Tapestry: Legacy Edition

1971 was a good year for female singer-songwriters. Make that the year, as the release of Joni Mitchell?s Blue and Carole King?s Tapestry -- the quintessential albums of the nascent genre -- made clear. Blue remains a touchstone for all pop poetesses who followed, yet Tapestry was nothing less than a commercial and cultural phenomenon. The question of why the latter touched the hearts (and pocketbooks) of so many listeners is raised once again by the new double-disc Legacy Edition of the classic recording. The answer may lie in the album's dual nature. King tapped brilliantly into the zeitgeist, merging the confessional, feminist, and psychological/spiritual ruminations of a nation in flux ("You?ve Got a Friend," "Beautiful," "Way Over Yonder," and the blatantly personal title track.) Yet Tapestry is also characterized by the seductive musical craftsmanship that had already established King as a legendary Top 40 composer. "I Feel the Earth Move," "Where You Lead," "So Far Away" are examples of gorgeous pop at its most polished and accessible. And it didn?t take a radical politico to parse the lyrics, or feel the earnest tug of the album?s doggedly optimist nature. Not to beg comparisons, but King was not about to spill blood or ponder the abyss as willingly as Mitchell did on her opus. But when has America been anything other than a dual-natured animal, its people longing for idiosyncratic expression and well-made comfort in equal measure? In that regard, King had her finger firmly on the nation?s pulse.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.