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Accidental Revolution: The Story of Grunge Paperback – Bargain Price, July 10, 2007

1.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Review

"The way Kyle Anderson writes about grunge mirrors how the music sounded in 1993: Humor within seriousness, heaviness within distortion, enthusiasm within detachment. This book will make you get on the snake."  -- Chuck Klosterman author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

About the Author

KYLE ANDERSON is an Assistant Editor at Spin magazine.  He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312358199
  • ASIN: B003MAJO3E
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 1.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,072,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book has no new information, original insights, or even interesting comments to make. It could have been written without hearing any music at all, using only published reviews. The author claims that what really happened doesn't matter 'only how it is remembered' so why bother with the truth?
Anyone who thinks Spin magazine is hip ought to try reading this book.
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Format: Paperback
...however, even a BAD college paper would site sources. Anderson sites NO ONE. How he managed to avoid plagiarism is beyond me.

This book is OBVIOUSLY written by someone who was NO WHERE NEAR the scene when it happened and has not researched enough primary sources (like ACTUAL PEOPLE/Interviews). Yes, Anderson gives the book a view through a "pop culture lens" and proves that he knows very little about the people and the actual feel of what was going on with the "Seattle Sound" during the early 90's.

As a musical historian myself, one who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, I find this book embarrassingly poorly researched and full of inaccuracies and flaws. This is NOT "The Story of Grunge" as the book's tittle claims. Anyone who has read the booklets that come with cds from the bands he mentions from this era, and has seen the movies 'Hype!' and 'Singles', could paste together a similar "Story" of what they think grunges' history is. (I'm not kidding about that.)

To really understand how ridiculous and inaccurate this book is, one only needs to see his "Great Grunge Discography" chapter. The Gin Blossoms? Live? Reality Bites Soundtrack!!?? THE VERVE PIPE!!??(NO EXCUSE for that last one!) This guy peppers his list with a few safe Seattle Legends, even the Deep Six Compilation, but doesn't include bands like TAD, The Wipers, Skin Yard, and The Melvins to name just a few. That is proof enough that he is NOT a reliable source.

And, anyone who refers to The Fastbacks and L7 as "...also rans" and Coffin Break as an "unknown" CLEARLY has NO CLUE what they're talking about, LET ALONE what was going on in the grunge movement or its' history.
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Format: Paperback
The author is intent on telling readers what grunge "means," instead of actually writing an engaging history of the grunge years...that Chuck Klosterman blurb on the cover should tip everyone off to its shoddy quality.
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Format: Paperback
Anderson takes a difficult, somewhat unconventional approach in "Accidental Revolution," one which none of my fellow customer-reviewers enjoyed, it seems.
He rates the grunge canon through a pop culture lens, arguing that this is the legacy of the bands, and whether or not its exactly how things were at the time, it's how history will remember them. This can be an extremely tough premise to accept, but if you're able to, the book winds up being a very enjoyable, brisk read. Anderson's voice is sharp and fun, if somewhat snarky; he covers a lot of musical ground in a short space; and he doesn't shy away from calling BS if he sees it, which I think might have turned other readers off.
I'm not going to dispute the criticisms others have levied at the author. He didn't include any interview material in this book. He totally does remind you ad nauseum that grunge is a fusion of punk and metal. Including Live in his "grunge discography" is somewhat ridiculous (though I suppose he's trying to draw some parallel here between the late 80s / early 90s Seattle scene and the alt-rock boom that followed). He also uses heady academic jargon like "macrolevel" a touch too much.
But academic is a good word for this - "Accidental Revolution" is not some conventional rock bio/history giving you the indepth dirt on Tad, The Melvins, Andrew Wood, etc. If that's how the book is being marketed, it's a mistake on the publisher's part. This instead places grunge's heavy hitters in context by giving the Seattle scene an extended critical-essay treatment. This isn't about probing interviews and stunning revelations, its about reconsidering bands you are already familiar with.
If you know that going into it and can hang with it for a couple hundred pages, you'll come out enjoying the ride, flaws and all.
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