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COSMIC SLOP

In The Rock Snob*s Dictionary, we define the word “cosmic” as a “musically meaningless adjective deployed by rock writers to ascribe a mysterious otherness to the actually quite straightforward country music played by Gram Parsons and other lysergically inclined, Nudie-suited, anti-Nashville mavericks.”

Actually, in Rock Crit Land, the word has even less specificity than that. As if to prove how empty yet weighty a term “cosmic” has become, the April issue of Britain’s Uncut magazine–which is kind of like Mojo, only it also covers movies and offers a fulsome appreciation each month of some overrated pug actor like Tom Sizemore–offers a list of “The 50 Greatest Cosmic American Albums” of all time. Naturally, Gram figures in it, with the Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace of Sin charting at #10, but the list also includes Shuggie Otis’s Inspiration Information, Sufjan Stevens’s Illinoise, and The Band’s The Band (the last as earthbound as rock music can get). In other words, Uncut has no idea what it means by “cosmic.”

March 16, 2006 More Rock Snobbery »

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