What are your qualifications for your "analyses" of PSB songs?
That depends on how you look at it. In one sense, my qualifications are no different from those of any other huge PSB fan. I believe in a democracy of musical taste, and my opinions are no more valid than anyone else's.
But in another sense I do have strong credentials. I'm a lifelong music fanatic, dating back to my early childhood even before the Beatles came along (oh, I'm revealing my age there!), who has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of rock/pop music history up through the early 1990s. (I have to confess that around that time much of the "Top 40" started slipping away from me, heading in directions that I personally didn't find appealing.) Combine that with my ample experience in literary analysis (my B.A. and M.A. in English literature even before my Ph.D. in American Studies), all those classes in music history and theory, and several years of writing record and concert reviews in college (though I'll be the first to concede that the ones I wrote during my freshman and sophomore years were, for the most part, crap; by my junior year, however, I'd gotten a lot better at it), and you can see that I'm pretty well-equipped to offer musical and lyrical analysis. Oh, yeahthere's that book I wrote, too. Actually, I've written several, but only one is about music.
Let me share an anecdote. Many years ago, when I was in the process of applying to grad school, I asked several of my favorite undergraduate professors to write letters of recommendation for me. Some years afterward—shortly before I received my Ph.D. if I remember correctly—I had the opportunity to see my departmental file, which included those letters of recommendation. In one of them the professor described me as "not particularly creative" (which took me aback at first) but then went on to say that I was, however, perhaps the most "intensely analytical" student he'd ever had in roughly thirty years of teaching. In retrospect, I can now see exactly what he meant and why. I'm not particularly creative, but I am extremely analytical in virtually everything I do. It's a trait that has served me well in my professional career—not to mention in the artifacts of my assorted avocations, not the least of which is this website.
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