose I’ve escaped the cosmic cynicism that impacts lots of my contemporaries today — I’ve lived too lengthy to really feel snug with monomania. Rock and roll has all the time been eclectic, to not say cannibalistic, and in the bleak mid-’70s all however its most dogged (dog-eared?) crucial adherents discovered to translate that eclecticism into an enjoyment of other forms of music. In my very own case, recurring consideration to the byways of pop was augmented by a sure tolerant fondness for the greatest of folks, curiosity about the extra accessible downtown avant-gardism, and renewed enthusiasm for jazz. This yr, I elected to exclude the latter two genres from my private Pazz & Jop prime 30, although I’ve definitely gotten extra pleasure from David Behrman’s On the Other Ocean/Figure in a Clearing, Eric Dolphy’s Berlin Concerts, and a number of Sonny Rollins data than from many rock albums I’ve admired in 1978. My causes have been half formalism (rock nonetheless appears to me to connote songs and/or electrical devices), half humility (I don’t fake to cowl jazz or avant-garde music and am not totally assured of my judgments), and half expediency (there have been too many rock and roll data I needed to record). But my choice didn’t cease me from rooting for Steve Reich’s (relatively Muzaky) Music for 18 Musicians, which tied for 38th, or Carla Bley’s (unfastened however likable) European Tour 1977, which got here in 54th.

The main disappointments, although, have been in black music. Whatever different style distinctions you need to make (and they’re all the time fuzzy), it’s a bizarre change to behave as if black music (no matter precisely meaning) is just not rock and roll. If Motown was rock and roll, then so are the O’Jays and Donna Summer; if Linda Ronstadt and Randy Newman are a part of the custom, then so are Natalie Cole and Gil Scott-Heron. Rock and roll is a direct descendant of rhythm and blues, and so are soul, funk, middle-class black pop from Linda Hopkins to Ashford & Simpson, Philly-derived disco, reggae (much less categorically), and jazz fusion and Eurodisco (much less categorically nonetheless, since each are genuinely interracial types with disparate forebears). All these genres share formal and cultural presuppositions with white rock. As in white rock, their virtues have been diluted and hyped up, and they not often maintain over a whole album. But activate WWRL for half an hour and they’ll nonetheless be there.

All that is so apparent I really feel dumb writing it. But it bears reiteration in the yr of Saturday Night Fever and its pathetic, homophobic rebuttal, “Disco Sucks.” Whatever the actual risks and deficiencies of disco as a style and a mentality, some disco data do extra than simply succeed on their very own phrases, as dance music — a few of them are fantastic rock and roll. The Best of the Trammps (ineligible for the ballot, like all best-ofs) is tough, driving soul in the nice custom of Wilson Pickett; the Bee Gees’ aspect of Saturday Night Fever (which broke — broke the ice, broke data, broke the financial institution — in 1978 however is ineligible as a result of it was launched in 1977) is impressed silliness in the nice custom of “Carrie-Anne” and “Itchycoo Park.” But the disco-sucks crowd can’t hear that any greater than they will hear a Charlie Parker solo or a Joni Mitchell music. These assholes are such fanatics that they seize upon the first trace of synthesized percussion or rhythmic strings or chukka-chukka guitar — hell, the first lilt — as proof that anyone from Bowie to Poco has “gone disco,” although most frequently the discos might care much less even when it’s true. They flip the fatuity, monotonousness, and wimpoid tendencies of the worst (or most monofunctional) disco into an excuse for rejecting all modern black music besides maybe reggae, and I guess they don’t pay attention a lot to Otis Redding both. One hesitates to cry racism. But that is definitely a very good imitation.

So though the sweep put my beloved Pink Flag in the operating, it value me Lee Dorsey’s Night People, which I’ve performed as a lot as any album to seem this yr, though beneath scrutiny it does come up barely brief on consistency and wit. Night People is an actual fluke, a basic New Orleans r&b album a decade after the type peaked, an incredible rock and roll album by an artist who’s now 54 years previous. It completed 34th, one in every of 4 data by black artists that ended up between 31 and 35. Two of the others have been P-Funk outings, Bootsy? Player of the Year and Parliament’s Motor-Booty Affair. Together with Funkadelic’s One Nation Under a Groove, the yr’s main black album method up at 27, they might add as much as 192 factors and top-10 standing for George Clinton if that have been the means issues have been counted. Oh properly. The two different most profitable black albums, Al Green’s Truth n’ Time (30th) and Ornette Coleman’s Body Meta (32nd), have been launched late in the yr on labels with sporadic (Green) or virtually nonexistent (Coleman) distribution and press protection, and may need carried out higher with extra time for word-of-mouth. But that wouldn’t have shattered the new wave hegemony both.

One factor [that] may ultimately problem it might be a shift in the crucial inhabitants, however though I sought out writers specializing in black music, there aren’t very many. Only 12 of my 98 respondents, together with two disco individuals, match the class, and these adopted a a lot much less predictable line than the new wavers. This is partly as a result of solely the greatest new wave artists are getting recorded, whereas the time period “black music” encompasses the multitude of genres I’ve already listed and in all probability a thousand albums a yr. But it’s fascinating to me that of the 12, solely three named black albums solely. In distinction there have been 39 critics who named not one black album — not solely new wavers however an awesome many middle-of-the-road Joni-to-Brucie rock traditionalists, together with a number of writers who I do know love black rock and roll. If it weren’t for Lee Dorsey, I might have been amongst them myself. Which appears nearly as good a spot as any to enlighten you with my very own painstakingly calibrated prime 30, which you’ll learn on newsprint solely as a result of Rupert gained’t pay for granite:

1. Wire: Pink Flag (Harvest) 13. 2. Nick Lowe: Pure Pop for Now People (Columbia) 13. three. Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food (Sire) 13. four. The Clash: Give ’Em Enough Rope (Epic) 11. 5. Neil Young: Comes a Time (Reprise) 11. 6. Elvis Costello: This Year’s Model (Columbia) 11. 7. The Rolling Stones: Some Girls (Rolling Stones) 7. eight. Lee Dorsey: Night People (ABC) 7. 9. Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band: Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Warner Bros.) 7. 10. The Vibrators: Pure Mania (Columbia) 7.

11. Ramones: Road to Ruin (Sire). 12. Joe Ely: Honky Tonk Masquerade (MCA). 13. Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove (Warner Bros.) 14. Blondie: Parallel Lines (Chrysalis). 15. Television: Adventure (Elektra). 16. Willie Nelson: Stardust (Columbia). 17. Al Green: Truth n’ Time (Hi). 18. Ashford & Simpson: Is It Still Good to Ya (Warner Bros.) 19. Ian Dury: New Boots and Panties!! (Stiff). 20. Shoes: Black Vinyl Shoes (PVC).

21. Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy (Asylum). 22. Parliament: Motor-Booty Affair (Casablanca). 23. Dave Edmunds: Tracks on Wax four (Swan Song). 24. Willie Nelson: Face of a Fighter (Lone Star). 25. Bob Marley & the Wailers: Kaya (Island). 26. David Johansen (Blue Sky). 27. Professor Longhair: Live on the Queen Mary (Harvest). 28. Michael Mantler: Movies (Watt). 29. Patti Smith Group: Easter (Arista). 30. Brian Eno: Before and After Science (Island).

And simply because it was such a superb yr, permit me to append the makings of a prime 40 for these with sentimental attachments to that idea: Raydio, Steve Gibbons Band, Ornette Coleman, Albert Collins, Loleatta Holloway, Teddy Pendergrass, Bruce Springsteen, Rodney Crowell, Tom Robinson Band, Tapper Zukie.

Measured by the sheer variety of terrific new data, it has been a superb yr, too, regardless of my misgivings — greater than satisfying in black music and the greatest ever in arduous rock. That’s proper, people, I stated the greatest ever in onerous rock. Which is the much less ominous cause for this yr’s new wave hegemony. Because blacks have all the time been handled like a second-class market, a cost-cutting, singles-oriented, let’s-lay-down-a-party-track-and-split angle continues to wreck the general effectiveness of black LPs — the Raydio album, as an example, knocks the Bee Gees out of the field till its final two songs. That’s one purpose six of the 13 black artists I’ve named are clustered in the addendum at the backside of my listing. But the cause so many new wave data are clustered towards the prime — 9 out of 15 — is just that they’re so damned good. In its first flush of studio assurance, the new wave mentality has set off a artistic explosion, particularly in songwriting, and I simply don’t consider in upgrading an album on political grounds. Because my rankings are based mostly solely on some intuitive stability of listenability and aesthetic depth, I used to be pressured to conclude that any 5 songs on the Vibrators or Ramones LPs have been of broader usefulness than the fantastic 11-minute scatalogical rap that opens Funkadelic’s aspect two. Similar judgments have been made by a devotee of the extra normal r&b-rooted arduous rock, Dave Marsh, who would have listed Saturday Night Fever and Earth, Wind & Fire’s All ’n All had they not been launched in 1977, however who lastly determined that Candi Staton and Teddy Pendergrass didn’t fairly reduce it.

I’m gratified that somebody like Marsh, who’s much more skeptical about new wave than I’m, ought to discover a lot good rock and roll of his type this yr, as a result of it reinforces my suspicion that everyone’s rocking more durable. True, most music bizzers are relieved that the Sex Pistols have vanished into infamy; they nonetheless discover the Clash strident and the Ramones simplistic, declaring such bands unacceptable to the imaginary shopper who personifies their very own complacency and cowardice. But as a result of it’s the nature of complacent cowards to hedge all bets — and as a result of they need to show they’re not, you recognize, sq. — they reassert their very own putative attachment to “good” rock and roll at the similar time, thus easing the gross sales breakthrough of ‘twixt-wave-and-stream bands like the Cars and Cheap Trick. An identical snap-to by previous followers (together with radio individuals) who had beforehand been backsliding into resignation makes fast, shocking business successes of Dire Straits (42nd in Pazz & Jop regardless of late-year launch) and George Thorogood and the Destroyers (51st regardless of a small press record), spearheading a minor white-r&b revival. The extra conservative critics, desperate to be open-minded, discover the new Elvis irresistible and develop into immediately infatuated with Nick Lowe, whose genius for top pop was inaudible to all however a couple of pub-rock specialists three years in the past, whereas the new wavers transfer on to the likes of Pere Ubu and the Contortions and love Captain Beefheart higher the second time round. Meanwhile, extra and extra musicians play tons and numerous tough, robust rock and roll.

It’s solely truthful so as to add that Marsh himself doesn’t share my sanguine temper. He’s afraid it’s all a final gasp, and for his sort of rock and roll it typically appears that method. An fascinating statistical sidelight of the ballot is the excessive points-to-voters ratio of Who Are You and (hullo! what’s this doing right here?) Street-Legal. When this occurs with data under the prime 15, it often signifies preemptive ballot-stuffing, a cultish willpower to push the Real Stuff up there, which in earlier polls helped hype Eno and Dr. Buzzard and Kraftwerk however today appears to be the protection of the mainstream. (Some mainstream, eh?) On the different hand, the 10 data in the prime 30 which have gone gold — Stones, Springsteen, Young, Cars, Zevon, Who, Dylan, Nelson, Cheap Trick, Funkadelic — are principally to Marsh’s sort of style, together with 4 in his prime 10, and he additionally voted for 36-ranked Bob Seger, who spent the yr buying and selling in his silver bullets on one thing extra trendy. So perhaps what the traditionalists are actually frightened about is that, like me, he suspects Willie Nelson is extra probably than Pete Townshend (or Bruce Springsteen) to make good music until he’s 60. Maybe they too detect in the eyes of the Cars and Cheap Trick the clean gleam that provides away artists who’re turning to platinum from the soul out. Or perhaps it’s simply that he’s not snug with the shift to the left himself. Three years in the past Bruce Springsteen was younger blood, the bearer of rock-and-roll future. Now he’s a likable conservative — the very important middle, your favourite uncle, like that.

This would appear to be a swing yr. The truism that success on the Pazz & Jop chart isn’t precisely synonymous with success on the one in Record World is borne out primarily by new wavers, who contributed most of this yr’s dozen or so stiffs. Not even Patti Smith, who with assist from Uncle Brucie lastly bagged her hit single, achieved gold, which in the yr of trentuple platinum (Saturday Night Fever has bought over 30 million models worldwide) is starting to strike many bizzers as a quite negligible business aim. But for the extra poppish artists the prognosis is favorable. Patti got here shut, and Talking Heads is over 200,000 with “Take Me to the River” nonetheless breaking as a single, so who is aware of the place that may finish? This Year’s Model has additionally completed 200,000 or so and Costello seems unstoppable — he’s received a greater shot at going platinum ultimately than Jackson Browne appeared to 5 years in the past. Lowe and Edmunds, who bought zilch, are simply as gifted as Elvis, however much less passionate, much less formidable, and much less younger; nonetheless, if Rockpile is prepared to slog it, they’ll do all proper too. So will Blondie, already a serious [band] in Europe and Australia; if Devo doesn’t go the approach of the Tubes, they may too, which I’ll attempt to persuade myself is a combined blessing.

For the others, nevertheless, issues look bleaker, with the U.S. gross sales prospects of the two biggest bands to return out of this factor, the Ramones and the Clash, particularly miserable. So far, all that the Ramones’ arduous touring and good music has netted them is extra onerous touring, extra good music, and a nationwide cult giant sufficient to maintain their street operation out of the pink; the Clash are stars in England however have proven as little curiosity in America as America has proven in them. David Johansen’s solo debut bought disappointingly, and though his sudden professionalism is superior and his firm help unusually single-minded, whether or not his hip, hoarse New York fashion can ever make an actual dent in these United States is starting to look questionable. Solo Tom Verlaine, now minus Television, will are likely to his personal type of professionalism, which can most assuredly have all the things to do with music (and phrases) and virtually nothing with turning into a star. Ian Dury is so English that he’ll all the time be a fringe profit right here. And Wire and Pere Ubu, each of whom take pleasure in modest success in the U.Okay. (although Ubu is as loyal to Cleveland as the Clash is to its protected European house), are presently with out U.S. labels.

Finally, although, I’m not satisfied that each one this crass professional and con retains significance. I’ve mentioned gross sales yearly on this wrap-up not solely as a result of they have an effect on inventive technique and outline what sort of group the music and we its followers inhabit, but in addition, in fact, as a result of they decide what data get made and thus enter historical past. But it appears clear (knock on plastic) that we’re over that backside line for some time. Maybe the Clash, embroiled and embittered, will bollocks Britain; perhaps the Ramones and David Johansen will lastly lose coronary heart; perhaps Tom Verlaine will do one solo album and disappear; perhaps Wire will return to artwork faculty; perhaps Pere Ubu gained’t even put out data in Cleveland any extra. But although any of these issues might occur and one or two of them in all probability will, all of them gained’t. Nor will each certainly one of the extra salable new wavers flip to shit earlier than our very ears. This new sort of rock and roll goes to be round for some time.

If somebody had informed me 5 years in the past that I used to be destined for cultism, I might have scoffed, or cried. Rock and roll was pop music, that was my line — it don’t imply a factor if it ain’t obtained that cultural resonance. And in a critic like Marsh, the concept that good rock should transfer an expansive, broad-based viewers stays as highly effective as any inborn aesthetic conservatism. But I’ve modified my thoughts, and I wouldn’t be stunned if the enthusiasm for jazz that the bleak mid-’70s rekindled in me had rather a lot to do with it. For, wanting round me, I’m reminded of nothing a lot as what I’ve examine the twilight of the swing period. Swing was very important common music into the ’40s, and a few of its proponents — not simply Duke and Billie, both — did nice work till a lot later, though not often in a big-band format. But when Frank Sinatra shifted public consideration from the bandleaders, who have been swing’s inventive standard-bearers, onto the vocalists, most of whom had little of his expertise and much less of his integrity, swing started to evolve into the fatuous pop music of Mitch Miller and Doris Day, the music rock and roll revolted towards.

Long earlier than then, nevertheless, two totally different teams of black musicians had staged their very own revolts. The Kansas City fashion that had been refined into big-band swing was additionally simplified into rhythm-and-blues, which many blacks and slowly growing numbers of whites most popular for dancing. Aimed level clean at the new teenage market (typically together with nation music), r&b in fact become rock and roll. Meanwhile, someplace to the different aspect of the pop-swing mainstream, renegade big-band musicians sparked by Charlie Parker invented the apparently undanceable, virtuoso jazz fashion referred to as bebop. Shortly after World War II, the type loved a quick vogue symbolized in the image magazines by Dizzy Gillespie and his zoot go well with. Despite that flurry, although, bebop by no means turned massively widespread, and a few of its key figures — reminiscent of Thelonious Monk — had hassle incomes a dwelling at it. Yet by some means, by the late ’50s, the harmonic and rhythmic concepts that originated with Parker pervaded jazz-based music.

There are not any good historic analogies, and the equation of bebop with new wave doesn’t come shut, not least as a result of when bebop started there was no bebop — no popular-music-as-art-music — and now there’s. As somebody who has regarded Charlie Parker as the biggest 20th-century American artist even at the peak of his infatuations with William Carlos Williams and Chuck Berry, I get nervous simply placing the comparability on paper. But I’ve been making it in dialog for six months now, and I do know of no higher method to clarify what I see occurring. The rock that has develop into America’s in style music is rotten from Olivia Newton-John all the option to Kansas. Good artwork and/or worthy leisure will proceed to be created inside its numerous genres, however as types they’re moribund. Inevitably, the new wave concepts will infiltrate these genres and pop hybrids proliferate; since hybridization has all the time been a way to good rock and roll — eclecticism, keep in mind? — a few of them could also be fairly thrilling and the actual stuff will maintain occurring. I don’t consider any greater than I ever have that new wave will flip into the subsequent massive factor. But I really feel sure that it’ll survive and evolve as an entity — the musicians shall be there, with a group of followers to help them. Some of them might even age extra gracefully than most rock and rollers.

One cause this comparability makes me nervous is that in a number of methods new wave is bebop’s obverse: can a black music of unprecedented (for jazz) harmonic sophistication actually parallel a white music of unprecedented (for absolutely anything) self-conscious primitivism? But although numerous new wave could also be technically unsophisticated, not all of it’s — the English punk second was an excessive — and in any case rock-and-roll so-called sophistication has all the time been conceptual, not technical. What’s extra, rock and roll has been exploring self-conscious primitivism as a way of creating black-derived types genuine for white individuals ever since Elvis Presley; typically, as in Eric Burdon, the outcomes are embarrassing, however different occasions, as in the greatest one-take-and-out Bob Dylan, they’re magnificent. And it’s fascinating that in a few methods the parallel actually comes alive — as a result of, along with the hostile bohemian stance assumed by each new wavers and beboppers, a corresponding musical technique has served to repel potential followers of every vanguard.

The nice jazz critic Martin Williams argues that Charlie Parker’s most decisive innovation was not harmonic however rhythmic — that the distinction between a Parker phrase and virtually the similar notes performed by Ben Webster was that “Parker inflects, accents and pronounces that phrase so differently that one simply may not recognize it.” While I can’t comply with bebop’s harmonic permutations intently sufficient to guage with any certainty, that’s all the time sounded proper to this unschooled bebop fan. Similarly, John Piccarrella has asserted in these pages that the essence of latest wave is what he calls “forced rhythm,” a time period that evokes the frenzied impact achieved by many in any other case dissimilar bands. And as soon as once more, that sounds proper to me. But right here’s one other obverse: Charlie Parker swung with a vengeance, whereas new wavers — in contrast to Guy Lombardo or Linda Ronstadt, who merely don’t swing — don’t swing with a vengeance. Oddly sufficient, although, turned-off listeners have complained about the “frantic” high quality of each musics.

The essential cause I’ve by no means purchased that stuff about new wave reviving the rock-’n’-roll verities is that new wave doesn’t sound very very similar to (good ol’) rock ’n’ roll. It’s too “forced,” too “frantic.” It’s this — mixed with its disquieting means of approaching each wild (scorching) and indifferent (cool), moderately than straightforwardly emotional and expressive, one other impact it typically shares with bebop — that limits its viewers, and it’s this that makes it so inspiring aesthetically. This isn’t simply (blues-based) white music — it’s White Music, or perhaps even WHITE MUSIC. Which brings us again, unusually sufficient, to new wave hegemony.

I consider new wave’s aggressive whiteness is a power; I like its extremism, its honesty, its self-knowledge. But like the English punks, who love reggae as a lot as their very own music, I’d think about myself some type of robotic if that was the place my wishes ended. And although I’ve made a case for all the black subgenres already, let me shut with a zinger. Maybe, simply perhaps, if new wave is bebop, then disco is rhythm-and-blues. Once once more, the analogy could also be, er, barely flawed — disco is a worldwide pop music, whereas r&b took a decade simply to get past the juke joints and the “race market.” But each onerous funk to the left of pop disco and Eurodisco to its proper resemble, of their patterns of manufacturing and consumption, different eccentric, largely self-referential types (reggae, as an example) which have contributed a lot to the common vitality of in style music. And this isn’t least as a result of the relationship of each types to their audiences is unmediated by detailed consideration from the mass media or knowledgeable crucial scrutiny.

In the ’50s, r&b coalesced with bebop concepts in types referred to as “hard bop” and “soul jazz.” What do you assume new wave disco may sound like?

Finally, my because of all those that acquired their ballots in on time, with a number of samples:

Bobby Abrams, Dale Adamson, Vince Aletti, Billy Altman, Colman Andrews, Anonymous, Lester Bangs, Michael Barackman, Alan Betrock, Michael Bloom, Steve Bloom, Jon Bream, Tom Carson, Brian Chin, Georgia Christgau, Jay Cocks, J. D. Considine, Noel Coppage, Bruce Dancis, Michael Davis, Robert Duncan, Lita Eliscu, Susan Elliott, Todd Everett, Jim Farber, Carol Flake, Mike Freedberg, Dave Frechette, David Fricke, Aaron Fuchs, Deborah Frost, Russell Gersten, Harold Goldberg, Toby Goldstein, Jim Green, Pablo Yoruba Guzman, Bob Hilburn, Geoffrey Hines, Richard Hogan, Stephen Holden, Tom Hull, Scott Isler, David Jackson, George Lane, Bruce Malamut, Greil Marcus, Dave Marsh, The Masked Marvel, Janet Maslin, Perry Meisel, Joe McEwen, Daisann McLane, John Milward, Rick Mitz, Teri Morris, John Morthland, Richard Mortifoglio, Fred Murphy, Paul Nelson, Jon Pareles, Fran Pelzman, John Piccarella, Kit Rachlis, Richard Riegel, Ira Robbins, Wayne Robins, John Rockwell, Frank Rose, Joe Sasty, Mitchell Schneider, Dave Schulps, Andy Schwartz, Bud Scoppa, Susin Shapiro, Bob Sheridan, Don Shewey, Michael Shore, Steve Simels, Robert Smith, Tom Smucker, Chip Stern, Geoffrey Stokes, Wesley Strick, Sam Sutherland, Ariel Swartley, John Swenson, Roy Trakin, Roger Trilling, Ken Tucker, Gregg Turner, Mark von Lehmden, Richard C. Walls, Charley Walters, Ed Ward, Paulette Weiss, James Wolcott, Jon Young.

VINCE ALETTI: USA-European Connection (Marlin) 10; Don Ray: Garden of Love (Polydor) 10; Musique: Keep On Jumpin’ (Prelude) 10; Voyage (Marlin) 10; Sylvester: Step II (Fantasy) 10; Alec Costandinos & the Syncophonic Orchestra: Romeo and Juliet (Casablanca) 10; Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (ECM) 10; James Wells: True Love Is My Destiny (AVI) 10; Ashford & Simpson: Is It Still Good to Ya (Warner Bros.) 10; Cerrone: Cerrone IV: The Golden Touch (Cotillion) 10.

LESTER BANGS: The Clash: Give ’Em Enough Rope (Epic) 30; Ramones: Road to Ruin (Sire) 20; Joe Carrasco and El Molino: Tex-Mex Rock-Roll (Lisa) 15; David Johansen (Blue Sky) 5; Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band: Stranger in Town (Capitol) 5; Lou Reed: Street Hassle (Arista) 5; Television: Adventure (Elektra) 5; Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance (Blank) 5; Brian Eno: Before and After Science (Island) 5; No New York (Antilles) 5.

TOM CARSON: David Johansen (Blue Sky) 18; Elvis Costello: This Year’s Model (Columbia) 15; The Clash: Give ’Em Enough Rope (Epic) 12; Ramones: Road to Ruin (Sire) 12; Rolling Stones: Some Girls (Rolling Stones) 10; Brian Eno: Before and After Science (Island) eight; Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band: Stranger in Town (Capitol) 7; Lou Reed: Street Hassle (Arista) 7; Ian Dury: New Boots and Panties!! (Stiff) 6; Patti Smith Group: Easter (Arista) 5.

PABLO “YORUBA” GUZMAN: Parliament: Motor-Booty Affair (Casablanca) 15; Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove (Warner Bros.) 15; Bootsy’s Rubber Band: Bootsy? Player of the Year (Warner Bros.) 15; Tito Puente: Homonajo a Beny (Tico) 10; Eddie Palmieri: Lucumi Macumba Voodoo (Epic) 10; Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson: Secrets (Arista) 10; Chick Corea: Secret Agent (Polydor) 10; Tipico Ideal: Out of This World (Coco) 5; Van Morrison: Wavelength (Warner Bros.) 5; Neil Young: Comes a Time (Reprise) 5.

STEPHEN HOLDEN: Keith Jarrett: Sun Bear Concerts (ECM) 19; Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food (Sire) 13; Nina Simone: Baltimore (CTI) 12; Elvis Costello: This Year’s Model (Columbia) 11; Rolling Stones: Some Girls (Rolling Stones) 10; Neil Young: Comes a Time (Reprise) 9; Daryl Hall & John Oates: Along the Red Ledge (RCA) eight; Ashford & Simpson: Is It Still Good to Ya (Warner Bros.) 7; Gerry Rafferty: City to City (United Artists) 6; Wendy Waldman: Strange Company (Warner Bros.) 5.

TOM HULL: Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food (Sire) 15; Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance (Blank) 15; Ramones: Road to Ruin (Sire) 14; Nick Lowe: Pure Pop for Now People (Columbia) 12; Blondie: Parallel Lines (Chrysalis) 12; The Clash: Give ’Em Enough Rope (Epic) 9; Brian Eno: Before and After Science (Island) eight; Dave Edmunds: Tracks on Wax four (Swan Song) 5; Silver Convention: Love in a Sleeper (Midsong International) 5; Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band: Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Warner Bros.) 5.

DAVID JACKSON: Ornette Coleman: Body Meta (Artists House) 30; Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band: Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Warner Bros.) 10; Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove (Warner Bros.) 10; D. J. Rogers: Love Brought Me Back (Columbia) 10; George Thorogood and the Destroyers: Move It On Over (Rounder) 9; Sun Ra: St. Louis Blues: Solo Piano (Improvising Artists) eight; Joan Armatrading: To the Limit (A&M) eight; Television: Adventure (Elektra) 5; 21st Century Singers: Sunday Night Fever (Creed) 5; Peabo Bryson: Reaching for the Sky (Capitol) 5.

GREIL MARCUS: Bryan Ferry: The Bride Stripped Bare (Atlantic) 30; Bruce Springsteen: Darkness on the Edge of Town (Columbia) 20; Lou Reed: Street Hassle (Arista) 15; Rolling Stones: Some Girls (Rolling Stones) 5; Johnny Shines: Too Wet to Plow (Blue Labor) 5; The Clash: Give ’Em Enough Rope (Epic) 5; Carlene Carter (Warner Bros.) 5; Nick Lowe: Pure Pop for Now People (Columbia) 5; Elvis Costello: This Year’s Model (Columbia) 5; Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy (Asylum) 5.

DAVE MARSH: Bruce Springsteen: Darkness on the Edge of Town (Columbia) 30; Elvis Costello: This Year’s Model (Columbia) 12; Cheap Trick: Heaven Tonight (Epic) 12; Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: Hearts of Stone (Epic) 11; Nick Lowe: Pure Pop for Now People (Columbia) 10; Steve Gibbons Band: Down in the Bunker (Polydor) 5; The Cars (Elektra) 5; The Who: Who Are You (MCA) 5; John Prine: Bruised Orange (Asylum) 5; Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band: Stranger in Town (Capitol) 5.

JOHN MORTHLAND: David Johansen (Blue Sky) 17; Joe “King” Carrasco and El Molino: Tex-Mex Rock-Roll (Lisa) 16; The Clash: Give ’Em Enough Rope (Epic) 12; Eric Dolphy: The Berlin Concerts (Inner City) 12; Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band: Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)(Warner Bros.) 12; Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band: Stranger in Town (Capitol) 10; Raydio (Arista) 6; Jack Clement: All I Want To Do in Life (Elektra) 5; Delbert McClinton: Second Wind (Capricorn) 5; Professor Longhair: Live on the Queen Mary (Harvest) 5.

JON PARELES: Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band: Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Warner Bros.) 10; Air: Open Air Suit (Arista Novus) 10; NRBQ: At Yankee Stadium (Mercury) 10; Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (ECM) 10; Brian Eno: Before and After Science (Island) 10; Happy the Man: Crafty Hands (Arista) 10; Jules & the Polar Bears: Got No Breeding (Columbia) 10; Weather Report: Mr. Gone (Columbia) 10; Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food (Sire) 10; Carla Bley: European Tour 1977 (Watt) 10.

TOM SMUCKER: Willie Nelson: Stardust (Columbia) 17; Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove (Warner Bros.) 14; Kraftwerk: The Man-Machine (Capitol) 12; The Gospel Keynotes: Gospel Fire (Nashboro) 11; Bonnie Koloc: Wild and Recluse (Epic) 10; Alec R. Costandinos & the Syncophonic Orchestra: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Casablanca) 9; Ramones: Road to Ruin (Sire) eight; Rolling Stones: Some Girls (Rolling Stones) eight; Television: Adventure (Elektra) 6; Elvis Costello: This Year’s Model (Columbia) 5.

ROGER TRILLING: Ornette Coleman: Body Meta (Artists House) 10; Conjunto Libre: Tiene Calidad (Salsoul) 10; Culture: Harder Than the Rest (Virgin Front Line import) 10; Miles Davis: Dark Magus (CBS/Sony import) 10; Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove (Warner Bros) 10; Majestic Dub (Joe Gibbs import) 10; Michael Mantler: Movies (Watt) 10; Thelonious Monk: Monk at the Five Spot (Milestone) 10; Milton Nascimento: Milagre dos Peixas (Odeon import) 10; The Rolling Stones: Some Girls (Rolling Stones) 10.

Top 10 Albums of 1978

1. Elvis Costello: This Year’s Model (Columbia)

2. The Rolling Stones: Some Girls (Rolling Stones)

three. Nick Lowe: Pure Pop for Now People (Columbia)

four. The Clash: Give ’Em Enough Rope (Epic)

5. Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food (Sire)

6. Bruce Springsteen: Darkness at the Edge of Town (Columbia)

7. Ramones: Road to Ruin (Sire)

eight. Neil Young: Comes a Time (Reprise)

9. The Cars: The Cars (Elektra)

10. David Johansen: David Johansen (Blue Sky)

— From the January 22, 1979, problem


Pazz & Jop essays and outcomes can be discovered on Robert Christgau’s website. His most up-to-date ebook, Is It Still Good to Ya? Fifty Years of Rock Criticism, 1967–2017, was revealed earlier this yr.

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