Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life

Steve Almond, Author . Random $23 (222p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6620-9

The goofiness and magnetism of rock is celebrated in this exuberant memoir. Rock critic and memoirist Almond (Candyfreak ) describes himself as a “drooling fanatic” of rock and roll with a morbid passion for obscure bands, arcane record collections, and proselytizing his musical tastes. This freewheeling mix tape recounts the central role music played in his relationships, sexual encounters, and life transitions, while sprinkling in idiosyncratic lists, from “Rock's Biggest Assholes” to “Silly Names of Rock Star Spawn,” and tragicomic exegeses of songs great and terrible. His rock-critic gig enables his obsessions, giving him cover to profile, hang with, and otherwise stalk rockers while gazing into the bleak underside of their lives, “the desolation in which... art continues to bloom.” Almond deftly straddles the line between intellectual and fan. He's canny about the ways rock stars manipulate their idolators, yet happy to be seduced by them. He veers smoothly between funny, cruel takedowns of rock fatuity while registering its emotional impact (the song “I Bless the Rains Down in Africa” may be “the lovechild of Muzak and imperialism,” but you can't help “sort of digging it”). Almond's snarky, swoony counterpoint makes for a hilarious riff on the power of music. (Apr. 13)

Reviewed on: 02/22/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Open Ebook - 152 pages - 978-0-679-60365-8
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