Tag Archives: Rock and roll

Bonus Book Review: “Rock Critic Law: 101 Unbreakable Rules for Writing Badly About Music” by Michael Azerrad

Rock Critic Law Michael AzerradRock Critic Law: 101 Unbreakable Rules for Writing Badly About Music by Michael Azerrad is another book I got from Harper-Collins over three months ago. The copy I got is an unedited proof and according to the letter I got with it, this book won’t be released until October 18, 2018 (Amazon says the release date is December 15th). I’m not sure why they sent it out so early. I wrote to them in May and asked if it was okay to post a review, but they said they would prefer if I hold off until the month before publication (it is available for pre-order on Amazon). And so, this book has remained on the end table in my living room collecting dust for months and at this point, I just need to move it to the bookshelf. I’m going to defend this early review by saying that this book already has 5 reviews on GoodReads.com!

Author Michael Azerrad has written for most of the major music publications: Spin, Rolling Stone, Revolver, Mojo, etc.. He’s also the author of Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana and Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. Several years ago, he started a Twitter feed under the name @RockCriticLaw and he set about making up ridiculous, yet profound, rules for anyone who reviews rock music.

For obvious reasons, I found this topic intriguing since no one had ever told me that there are rules for what I’ve been putting out on my blog for the last nine years. I’ll start by saying that the Introduction to this book may have more words than the 101 rules themselves. The rules are taken from Azerrad’s Twitter feed and some were even contributed by Twitter followers. Here are some of the rules:

All fan bases are either “devoted,” “dedicated,” or “loyal.”

Bass players are the only musicians that can be “nimble.”

If there are three or more bowed instruments on a track, then you MUST note the “lush orchestration.”

It doesn’t take long to breeze through these rules even with their comic illustrations on the facing pages to add to the humor behind each one. It’s disappointing that the book ends so quickly and makes me wonder if Azerrad should have held out until he could have made a “500 rules…” book to give the reader more bang for their buck, since the book retails for $23.99 and takes less than 30 minutes to read. And even though I was amused by it and got it for free, I probably won’t be keeping this book around to reread or use as a reference guide for my future reviews. It might just be easier to follow him on Twitter. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Rock & Roll’s Most Wanted” by Stuart Shea

Rock and Roll's Most Wanted Stuart SheaRock & Roll’s Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Lame Lyrics, Egregious Egos, and Other Oddities by Stuart Shea is another book I picked up for free at The Book Thing in Baltimore this past March. Released in August 2006, this 304 page book is an amusing collection of rock n roll Top 10 lists.

There isn’t really much more to say about this book than what’s already in the title. If you’re wondering if they Beatles get mention, the answer is “yes…often!” There is even one Top Ten list of who’s been called or deemed worthy of the title of The Fifth Beatle. I admit that some of the author’s choices in the category are a little shaky in my opinion, but you’ll have to get the book and decide for yourself if you agree or disagree.

I found this book not only entertaining, but also enlightening and educational when it comes to learning about some of my favorite rock stars. At times, though, it does show it’s age when it talks of personalities that are no longer with us on this earth. But, if you can find this book in your local library or cheap used copy online, pick it up for some easy reading and enjoyment. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “The History of the NME: High Times and Low Lives at the World’s Most Famous Music Magazine” by Pat Long


I bought a used copy of The History of the NME: High Times and Low Lives at the World’s Most Famous Music Magazine by Pat Long several months ago in an amazing bookstore in Harrisburg, PA.  Anyone that knows about the Beatles or the music industry, knows about the New Music Express magazine published in England.  What they may not know is that it started out as a magazine about accordion music!

I was delightfully surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book.  From it’s early start in 1956, through it’s continued success now, the New Music Express has been a powerhouse in providing music fans with the latest in bands, concerts, venues and politics.  What surprised me the most, though, was the coverage of the behind the scenes look at the happenings inside of NME in the 1970’s.  For those of my readers that have been following the HBO series “Vinyl“, about a fictitious record label struggling to keeps its head above water  in 1973 (and has been criticized for overdoing the sex, drugs), you can’t help but notice the similarities in drug use, promiscuity and payola that were going on at that time in music history.

Author and former NME journalist Pat Long,  will introduce you to all the great journalists and editors that contributed the pages of NME from it’s early days up until the 1990’s, as they are quoted throughout with their stories and memories during the highs and lows in the music industry, including for the time that passed on reporting about the new band from Liverpool in 1962.  And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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