'Music for People Who Have Given Up'

Striving always to encourage full and frank discussion, and following the proud Atlantic motto "of no party or clique," I give you this (fairly representative) response to my recent mention of Nataly Dawn and Pomplamoose.

To: James Fallows
From: xxx xxxx
Subject: hate Pomplamoose. they're terrible. and that's not an opinion, it's a fact

that version of "September" is cowardly and pitiful.  at first it sounds like they're really gonna do something with the song -- they change the harmony a bit.  but then they chicken out, leave the chords unchanged, and just end up making you wish you were listening to EWF.

her singing is anemic, and there's no drive or urgency to anything they do.  it's like sweatpants in Seinfeld -- it's music for people who have given up.  you haven't given up, have you?  no, you haven't!... so try this instead:

OK, I actually like Van Hunt, and I'm interested in the way the beginning of this number reminds me of Pup Tent by Luna in the 90s -- which itself is better than I remembered; but I see only peril and heartache ahead if I dig myself in any deeper on this topic. So here endeth the music blogging for the year. (Except to mention that I felt general and unaccustomed boomer-era pride in hearing the way that Fleetwood Mac's Tusk was used in the pilot of The Americans a week ago. Ok, here endeth for real.)

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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