Rock Star Literature

By Jason Boog Comment

What have songwriters learned from regular writers? In that video, short story master Tobias Wolff sang along with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

While reviewing Vampire Weekend’s star-studded set at the Happy Ending series last week, music critic Simon Reynolds mused that the band’s lyrics sound “like short stories where everything’s been erased EXCEPT for every third paragraph.” His Guardian essay studied songs featuring esoteric re-writes of popular stories. Add your favorite examples in the comments for a future post.

Here’s more from the essay: “You could apply that method to other people’s films, novels, or plays just as well, and a fair few songwriters have done that, especially when inspiration-starved. The only example that springs to mind right now is E=MC2, one of the few Big Audio Dynamite songs I like, a plaintive ditty that lyrically consists in large part of ultra-condensed movie synopses and highlight scenes from the filmography of Nic Roeg.”