Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How Music Works by David Byrne

Review: How Music Works
David Byrne
Three Rivers Press

The back cover lists several adjectives---brilliantly original, fascinating, extraordinary, dazzling, essential, and absorbing---to describe this book.   I think that pretty well covers most of the endorsements and reviews that are out there already. 
How Music WorksI liked the cover and that’s pretty much why I picked the book, that and I am interested in music.  The author’s name rang no bells for me.  As I read through the endorsements I discovered that I probably had seen or heard some of his music.  My kids both knew not only his name, but some of his music.  I must’ve been listening to another sort of music at the time.  However, all that has been corrected now.

I read the book as presented, but as the author mentioned early on, it could be read in any order.  Each chapter is a unique entity of its own.  There’s some of Byrne’s personal history interspersed with some topical essays that intertwined with information and comment.  I think the only chapters I skimmed were the compensation discussion and the last chapter that felt like something written trying to tie it all together.  Or maybe I was just tired that day.  The narrative is dense and I discovered that it was more enjoyable to read a little and then come back for more later.  I found myself thinking about what I’d read and talking to others about it.  I’d say this book lived up to its back cover.  His comments were well stated, insightful, and just down right intelligent.  Doesn’t get much better.  I liked this book and particularly enjoyed his sharing his creative processes. 

I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to think more deeply about music.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.

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