the take

Oeuvreblogs: A Revolution in Music Geekery

Bloggers, start your engines!Photo: David Atlas/ Retna

Back in March, Matthew Perpetua, editor of the excellent mp3 blog Fluxblog, started a side project called Pop Songs 07, declaring that he would write a post about every single song R.E.M. has ever released. Perpetua’s R.E.M. blog seems to have kicked off a wave of oeuvreblogs, as they’re being called: blogs devoted to parsing the complete works of a particular artist in microscopic detail. Writers’ responses are typically personal rather than historical, and they’re a good way for fans of a band to geek out alongside fellow travelers.

Your guide to the obsessive new world of oeuvreblogs:

Most devoted to concept: Perpetua manages to write 191 carefully considered words about R.E.M.’s “Zither,” a boring two-minute instrumental from a minor album in the band’s catalog.

Most intimidating oeuvreblog: Fragments of Cale, your guide to the complete works of John Cale.

Most impenetrable statement of purpose: Emotional Karaoke, a blog devoted to the Mountain Goats’ substantial song catalog, proclaims:

my perceptive organs are dynamic, and so are yours. reflection is a welcome exercise, especially with the mountain goats, who usually seize me so hard that i become blind to about six dimensions of experience.

It turns out this means the author will play the song and write a post only during its duration, kind of a nifty idea.

Least confidence-inspiring introduction to a post: “As with everything I’ve tried to write about Kid A, I find it so difficult to express in any convincing way how much this track means to me,” writes the author of Fridgebuzz, a Radiohead oeuvreblog, about “How to Disappear Completely.”

Best misheard lyric: “‘Lick the dirt of the larger ones’ feet’ always sounds like ‘lick the dirt of [Hakeem] Olajuwon’s feet’ to me,” writes More Than Ten, a Pearl Jam oeuvreblogger, about the song “Rats.”

Least accomplished oeuvreblog, thus far: The already-formatted but empty-of-posts Wilco blog Chrome Canyons.

Most Sisyphean task: My Impression Now, which attempts to chronicle every song written by Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard, the one-man Tin Pan Alley of lo-fi drunken rock. The author notes that Pollard has evidently recorded or performed 1,163 songs already, and we imagine he’s recording new ones faster than My Impression Now can write about them.

Surely out there already, though we haven’t found them yet: Bruce Springsteen, the Magnetic Fields, the Pixies, Kate Bush.

Oeuvreblogs: A Revolution in Music Geekery