MARCH/APRIL 2010

REAL LIFE ROCK TOP TEN

A MONTHLY COLUMN
OF EVERYDAY CULTURE
AND FOUND OBJECTS

by Greil Marcus

(1) Yellow Fever, Yellow Fever (Wild World). From Austin, Jennifer Moore and Isabel Martin play guitar, bass, and sing; Adam Jones plays drums and bass; and the early ’60s meet the early ’80s, neither of which anyone in the band is likely old enough to remember, which is simply to say that despite oldies formats there is no time on the radio. The band’s music is full of air, with brittle Young Marble Giants rhythms—and its humor (quotes from the Jaynetts’ 1963 “Sally, Go ’Round the Roses” and Ben E. King’s 1960 “Spanish Harlem,” plus sexy organ right out of Freddy Cannon’s 1962 “Palisades Park”) is sometimes muffled by Young Marble Giants archness, which has its own charms.

(2) Stephen Thompson, “‘American Idol’ and the Making of a Star” (Morning Edition, NPR, December 23, 2009). For Thompson’s own ideal American Idol song, “On the Wings of Dreaming Eagles,” which you’ll swear you’ve already heard, even if you can’t remember whether it was Clay Aiken or Adam Lambert on season four or season seven.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Greil Marcus is the author of Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music, and The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice, and other books. His column, Real Life Rock Top Ten, runs monthly in the Believer.

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