I was pretty thrilled when this week's installment of excellent NPR rock and roll talk show Sound Opinions (not syndicated on WBUR for whatever reason, but available via podcast) tackled writer/musician collaborations, something I wrote about a few weeks ago.
Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot reviewed the Nick Hornby/Ben Folds collaboration Lonely Avenue. It wasn't pretty: they both really, really hated it. Jim DeRogatis said "Levi Johnston's Blues" (video above) was a contender for worst song of the decade, and that Hornby and Folds bring out the worst in one another. To think I just found the album boring!
DeRogatis went on to champion the collaboration between John Cale and William S. Burroughs as a shining example of this horrible genre. I say no way. The only people I've ever known who've actively listened to that Burroughs record were the most pretentious freshmen at my liberal arts college (I ain't naming names, but you know who you are). To me, "Burroughs" is synonymous with a depressingly outmoded, easily digested notion of the counterculture. Like, "Oooh, listen to this old gruff man who SHOT HIS WIFE talking over ambient guitar! Right on, Daddy-o!" But that's just me.
In the meantime, I'm still waiting for someone to alert me to a non-boring, non-cheesy example of a writer/ musician collaboration. Won't be holding my breath.