Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Head To Head
Log In
Unsung Forum »
Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
Log In to post a reply

100 messages
Topic View: Flat | Threaded
6761 posts

Edited May 22, 2008, 14:19
Re: Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 22, 2008, 08:50
naughtynige wrote:
Agreed, the same goes for "Desertshore". Have this lot lost their minds or just not heard the albums?

No I think people have heard the records and more or less take them for what they are.

"Marble Index", "Desert Shore" and "The End" are all pretty good bordering on great and I remember being knocked out by her on OGWT aged 13. But that's three records in a long career and you wonder how much of it was her and how much of it was John Cale's genius for coaxing performances out of people and Jac Holzman's willingness to let great records breathe their own air.

That said whether we recognise the inherent genius of a record or not it has to get you off on a visceral level and I figure that Nico simply alienates more people than she gets off. We could have the same discussion about say Tim Buckley's "Starsailor". And definitely about "Trout Mask". And the entire recording career of Orentte Coleman and Cecil Taylor. Or Webern or Ligetti for that matter. You can't choose to like music that is that far out. Ultimately you either relate to it or you don't but it isn't some kind of test.

Accessibility doesn't mean something is pap any more than atonality makes something Art. Which is where Art Rock has tendancy to shoot itself in the head while running as far away from anything that could be mistaken for commercial Pop as is musically possible. Hence Radiohead's chronic fear of writing something with a chorus and Scot Walkers' recent aversion to conventional melody.

As per my earlier note I would suggest that record-for-record Annette Peacock is as worthy of all the critical attention Nico has had piled on her plate over the years. And for classic aliented female rock and roll I have to give a 21 gun salute to "Broken English" over any of the Nico records.

So yes indeed she made three pretty great records but I can really see why people don't get it.
Topic Outline:

Unsung Forum Index