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I hate New Music the Classic Rock Manifesto Hardcover – November 1, 2008
All Books, All the Time
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Thompson’s pick as the top “classic rock” song (1968–1976) is Led Zeppelin’s ubiquitous “Stairway to Heaven.” And it gets worse. His next three picks, all warhorses, are “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (the Who), “Hotel California” (Eagles), and “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen). He detests the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, though, so there’s grit under the treacle. Perhaps. He basically presents a scattershot critique of the music that lives forever on boomer-oriented oldies radio and at wedding receptions. He overdoes the sly humor only occasionally and has a good sense of the bizarre to compensate a shortage of appreciation of the backbeat. Most of his targets are exceedingly deserving of skewering, and all are by pretty well-heeled cats, most of them white, whatever that tells one. Thompson finds “moments of endorphin-pumping pleasure” in the likes of Jimmy Page’s guitar solo in “Stairway” and discourses merrily on the monumental nature of the 1960s–’70s album-oriented pop he esteems. He also finds great value in disco excursions by rockers, so obviously his humor knows no—or few—bounds. Good, clean fun. --Mike Tribby
About the Author
Dave Thompson is the author of over 100 books on rock music and pop culture, including best-selling titles on Nirvana, Cream, David Bowie, and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. His writing has also appeared in numerous magazines and publications, including Rolling Stone, Mojo, Melody Maker and Q.
Top Customer Reviews
And the thing is, when he gets going on the stuff he loves and why (for example, Heart's lifting of every idea they had from Jimmy Page, but doing it so well he succumbs even to their folkiest moments as well), he's readable and full of fascinating detail.
Thompson, in this book, is Don Quixote, and iPods are his windmill. Tilting at them will never work, but you can't blame a grouch for trying.
That said--and I'm only half way thru this book--I agree with everything he's said (except maybe a few examples he uses aren't bands I'd count as highly as he does). Does that mean that if HE'S right, then I'VE been right all along, because I've thought along the same lines? Possibly. Like any rant, you take it with a grain of salt as a knee jerk reaction. However, when you're as passionate about the music you listen to, and have the knowledge to analyze why the music you don't enjoy sucks, it borders on science. So when other music fans--nay, the full word, "fanatics"--say much the same thing....
I say he's got something here. Take it seriously, and don't mistake passion--or age--for curmudgeonly behavior! If even one tenth of newer artists were as passionate about their music
as those bands in the era Thompson takes as great, things would be a lot less formulaic, and dull, these days. But then, try and wrest creativity from Big Money...which is the root of all formula. And, no, new music doesn't all suck--that would be the curmudgeonly knee jerk reaction--you just have to dig around on the internet and elsewhere to find it.
It's a quick fun read and almost a music history primer for those who are curious about why us old curmugeons--long time music fans--are up in arms. I cracked a wide grin when I saw this book on the shelf... Damn straight, Dave!
(NOTE: I've finished reading this and my opinion has changed a bit. He digresses from the argument at exactly the next chapter i would have read next--12 I think--and goes off into laudatory praise
for who he holds in high esteem. This veers away from the premise. Plus he starts praising 8 TRACK TAPES of the pre-recorded variety. HUH? They were godawful dreck, maybe handy in the car, but at home, forget it! Gobs of tape hiss, and that blasted track change clunk in the middle of songs at times! The last chapter, he finally comes around and makes a fair enough point in summation. But then again he digresses into comedy--a short bit centered on what John Lennon's career would be like now--and a list of 100 songs he thinks are legendary from the era he's studying. Four fifths of these are just the usual pop that was alright to hear on the radio, but I for one wouldn't buy it, and would definitely not call legendary. I'm knocking a star off...
Kudos for having nailed the whys and wherefors; but due to the digression, also a little bit self serving.)
This is not a serious read, but rather the author's opinion regarding the heyday of is favorite music, rock n roll. (Note no use of the ampersand or and). One of my issues with the book, though is that it's very anglophone and male focused. It's a veritable sausage party without any analysis.
That said, he is critical of the over-commercialization of rock music or new music of today. Anyone interested in music and pop culture will enjoy this book.
The author presents his theories and proofs thereof very well, but looses focus about 3/4 of the way in and finishes somewhat weakly. But it is a good and funny read if you love Sabbath,Led Zep, Beatles, Stones (and even Elton!).
Nevertheless, if for you "classic rock" is important, music is important and you grew up reading album liner notes like they were the word of God (for example, you actually know who Jim Marshall, Eddie Offord, Neal Preston and Eddie Kramer are) or because your first music collection was a vinyl LP collection, then you will have a lot of fun reading this book.
Thompson rants off a snarky, pessimistic, bitter polemic against anything written since the mid-seventies, and much written before. His sentiments, aimed generally at rock and pop in the mainstream (though spraying widely) are understandable, but rather than seeking understanding through a broader context of societal and (music) industrial change, he spews his peculiar views, sloppy with vitriol sweetened lightly with wit yet still wet with tart venom. His prose has the informal and disorganized feel of a tirade. This book is interesting, though primarily as a case study, one pop-literate, pissed-off, opinionated reaction to dramatic changes in culture and art, rather than as a source of reliable information.
There ya go,
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you have "D ear" to undestand music this is your book. I luv it! Perfection on Earth!!!