Grandiosity Incorporated 

Eric Wolfson Goes Long on Rock’s Thematic Beasts

Fifty Years of the Concept Album in Popular Music from the Beatles to Beyoncé,
by Eric Wolfson (Bloomsbury, 2024)

Academic presses now fixing holes and taking risks where giants stutter, and the rest of us await the Big Leap Forward in long-form digital narrative…

Eric Wolfson: I started this book over half my life ago when I was in college working under a professor who I really admire. He did a rock and roll class. He still teaches. I was in the very first class. His name is Scott Sandage from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh….

Bernstein’s Rock Star Podium


Bradley Cooper Bows to Carey Mulligan to in Lecherously Ironic Biopic

LAST YEAR’S Tár centered its monster-artist story around a formidable female conductor (Cate Blanchett) drunk on power; seemingly in response, this year’s Maestro answers with a corrective, addressing problems unique to its historical subject, composer-conductor (and Lydia Tár’s “real-life” mentor) Leonard Bernstein. Musicians regard Bernstein’s career with exasperation. On the one hand, he taught a new generation of listeners how to hear the classical canon, danced between platforms high and low, and left a recorded legacy with the New York Philharmonic that, while uneven, still delivers a midcentury glow (chiefly with the symphonies of Joseph Haydn and Gustav Mahler)…

Taylor Swift’s Multiplex

The  Eras Tour Concert Film Opens Wide

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, Taylor Swift
(Taylor Nation, 2023)

YOU FEEL FLATTERED watching Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film, and not just because you catch a contact high from her adoring audience. In a field of immaculate divas and country popsters, Swift creates her own rainbow fingernail category: rural Pennsylvania prom queen sets her diary to song with a charmed charisma and a singer’s dance moves. A lot of rivals now circle her career’s new gravity. As Taffy Brodesser-Akner put it in her New York Times Magazine profile, at a Swift concert “the night is sparkling and young love is amazing.”



Live chats with Tim Riley

On January 2, 2022, Producing the Beatles podcast host and author Jason Kruppa (All Things Must Pass: Harrison, Clapton, and Other Assorted Love Songs) spoke about  technical matters, where Jackson "fudges" some of his audio syncs up with film, and some promising new developments for scholarship. He also mentioned the Steve Hoffman audio forum.

Earlier episodes cover why Peter Jackson's Get Back doesn't work as a "documentary," and where it opens up new threads of scholarship. Tensions emerge between seen and unseen, sloppy rehearsals and masterful performance. More in links below...

Dec 12, 2021: Riley on Springsteen's No Nukes (13m, mp3)

Dec 5, 2021: more Riley on career context (45m, mp3)

Nov 28, 2021: Tim Riley on Get Back (65m, mp3)