When I first started reading this biography of the album American Recordings, I thought to myself “This is the most overblown, self-possessed, conceited, smug, overwrought, pretentious piece of literary crap I have ever read.” Now that I have finished it, I KNOW it is the most overblown, self-possessed, conceited, smug, overwrought, pretentious piece of literary crap I have ever read.
To wit: In reference to the song “Let the Train Blow the Whistle”, Tost wrote
“Perhaps the song even reveals where Cash believed the reckoning between God and America finally takes place; within the emotional, psychological and spiritual interiors of the republic’s citizens, the truly apocalyptic battleground.” (Loc. 812)
About the track “Thirteen” he wrote: “On the page, ‘Thirteen’ is a competent lyrical exercise in dramatic self-pity and generalized menace, nearly a caricature of Cash’s persona; it embraces the Man in Black’s outlaw mythology without including either the spiritual ache or the knowing wit that were also in his possession.”(Loc. 1072)
And I’m still trying to figure out just what the hell Tost was doing with Chapter 21–Permanence (3)…
This series, 33 1/3, has a reputation for unevenness, and I would have to say I hope so. As this is the first I have read, I do hope they can’t all be this bad. I don’t think Johnny would recognize his work or himself in this book. My first ever Zero Star review.