Articles by Matt Hanson

March 6, 2014

Bird Lives: On Stanley Crouch’s Kansas City Lightning 11

I submit that the kind of place Parker holds within jazz tradition is a little like what you would get if you mixed Beethoven with Jimi Hendrix. He was a game changer.

November 4, 2013

Lou Reed, Sonic Contrarian 22

Most of the personal tributes I’ve seen don’t just talk about how great a musician Lou Reed was but how his fine, fine music literally changed their lives.

October 3, 2013

The Life that Develops In-Between: On Elizabeth Graver’s The End of the Point 7

Unless you’re kicking it with the Compsons or Buendias, say, it usually takes a little bit of readerly patience to get through a multigenerational family story. One has to be on one’s game, in terms of care and attention. Nobody wants to spend several hundred pages with a bunch of allegorical figures sitting around the dinner table and passing each other the salt.

February 2, 2012

Nevermind Nostalgia: Twenty Years After Nirvana 13

Hearing that Nirvana’s Nevermind was 20 years old was kind of like seeing an old drinking buddy turn to Jesus in his autumn years. I was happy for him and everything, but I missed the old days when we shared the fortress of solitude.

November 18, 2011

Mythology, Men, and Coonskin Caps: On Michael Wallis’s David Crockett 8

David Crockett was romanticized in the same way that classic film stars, athletes, and politicians are, and for a similar reason — the legend is inextricably entwined with the actual human being. Not only is there no urgency to demystify, there’s almost no reason to. Sometimes the legend and the person are inextricable for perfectly good reasons.

August 22, 2011

The Canon Guard: Harold Bloom’s The Anatomy of Influence 23

Harold Bloom is not so much the judicious patriarch or brazen egomaniac as he is a grandmother – endlessly harried, fiercely loving, and relentlessly worried about the future of his brood.

August 3, 2011

Ecstatic Truth: Werner Herzog’s The Cave of Forgotten Dreams 6

You don’t have to question Herzog’s honesty in watching his films, though you might start to question his sanity.

July 8, 2011

Eye of the Beholder: Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life 23

Critical reaction to Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life has been decidedly garrulous.  A vast majority of reviewers have invoked some kind of “higher” culture to signify the elusive mood or feeling it evokes.

August 30, 2010

Panache to Burn: Christopher Hitchens’ Hitch-22 3

Though we have just now learned that Hitch is dying, delving into his memoir many things are apparent, not the least of which the fact that the man has done some living. If anyone has the right to consider his time not wasted, it’s him.