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A 'Trouble Songs' addendum

In 2015, we published “Trouble Songs: A Musicological Poetics,” Jeff T. Johnson’s sprawling “investigation of the appearance of the word trouble in twentieth- and twenty-first-century music.” Early in 2020, Johnson (who most recently published The Book / Or / The Woods) returned to the poetics of his book Trouble Songs in order to introduce a recording of a chapter on Morrissey from the book. That introduction, he tells us, “became answer song, postscript, and revisitation. It was also one of my first attempts to write consciously in the context of the pandemic, while coming to terms with the loss of a beloved member of my extended writing community. I’m struck now by the re-recognition of the ways we live in songs, and the complex (of) emotions they come to signify as they call to us over time. When we revisit them, we visit ourselves. Which is to say our past selves and our present selves meet, as those present selves await the arrival of future selves. It gets crowded in there all alone.”

You can read the full “Trouble Songs” addendum to Johnson’s 2015 piece at Jacket2 here. For a copy of the book version of Trouble Songs or to download a free PDF of that very book, visit the punctum books site. And you can also visit punctum audio to listen to recordings from Trouble Songs, including “A Whole House.”