Drooling fanatic, n. 1. One who drools in the presence of beloved rock stars. 2. Any of a genus of rock-and-roll wannabes/geeks who walk around with songs constantly ringing in their ears, own more than 3,000 albums, and fall in love with at least one record per week. With a life thatrsquo;s spanned the phonographic era and the digital age, Steve Almond lives to Rawk. Like you, hersquo;s secretly longed to live the life of a rock star, complete with insane talent, famous friends, and hotel rooms to be trashed. Also like you, hersquo;s content (sort of) to live the life of a rabid fan, one who has converted his unrequited desires into a (sort of) noble obsession. Rock and Roll Will Save Your Lifetraces Almondrsquo;s passion from his earliest (and most wretched) rock criticism to his eventual discovery of a music-crazed soul mate and their subsequent production of two little superfans. Along the way, Almond reflects on the delusional power of songs, the awkward mating habits of drooling fanatics, and why Depression Songs actually make us feel so much better.
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) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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April 13, 2010
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