cover image Rock On: An Office Power Ballad

Rock On: An Office Power Ballad

Dan Kennedy, . . Algonquin, $14.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-1-56512-509-4

Kennedy, a McSweeney’s contributor, offers an entertaining explanation of how, after years of stumbling through adulthood, he landed an improbable gig writing and producing ads for Atlantic Records. For a kid who grew up dressing like Gene Simmons each Halloween in the 1970s, this should be a dream job—hobnobbing with rock stars and industry legends while making more money than he ever had before. The trouble is that, by the early 21st century, he finds that Atlantic is more corporate than rock. Kennedy’s run-ins with rock stars involve helping Jewel sell razors and mistaking Duran Duran’s manager for a member of the band. When he’s not inadvertently insulting aging rockers, Kennedy worries incessantly about office politics—whether he’s made a permanent enemy of a co-worker by asking what kind of muffin she’s eating, which executives to greet in the hallway and which to ignore. Kennedy’s style—hilarious, paranoid and vulnerable—captures wonderfully the absurdity of the corporate music industry. Readers will appreciate the many lists that pepper the book, including “Inappropriate Greetings and Salutations for Middle-Aged White Record Executives to Exchange: #1. Hello, Dawg.” (Feb.)