It’s Just the Normal Noises by Timothy Gray

It's Just the Normal Noises Book Cover

It's Just the Normal Noises
Timothy Gray
University of Iowa Press
01 May 2017


Taking a personal approach to the subject matter, Timothy Gray reads criticism and listens to music as though rock n roll not only explains American culture, but also shores up his life. In It s Just the Normal Noises, Grayexamines a wide array of writing about roots music from the 1960s to the 2000s.

In addition to chapters on the genre-defining work of Peter Guralnick and Greil Marcus, he explores the influential writings of Grant Alden and Peter Blackstock, the editors of No Depression magazine, and the writers who contributed to its pages, Bill Friskicks-Warren, Ed Ward, David Cantwell, and Allison Stewart among them.

A host of memoirists and novelists, from Patti Smith and Ann Powers to Eleanor Henderson and Dana Spiotta, shed light on the social effects and personal attachments of the music s many manifestations, from punk to alt country to hardcore."

An academic lecture on music, specifically song lyrics aimed at Americana. Discussing song writing from 1960 to the 2000’s, it’s reflection on American culture and society.

The title and cover promise a fun book with ‘did-you-knows’ and fun facts, but all of this you can forget. Like I said it is an academic lecture and with that it killed all the fun I expected from this book. Breaking music down in scientific blah blah it feels like analyzing ‘Avatar‘ frame-by-frame, I suppose it needs to be done in the eyes of some people but not for me.
Let me just enjoy music and let me be amazed by a fact like ‘Jingle Bells’ was never intended to be a Christmas song or show me a connection between Elvis and Bach. None of that in this book though. Guess I expected something else, it happens…


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