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I'll Take You There

I'll Take You There
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
Author: Bill Friskics-Warren
Publisher: Continuum
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 276
Pub. Date: 2006
ISBN-10: 0826419216
ISBN-13: 9780826419217

About the Book:

Artists' stories and personalities inform the discussions in this book, but only inasmuch as they illuminate the struggles and concerns that run through their music. I'll Take You There is a beautifully written, wide-ranging, and illuminating examination of some of the most potent popular music ever recorded.

The urge to connect with that which transcends our experience, be it a higher power, another person or some artistic ideal or aspect of nature, is one of the things that makes us human. People view the object of this quest, as well as what it means to achieve it, differently. Yet regardless of how it is understood, the urge to participate in or belong to something greater and more lasting than ourselves—a feeling born of an awareness of our mortality — is what defines us as spiritual beings. Though often dismissed as ephemeral or, worse, demonic, popular music has given voice to this quest for transcendence since its beginnings. Pop singers are rarely as outwardly spiritual as, say, their gospel counterparts; they're forever pointing beyond themselves, though, be it to some better future, some higher ideal, or to some vision of deliverance. Fontella Bass's "Rescue Me," the Four Tops's "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross," Afrika Bambaataa's "Looking for the Perfect Beat," and U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" are but a handful of popular recordings from the past few decades that express a longing for something more. What, other than transcendence, is Jimi Hendrix talking about in "Purple Haze" when he shouts, "'scuse me, while I kiss the sky"? Or Van Morrison, in "Caravan," when he implores us to crank our radios and sail away with him into the mystic? Heard in the right light, secular and even carnal records have the power to speak to transcendental concerns, galvanizing their historical and cultural moments. Regardless of their spiritual leanings, all of the subjects discussed in this book (including Public Enemy, Madonna, Sleater-Kinney, Tricky, Johnny Cash, Nine Inch Nails, Moby, Marvin Gaye, Eminem, Polly Harvey, Bruce Springsteen and Sly & the Family Stone) make music that expresses a basic striving for transcendence. Artists' stories and personalities inform these discussions, but only in as much as they illuminate the struggles and concerns that run through their music. Subtitled Pop Music and the Urge for Transcendence, the book I'll Take You There is a beautifully written, wide-ranging and illuminating examination of some of the most potent popular music ever recorded.

What people say:

"Though readers may not always agree with Friskics-Warren's conclusions, the depth of his song interpretations and his skillful use of historical context are admirable. The extremely current bibliography features citations for seminal religious figures and cultural critics of the past five decades in addition to the requisite music-related sources. Recommended for popular music collections and those addressing the tug of war between traditional and alternative spiritualities." — Library Journal

"Considering how fractured popular music has become, it's a wonder to find a talented writer exploring how vastly different artists can share a romantic yearning for something more. In his well-received book I'll Take You There: Pop Music and the Urge for Transcendence, Nashville Scene music editor Bill Friskics-Warren explores a spiritual bond that links U2's 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' to Fontella Bass' Rescue Me' to Al Green's 'Tired of Being Alone.' Friskics-Warren's writing is equal to the music he covers, as it creates a fresh and attractive backdrop for each song it evokes." — Dallas Observer

"Friskics-Warren explores the transcendental music of recording artists throughout their careers and goes beyond the song texts to examine melodies, uses of rhythm, how songs are sung or rapped, and how arrangements amplify mystical, negative, or prophetic transcendence. His coverage is diverse … This is a book for those interested in humanist perspectives on music, notably those coming from philosophy and religious studies. Summing up: Recommended." — Choice

"Friskics-Warren has written a definitive popular culture study for the new millennium…." — Sojourners Magazine

About the Author:

Bill Friskics-Warren has written about popular music for The New York Times, Newsday, the Village Voice, the Washington Post, No Depression, the Oxford American and Rock & Rap Confidential, among other publications. He currently is music editor for the Nashville Scene and previously was a lecturer at Vanderbilt University Divinity School.