Stats, Records & Rock’n’Roll

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Stats, Records & Rock’n’Roll –
Fine-Tuned Infographics To Rock Your World
By Daniel Tatarsky & Ian Preece
Carlton Books – £25.00

The book travels through the centuries – from the very earliest music created by hitting stones with bones, to the latest developments in musical creation and delivery like the mp3. Eighty fact-filled spreads bring you all the way to the social-media era, where an artists number of followers and virtual friends is often more important than the actual number of records they sell. Talking of records, now that vinyl has come back into fashion, you’ll also find absorbing details of the various media upon which music has been delivered to our ears, as well as the diverse number of broadcast systems, stations and players.

                                                                                  (Introduction)

There are a number of ways of approaching or reading this book.

One can either be acutely mathematical about it; in which case, such crass, terrible and rather pointless acts likes Cardi B and Rhapsody unfortunately come into play (who in their right mind would ever consider calling themselves Rhapsody for fuck sake? I’d sooner call myself Leukemia). Wherein music counts for…well…nada, while image and of course, marketing, is so profoundly sacrosanct and of such vital importance, that even the very word, sacrosanct, is itself, deemed a salacious mockery.

Naturally, one can take the organic approach to Stats, Records & Rock’n’Roll –
Fine-Tuned Infographics To Rock Your World, wherein all and any hope of musical inspiration, will be re-defined beyond the point of any expectation (not to mention explanation) whatsoever.

Indeed, apart from the book’s Introduction – a segment of which opens this review – these 175 pages are lacking in any form of clarity and depth.
They kind of read like a cross-word in the making.

In other words, the book doesn’t really feel complete, although there are admittedly, a few things here and there that do make for ever so marginally interesting reading.

For instance, ‘Country Musicians Not Entirely From The Country’ on page 42, ‘The”Curse” Of The Mercury Prize’ on page 104, ‘The Summer of Love’ Songs on page 142 and ‘Beating Number One’ on page 158, where the authors write: ”The pace of life has increased dramatically over the past few decades, and it’s unsurprising that the beats per minute of the best-selling UK singles per calender year reflect that. During the first few years of the charts, in the 1950s, the average BPM was a mere 99: ‘I Believe’ by Frankie Laine bottomed out at just 66 bpm. Since then, there has been a steady climb (rapid leaps provided by The Beatles and the fast-paced 1980s) and the 2010s are the first decade that hasn’t had a single best-seller timed at under 100 bpm.”

So, other than a few assorted nuggets of trainspotter induced karma – hey, takes all sorts – I should imagine Stats, Records & Rock’n’Roll will appeal to those with a penchant for numbers and facts and erm, more numbers and facts.

David Marx

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