Author Archives: Robert Burke Warren

About Robert Burke Warren

Robert Burke Warren (@RBWUncleRock) is a writer and musician. He's written for Texas Music, Brooklyn Parent, The Woodstock Times, Salon, the Good Men Project, the Bitter Southerner,Paste, The Rumpus, The Bitter Southerner, Chronogram, and the Da Capo anthology The Show I ‘ll Never Forget. His debut novel, Perfectly Broken, is out now from The Story Plant. robertburkewarren.com

Love & Mercy and the Saving of Brian Wilson

Beach Boy Brian Wilson, musical genius and cultural icon, should have died, but did not. Someone saved him. Who, exactly, did the saving is up for debate. In any case, hot new biopic Love & Mercy, fleshes out the less-familiar trope of “saving the artist,” and our own Robert Burke Warren digs that. Continue reading

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Song Beneath the Song: Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue”

Bod Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue,” from his 1975 classic Blood On the Tracks, is unfinished. Always has been, always will be. Its incompleteness, however, is part of its power. It is no accident. Dylan engineered “Tangled Up In Blue” to be open-ended, unsealed, and shape-shifting, not unlike a jazz composition. He tinkers with it, sometimes radically reinventing it, both lyrically and melodically, to this day, making it one of the most resilient, resonant unfinished songs ever. Our own Robert Burke Warren gets deep into this distinctive, odd nugget from the Dylan canon. Continue reading

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Bigger Than Jesus: The Gospel of U2, Leonard Cohen, and Sufjan Stevens

Robert Burke Warren goes deep into his own story to talk about the persistence of God in pop, and how and why non-believers and doubting Thomases still go for it. Continue reading

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A Song Shall Lead (and Annoy) Them: “Let It Go” from Frozen

“Let It Go” crystallizes something intense and very real but otherwise formless, and little kids, who, bless them, do not know from “cool,” love it more than any other song, ever. Even boys. For the first time in history, boys do not categorically run from a Disney princess. They are drawn to Elsa. I am fortunate to bear witness to all of this, and so are you. At the risk of overstating it, it feels historic. Continue reading

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In Defense of Disco

At its height, the “Disco Sucks” movement drew fifty-nine thousand people to a Chicago stadium to watch a shock jock explode LPs, inciting a full-on riot of mostly white dudes. WTF? Our Robert Burke Warren, who became enamored of disco in the lusty confines of a Catholic school broom closet, writes about the music that arrived at the same time as his teens, and how it inspired him. Continue reading

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Confessions of a Crybaby

Crying is good for you, but sometimes it’s hard to manage, especially when it’s intense and you’ve got stuff to do. Robert Burke Warren comes clean about being a crybaby, the good, the bad, and the redemptive. Continue reading

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Take A Sad Song and Make It Better

Though it seems long ago and far away, high summer in the post-Watergate Deep South did, in fact, exist. The Beatles were six years gone, but still potent enough to change the lives of kids and adults alike, almost as potent as a stoned girl answering her door clad only in a sheet. memoir from our own Robert Burke Warren. Continue reading

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Lo Fi Luv

Sometimes songs shine brightest under less-than-ideal sonic conditions. i.e. LO FI. Why is that? Robert Burke Warren has a few ideas, and some lo fi fare to share. No extra charge for authentic tape hiss. Continue reading

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Elvis Presley’s Shining Moment: the ’68 Comeback Special

Although most folks don’t know it, Black Leather Elvis was the best Elvis, and Robert Burke Warren explains why. Black Leather Elvis, who rose briefly in 1968 before drugs and despair ruined him, will steal your rock and roll heart. Continue reading

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The Flaw In the Force: The Star Wars Holiday Special

George Lucas tried his best to keep 1978’s Star Wars Holiday Special from ever being seen, but the Internet has bested him. Robert Burke Warren gives a kind overview to this perceived blight on Lucas’ legacy, and suggests you do the same. After all, it’s Christmas! (And/or Life Day.) Continue reading

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We Wish You a Merry Sixmas

Was there ever a better Christmas mixtape than Merry Sixmas? Likely not. Our music editor Robert Burke Warren takes us back to the 80s, when a second-generation cassette mix made by a stranger named Eddie G opened up a whole new way of listening to and sharing music. Continue reading

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50 Rock & Roll Songs That Increased My Word Power

Weeklings music editor Robert Burke Warren gets revved up like a deuce and reveals how time you spend “wasting” – i.e. listening to rock and roll – is not wasted time. Not at all. Readers Digest would be proud. Increase your own word power! Bismillah! Continue reading

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