“Voices isn’t just illuminating and thought-provoking and clever; it is exciting.” –Roddy Doyle, author of The CommitmentsA personal exploration of what singing means and how it works, Voices is a book about our deepest, most telling relationships with music. Nick Coleman examines the act of singing not as a performance, but as a close, difficult moment of hopeful connection. What does it do to us, emotionally and psychologically, to listen hard and habitually to somebody else’s singing? Why is human song so essential to our lives? The book asks many other questions, too: Why did Jagger and Lennon sing like that (and not like this)? Billie, Janis, Amy: must the voices of anguish always dissolve into spectacle? What makes us turn again and again to a singing human voice? The history of postwar popular music is often told sociologically or in terms of musicological influence and innovation in style. Voices offers a different, intimate perspective. In ten discrete but cohering essays, Coleman tackles the arc of that history as an emotional experience with real psychological consequences. He writes about the voices that have affected the ways he feels about and understands the world–from Aretha Franklin to Amy Winehouse, Marvin Gaye to David Bowie. Ultimately, Voices is the story of what it is to listen and be moved–what it is to feel emotion.
How a Great Singer Can Change Your Life
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Following a brief spell as a stringer at NME in the mid-1980s, NICK COLEMAN was music editor of Time Out for seven years, then arts and features editor at the Independent and the Independent on Sunday. He has also written on music for The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, New Statesman, Intelligent Life, GQ, and The Wire. He is the author of The Train in the Night, which was short-listed for the 2012 Wellcome Book Prize.
Shortlisted for the 2012 Wellcome Trust Book Prize "This is a book for anyone who grew up with pop music, listens to it still and has spent too much time thinking about it and talking about it. But it's also a book about love and loss and middle age and looming mortality, written with grace and the driest imaginable humour. I'm not sure I can recommend it highly enough." --Spectator "Coleman is a spirited person, who writes with an irresistible Hornby-esque skip in his style... funny and admirable." --Andrew Motion, Guardian "In a story told with warmth, wit, candour and dry, self-deprecating humour and without a whiff of self-pity... Coleman is insightful and convincing in his musings on music's emotional impact, funny in his recollections of the pains of growing up and sharp in his analysis of the thorny issue of musical 'taste.'" --Time Out "A beautiful, elegiac ballad. Coleman writes elegantly and movingly of his youth, of growing up and of his intimate relationship with an art form that has shaped his memories." --Financial Times "Wonderful." --Nick Hornby, author of Funny Girl "A deft and heartfelt exploration of music, silence, adolescence, English pop and the emotional consequences of serious illness, and above all a discussion of something modern culture has very nearly lost touch with - the idea, and the desirability, of taste." --D. J. Taylor, author of The Prose Factory Praise for Pillow Man "Full of melancholy wit, it's sure to beguile fans of Nick Hornby." --Hephzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday "A quirky, well-written romance cum mystery tale." --Sebastian Shakespeare, Tatler "Coleman imbues his writing with a dry wit that enlivens the everyday, and with pithy character descriptions." --Independent on Sunday "Sharp, witty and beautifully written, it only takes moments to fall head first into the beautiful style of Pillow Man." --We Love This Book "A raw account of the male emotional landscape." --Liza Hoggard, Independent