Vic­to­ria Se­gal picks the best mu­sic books of the month

Q (UK) - - Q Review Reissues -

Rise Up feels like it’s writ­ten to in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion of artists.

There is real gen­eros­ity be­hind 1 Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far by Stor­mzy, edited and co-writ­ten by Jude Yaw­son (PEN­GUIN/#MERKY, ★★★★ ) , an oral his­tory of Stor­mzy’s stel­lar ca­reer. While it could have been in the artist’s in­ter­ests to or­ches­trate a stan­dard self-ag­gran­dis­ing mem­oir, he in­stead shares the lime­light with his cre­ative and busi­ness team, with his man­ager or pub­li­cist both ex­plain­ing the paths they have taken to their cur­rent roles. As a re­sult, Rise Up feels like a man­ual, a book writ­ten not to the greater glory of Stor­mzy but as a way of in­spir­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of artists. 2 Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back): A Mem­oir Of Record­ing And Dis­cord­ing With Wilco, Etc by Jeff Tweedy (FABER & FABER, ★★★★ ) is os­ten­si­bly a more con­ven­tional rock’n’roll au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, but un­sur­pris­ingly, the Wilco leader doesn’t set­tle for en­tirely straight sto­ry­telling lines. He in­cludes re­al­time di­a­logues with loved ones as he thrashes out what he re­mem­bers and what he should reveal. At one point he de­clares he won’t be dis­cussing his strug­gle with painkiller ad­dic­tion. The next line: “Je­sus, of course I’m go­ing to write about the drugs.” Fans of Wilco and Un­cle Tu­pelo will en­joy play­ful and se­ri­ous in­sights into the mind of a song­writer, not to men­tion the rea­sons why he needs to “kill, and eat the heart of, Dave Grohl.” Lyric books of­ten fall flat, the words cut adrift from their mu­sic and left float­ing on a page. 3 One Hun­dred Lyrics And A Poem by Neil Ten­nant (FABER & FABER, ★★★★ ) is a glo­ri­ous ex­cep­tion to that dis­ap­point­ing rule. Thanks to the emo­tional and the­matic range of the Pet Shop Boy’s writ­ing and his con­cise yet il­lu­mi­nat­ing foot­notes, these lyrics not only sur­vive their up­root­ing but also al­low new per­spec­tives on well-loved songs. Worth a look, even if you wouldn’t nor­mally do this kind of thing.

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