The Underrated Rock Book: The 200 Most Overlooked Albums, 1970–2015

Jim Santora Jr. CreateSpace, $13.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-72284-518-6
First-time author and musician Santora delivers an entertaining if slight collection of 200 short reviews of rock LPs by “artists that have been overlooked in their time.” Since he is surveying 45 years of music, Santora admits upfront that he put the book together as “a discussion piece... a musical journey full of bands you are going to remember or wonder why this is the first time you have ever heard them.” For the most part, he is successful. He makes an insightful argument for the quality of the third LP by alternative metal pioneers Living Colour, Stain, “an album that displayed the band at their heaviest but not losing any of the funk or experimental style of their previous releases.” He also praises the first LP by blues rockers Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise (“Robert Bradley has a voice that could reach into you, draw you in and make you listen to every note”), who were overlooked in the 1990s grunge craze. But Santora also covers fairly well-known LPs by groups such as Ministry (A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste “is what happens when you combine new wave and thrash/speed metal with a punk rock attitude and further chaos”), the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and R.E.M. It all makes for intriguing reading, but the overall effect is more scattershot, the literary equivalent of looking through a friend’s extensive record collection. (Self-published)
Reviewed on : 05/20/2020
Release date: 09/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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