Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Telephones and technological ambivalence in three songs by Greg Brown from 1988 to 2006

In the title track of Greg Brown's 1988 album "One More Goodnight Kiss", one annoyance to overcome is a new telephone: "I'm gonna unplug that sucker." With "Think About You" from Brown's "Further In" (1996), the telephone, though still a landline, is joined by other technology to be turned off: "Gonna turn off the radio, control nothing remotely. / Ain't gonna rent me no video, disconnect the telephone." In "Eugene", from "The Evening Call" (2006), the technology to avoid becomes a cellphone: "You can try me on the cell, but most places I wanna be it Greg Brown's work." In Brown's songs, the devices develop, but this ambivalence about technology persists. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 24 May 2023)


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