Letters

Readers respond to Kevin Canfield's essay about why Pete Yorn isn't the next Springsteen.


Salon Staff
May 29, 2003 12:00PM (UTC)

[Read "This Year's Model."]

I don't listen to music radio, don't read rock mags, etc., so I haven't seen or heard any of the Yorn hype. But I will always remember him, as his first video (caught in a relatively rare case of watching MTV2) was a stunning advance in videos. Here was a "concert" video that threw away all of the conventions of the form. No shots of the band rocking out, no big stage shots, no audience dancing or head banging. Instead, the video is all about the experience of catching a band at a small venue. People ordering drinks, smoking and flirting. Incidentally, this attractive guy is singing a pleasant little song. If Yorn's subsequent videos are a quarter as good as his first, he should be a star. Most major-label artists offer less musically, and few (if any) offer a fraction as much for late-night television viewing.

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Be happy for innovation wherever you see it: It is far too rare, especially from Sony/Columbia and its fellow majors.

-- London Crockett

Kevin Canfield's article "This Year's Model" pretty much blasts Pete Yorn while instead hailing Lucinda Williams as the "best songwriter of this era." I still don't understand why Salon's writers keep praising the likes of the undoubtedly talented but utterly boring Lucinda Williams and Aimee Mann, while pretty much completely ignoring artists like Patty Griffin, whose 1996 debut release "Living With Ghosts" pretty much eclipses any album in the other two's repertoire. Her latest album, "1,000 Kisses," builds on her first two efforts, creating an album of stories and narratives even Springsteen or Dylan could be proud of (incidentally, she covered a song by each on "1,000 Kisses"). If you want to suggest an alternative to Pete Yawn (pun intended), how about recommending someone else with less snooze appeal, not more.

-- Paul Crowder

Did Pete Yorn steal Kevin Canfield's girlfriend or something? Because I can't think of another reason why Yorn would draw the amount of attention (and ire) he received here. There's no question that Pete Yorn is no young Bruce Springsteen, but there's also no evidence that the marketing blitz for Yorn by Columbia Records is succeeding -- the guy isn't exactly doing arena shows. He's an opening act for any venue bigger than a bread box -- so why waste time on him here? Surely there are more egregious examples that better illustrate Canfield's point.

Which raises the following questions: Is it annoying that the major labels often push easy-to-market mediocrity at the expense of more talented, difficult-to-pigeonhole acts? Yes. But is that new (or news)? No. So instead of wasting 600 words on why I shouldn't listen to Yorn, how about giving me a full 1,200 on why Lucinda Williams needs to be heard? She certainly deserves it.

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-- Steve Stevenson

While Pete Yorn may not be this year's answer to Bruce Springsteen, he's certainly not as bad as Canfield is making him out to be. Yorn has given us two CDs of great rock tunes that are perfect for driving. Virtually everything on "musicforthemorningafter" will get your feet tapping or your hands drumming on the steering wheel. I'm not ashamed to admit I played that CD to death.

Regarding the "best songwriter of this era," I was under the impression that title belonged to Aimee Mann. Thank goodness we have Canfield to set us straight on that score.

-- Todd Prepsky


Salon Staff

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