A valuable resource for James Taylor fans and a fascinating read for anyone interested in autobiographical popular music of the past 50 years.
What kinds of unusual musical forms and lyrical structures did American singer-songwriter James Taylor incorporate into his songs? What role did Taylor play in the introspective singer-songwriter movement of the 1970s? How did Taylor write and record songs that were inspired from his own experiences in life that touched so many other people?
The Words and Music of James Taylor explores these specific topics and provides detailed critical analysis of the songs and recordings of this well-known musical icon, examining his melodic writing, his use of harmony, and his often-unappreciated tailoring of musical form to enhance his lyrical messages. The book is organized chronologically, primarily around Taylor's studio albums from 1968 to 2015, and offers an introduction, a summary of Taylor's career and importance, as well as an annotated bibliography and discography.
The final section of the book presents an overview of Taylor's importance and lasting impact, an analysis of themes that run through his songs, and an explanation of how Taylor's treatment of these themes changed over the years as he matured and as the world around him changed.
- Pairs critical analysis of every significant composition and recording by James Taylor with historical perspective on the events of his 50-year life journey
- Ties Taylor's highly publicized struggles with drugs and in relationships to his songs
- Delves into the not-frequently discussed musical aspects of Taylor's writing, including his use of unusual musical forms
- Examines Taylor's arrangements and recordings of cover songs as essentially examples of re-writing the songs