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The definitive collection of lyrics from three decades of songwriting.
As a performer, songwriter and actor, Will Oldham has carved a singular path through the worlds of indie folk and cinema. Now the critically acclaimed, enigmatic artist presents his life’s work: the lyrics to more than two hundred songs spanning the 1980s to the present, each with annotations that impart new meaning to his music.
Oldham’s aphoristic meditations—on death, patience and turning carelessness into a virtue—are, like his lyrics, profound, earthy and often funny. They reveal flashes of Oldham’s philosophy, the sources and circumstances that inspired his lyrics and the literary ambition of his songwriting. Separated from their aural form, Oldham’s lyrics become a new kind of poetry—candid, awkward and wise—with influences as diverse as Rabindranath Tagore and The Mekons.
A book that will delight his longtime fans and inspire young songwriters, Songs of Love and Horror reveals an artist who has captured extraordinary poetry in music despite being "a stranger among my own language".
“Songs of Love and Horror feels significant; [Will Oldham is] able to make a connection directly, without the protective veil of a moniker. The blue annotations that accompany each lyric in the book offer his personal reflections. But as much as Oldham attempts transparency, his music, which radiates humour, tenderness, frustration and audacity, remains seductively mysterious.” — Wired
“There aren't too many popular songwriters whose words can withstand being read and scrutinised as poetry. Oldham's not only stand up, but stripped of their melodic context, offer different insights... Honest, wry, confessional, occasionally harrowing and frequently laugh-out-loud funny, Oldham's lyrics make for enjoyable and illuminating reading.” — fRoots
“His [Will Oldham's] book was more fascinating for me because I knew fewer of the songs.” — Jude Rogers, New Statesman