Dan Fogelberg's The Innocent Age: Poetics, Analysis, and Reception History
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In a 1981 New York Times review of Dan Fogelberg's The Innocent Age, Stephen Holden claimed that the album's lyrics were, "perhaps the most spectacular example of artistic overreaching that the singer/songwriter genre has produced.&" Other critics at the time also disdained the album as too serious or ambitious (Pond; Browning). Holden and his contemporaries clearly did not foresee the album's subsequent commercial and financial success nor its value as musical art. Through music-text analysis and considerations of historical context, I argue that The Innocent Age was not only a commercial success but also worthy of recognition as an artistic achievement, and that it is indeed a song cycle. This thesis will inform issues related to music-text analysis and analytical methods drawn from those of concept albums and song cycles. Sources for this thesis include album reviews, Of Time and the River by Thomas Wolfe, the score, recordings, published interviews, survey data, and other secondary sources.