We've all heard that there's an elegance in simplicity. Well, all of us except for the Orange County Register's music critic/blogger Ben Wener, apparently.
Here's the opening paragraph to his nearly 900-word (!) review of U2's latest, No Line on the Horizon. Bring a bookmark:
"It's been streaming free for a week on MySpace and just arrived at your nearby Target and Best Buy and such, yet rabid fans who await new U2 missives with evangelical fervor, as well as overheated critics who egg them on, seem to have made their determination: This, their 12th full-length studio set in nearly 30 years of work, is where the Irish superstars daringly revive their experimental side after spending the rest of this decade retreating (often rather gloriously) to the relative safe haven of their classic sound."
Yes. That's all one sentence. 89 words. 525 characters. By comparison, the preamble to the Constitution, perhaps the most famous really long sentence in history, is 52 words. Just a fluke, right? Well, let's look at the second paragraph.
"I've avoided other reviews, including Rolling Stone's five-star praise, the second such rave for a Hall of Famer disc this year (that must be some kind of precedent), and still I get the gist: The band that has proved slow to reinvent itself has finally gotten around to furthering its boundaries once more."
Yep. Not as cartoonishly excessive, but still quite long. Also, both sente-graphs have a colon and parentheses, which is neat.
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I know what you're thinking: It has to be just something he had for breakfast that morning. Run-on Sentence O's. Well, let's take a look at his review of the re-opening show at the Yost last week:
"What a terrific grand re-opening of sorts: The old Yost Theater, a nearly century-old vaudeville in downtown Santa Ana that has been reintroduced as a haven for indie shows, got off to a great start Thursday night thanks to superb sets not just from kitschy-cool headliner the Bird and the Bee (left) but also local talents Melanoid (singer-songwriter John Hanson and his very capable crew) and pop charmer Stacy Clark, whose on-stage style this night was pitched somewhere between Zooey Deschanel and a softer Katy Perry."
Guh. Re-opening and reintroduced, eh? At this point, it's clearly just the Wener style: Colon, parentheses, lots of words (and not so many periods). Did I just do it? I was trying my hardest!
(Also, Katy Perry? Really? Maybe he was still reeling from the Bird and the Bee's "ornate, neo-Bacharachian splendor.")