Book Review: Essay collection on music soundtracks our lives hits all the right notes

While it’s hard to capture the magic of music by writing about it, You Spin Me Round will have you reaching for albums that’ll relight memories

Writing about music is difficult. It’s not quite impossible, as the old “dancing about architecture” aphorism would have it, but it’s far from easy. How do you capture magic, which is what music is, with mere words? The placement of symbols on staves can be learned, but describing what happens when music hits us and we feel no pain is another matter entirely.

Let me give you an example. To celebrate an anniversary, I once wrote a 6,000-word essay about The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main St, their 1972 double album which is, if we choose to call a spade a spade, the pinnacle of all human achievement. I filled many paragraphs with the band’s history, writing and recording details, glamorous South of France and Los Angeles locales, and vague descriptions like “soulful glory” and “one-chord boogie”.