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Rock and Roll Always Forgets


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements xv
Foreword / Chuck Klosterman xi
Introduction 1
1. Predicting the Future
Over and Out 9
Rhymed Funk Hits Area 10
Skin Yard, Skin Yard 12
Drug Crazed Teens: Flaming Lips 14
Music That Passes the Acid Test 15
New Kids in the '90s: A Decade in the Life 18
Radiohead, The Bends 19
Walking into Spiderwebs: The Ultimate Band List 20
Talking World War III Blues 23
2. Alternative to What
Bombast in the Blood: Bad Religion 29
Conscience of Some Conservatives: The Ramones 32
Punk's First Family Grow Old Together: The Ramones 35
Howls from the Heartland: The Untamed Midwest 42
An Indie Rises Above: SST Records 48
Slime is Money (Bastard) 52
Big Black Give You a Headache 56
Nirvana, "all Apologies" 62
Wrong is Right: Marilyn Manson 64
Live: Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, 18 February 1997 68
City of Dreams: Rock in Mexico 69
Chumbawamba at the Piss Factory 76
Mr. and Mrs. Used To Be: The White Stripes Find a Little Place to Fight 'em Off 79
3. Umlauts from Heck
Five Great Beats-Per-Minute 89
Seduce, Seduce 92
Agnostic Front, Beyond Possession, Dr. Know, Helstar, Raw Power 94
Top 40 That Radio Won't Touch: Metallica 98
Welcome Home (Sanitarium): Metallica Seek Psychiatric Help 104
Mentors, Up The Dose 106
Robert Plant, Technobilly 108
Def Leppard's Magic and Loss 116
AC/DC's Aged Currencies 124
White Wizzard Escape Each Other 137
4. To the Beat Y'all
Mantronix: Strange Loops 143
Spoonie Gee: Unreformed 144
Just-Ice: Rap With Teeth 147
Pazz & Jop Ballot Excerpt 1989: N.W.A. 149
Pazz & Jop Ballot Excerpt 1992: Arrested Development 149
Sir Mix-A-Lot: Chief Boot Knocka 149
From Taco Bell to Pachalbel: Coolio 150
Pazz & Jop Ballot Excerpt 1997: Erykah Badu and B-Rock & The Bizz 152
Timbaland, Magoo, and Ma$e, As the World Turns 153
Pazz & Jop Ballot Excerpt 2001: Jay-Z 157
Licks: Bone Crusher, Turk, Crunk & Disorderly 158
Pazz & Jop Ballot Excerpt 2003 160
5. Race-Mixing
Emmett Miller: The Minstrel Man from Georgia 167
Mississippi Sheiks vs. Utah Saints 168
Pazz & Jop Ballot Excerpt 1984 170
Pazz & Jop Ballot Excerpt 1985 170
Boogie Down Productions: Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip-Hop 172
Yothu Yindi: Tribal Voice 175
Living Colour: Biscuits EP 175
3rd Bass: Cactus Love 176
Teena Marie in Wonderland 178
Shake Your Love: Gillette 180
The Iceman Cometh Back: Vanilla Ice 183
Motor Suburb Madhouse: Kid Rock and Eminem 184
The Daddy Shady Show: Eminem's Family Values 196
Spaghetti Eastern: The Lordz of Brooklyn 206
6. Country Discomfort
Yippie Tie One On: Rural Roots and Muddy Boots 217
John Cougar Mellencamp: Life Goes On 222
K.T. Oslin: Greatest Hits: Songs from an Aging Sex Bomb 224
The Temptations of Mindy McCready 226
CMT 228
Banda, Si, Por Que No 229
Big & Rich Boogaloo Down Broadway 233
Pazz & Jop Ballot Excerpt 2004: Montgomery Gentry and Chely Wright 235
Please Stop Belittling Toby Keith 236
Brad Paisley is Ready to Make Nice 240
7. Pop Muzik
Cutting It as a Bay City Roller in 1989 247
People Pleasers: The Village People 249
Arrivederci, Bay-BEE: Nocera and Fun Fun 251
Debbie Gibson: Angel Baby 253
It Was In The Cards 255
Pet Shop Boys' Mad Behavior 256
Gimme Back My Bullets: Will to Power Shoot for Disco Valhalla 263
Michael Jackson Loves the Sound of Breaking Glass 267
If It Ain't Baroque, Don't Fix It: Michael Jackson and Faithless 273
They Know What They Really Really Want and They Know How to Get It: Spice Girls and Gina G 277
Pazz & Jop Ballot Excerpt 1998 281
8. Singles Again and Again
Sucking in the '70s: Have A Nice Day, Volumes 1-10 287
Zager and Evans: "In The Year 2525" 289
Radio '86: Dead Air 292
Radio On reviews 298
Ten Cents a Watusi 304
Singles Again: Tangled Up in Blue 309
Singles Again: Paranoia Jumps Deep 313
Singles Jukebox reviews 316
The Year of Too Much Consensus 322
The End? 325
Index 329

Promotional Information

Features the best, most provocative reviews, interviews, columns, and essays by Chuck Eddy - a singular critic

About the Author

Chuck Eddy is an independent music journalist living in Austin, Texas. Formerly the music editor at the Village Voice and a senior editor at Billboard, he is the author of The Accidental Evolution of Rock 'n' Roll: A Misguided Tour through Popular Music and Stairway to Hell: The 500 Best Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe. Chuck Klosterman is a freelance journalist and the author of numerous books, including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto and Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota.


"This smart, very funny anthology includes some of the best work by any writer on country, metal, teen pop, Eighties hip-hop and Eminem. It's the only book you'll ever read that compares Jay-Z's The Blueprint to Huey Lewis' Sports - and means it as a compliment." Jody Rosen, Rolling Stone "Eddy won me over. How glad I am to see the publication of Eddy's new song(s) of himself Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism (Duke University Press). Glad, first, because it's truly a representative selection, tracing the slithery paths of Eddy's enthusiasms from Marilyn Manson to Mindy McCready just to stick with the "M"s, with tart new intros that set up reprints of some of his greatest hits. And glad, second, that there exist publishers still willing to release anthologies of rock writing, since so much great rock criticism remains uncollected, neglected, less forgotten than never known to a wider audience." Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly "Rock critic Chuck Eddy is one of the world's great music fans. For the past 25 years, his writing for The Village Voice, Creem, Rolling Stone, Spin, and other outlets has kept Eddy at the center of pop music conversations...At his paid and unpaid best, that's what Chuck Eddy has done for 25 years. He don't give a damn what other people think. What do you think about that?" Josh Langhoff, Los Angeles Review of Books "Eddy has a written voice as distinctive as the music he critiques. He wears his affection as well as his distaste on his sleeve, and this collection of his work from the 1980s until 2010 (first published in the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Spin, and elsewhere) is a perfect capsule of his eternal enthusiasm." Peter Thornell, Library Journal "Chuck Eddy's Rock And Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism captures a singular critical voice from, arguably, the last great period in which criticism (and physical publications) still mattered." Bill Holdship, Metro Times "Chuck Eddy glides through music criticism like a grumpy fanatic. Each article included in Rock and Roll Always Forgets - culled from Eddy's vast back catalogue of music journalism articles, beginning with the early 1980s - is packed with cultural references, touchstones, facts, witty asides, a dash of snark, and acknowledgments of once-obscure acts. Yet, he approaches each band like he's the first to have discovered it. He's a musical anthropologist, but also, archeologist, digging up the remains of musicians past, lest we forget." Emily Savage, San Francisco Bay Guardian "Few longtime pop music critics have been as fearlessly unhip in both their likes and dislikes, have been so willing to accept oft-ignored music on its own terms and have been as rock 'n' roll as Chuck Eddy, writer, former Village Voice music editor, self-described curmudgeon, ex-Army captain and hair-metal expert." Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times "I don't always agree with Chuck Eddy. In fact, I only occasionally agree with Chuck Eddy. But I'm always sure he cares, which I can tell not just because I know him, but because I love reading him. For more than twenty-five years he has been an original and indefatigable voice whose openness to new and unheralded music is legendary." Robert Christgau, Dean of American Rock Critics "...Its 350 pages contain some of the best, most infuriating, provocative, silly, subversive and hilarious bits of music criticism published over the past quarter century." Kembrew McLeod, Little Village "I'm highly recommending this collection. You can't know music criticism unless you know Chuck Eddy." W. Scott Poole, Popmatters.com "He has run full speed against conventional wisdom and critical consensus, leaving a Chuck Eddy-shaped hole in the rock critical dialogue." Joe Gross, Statesman.com "When Chuck hears a pop song, it's like he is the first person who has ever heard it; he's certainly aware of what the rest of the world already wants to believe, but those pre-existing perceptions are never convincing to him... More than any other critic, Chuck Eddy showed how the experience of listening to music was both intellectually limitless and acutely personal. There was no 'correct' way to hear a song, and there were no fixed parameters on how that song could be described in print, and if that song made you reconsider abortion or the Oakland Raiders or your father's suicide, then that intellectual relationship mattered because your engagement was real." Chuck Klosterman, from the foreword "This wide-ranging collection of essays (from the Voice, Rolling Stone, Spin, etc.) captures Eddy's cantankerous, spirited, enthusiastic, and forceful takes on music from rap to country and musicians from Michael Jackson to Brad Paisley...Eddy's far-reaching insights into rock music push the boundaries of the rock criticism, showing why he remains one of our most important music critics." Publishers Weekly "Eddy shows that music is not only something to be audibly enjoyed but something limitless intellectual possibilities, something that can grow organically from one genre to the next and shape future sounds...Chuck Eddy has created a stunning portfolio of sometimes gracious and impressed comments and brutally honest and painful criticisms. Rock And Roll Always Forgets is a wonderful collection of some of his most controversial and well constructed works." Verbicide "Eddy's eccemtricity is not only refreshing and entertaining; it's also valuable... This is a vital counterbalance to the critical herd-mind, and a reminder of how much music making and music fandom exists outside the media radar, and never makes it into the official narrative." Bookforum "...it's a mother-lode of vibrant writing that captures the passionate energy of having a long-term love affair with America's most unruly and pervasive art forms" Marc Campbell, DangerousMinds.net "...there's never any doubting Eddy's passion for music" Greg Beets, The Austin Chronicle "Eddy's unflinching ability to connect the dots between what he's hearing and what he's living makes Rock and Roll an electric read. It should trip wires in the minds of not just aspiring and current critics but also casual listeners who might not realize how much is below the surface of what they're hearing." - Michael Hoinski, Village Voice "[T]his new compendium of pieces by Eddy ... Reads like an alternate history of pop's last 25 (or so) years, in which album-oriented rock is saved from itself by the Ramones' Too Tough To Die, latter-day Def Leppard isn't rendered irrelevant by Nirvana, and horn-rimmed consensus about indie darlings Animal Collective is just a bad dream." - Greg Beets, Austin Chronicle "[P]ure joy... [G]et on RARAF: There is plenty of fun strut and 4 a.m. deepness here, perhaps more than most University Press books ever have contained within. Even if you still have stacks of those old rags, and remember those cranky lines Eddy could italicize (where most would cowardly spit them out sideways). Rock and roll may always forget, but Chuck Eddy's work should often be causing trouble in mind." - Chris Estey, KEXP "One of the most energetic and engaging critics in the United States. Eddy might well be the last of the breed of music writers who are as interesting as the musicians they cover." - Alison Fensterstock, Times-Picayune "... Rock And Roll Always Forgets is entertaining and thought-provoking as only Eddy can achieve." - Rev. Keith A. Gordon, Blurt

When Lester Bangs died in 1982, music criticism lost much of its sharp edges. Just two years later, however, a young critic with a rapid-fire wit and uncanny prescience about pop music's future delivered a eulogy for rock and roll in the Village Voice. Chuck Eddy, who started writing about music only a few years after he started listening to it, declared, for example, in his 1984 Voice piece, "Over and Out," that the "Sex Pistols were the worst thing that ever happened to rock and roll-they demanded anarchy and got it... it's also given us a situation in which you can't tell the artists from the poseurs." This wide-ranging collection of essays (from the Voice, Rolling Stone, Spin, etc.) captures Eddy's cantankerous, spirited, enthusiastic, and forceful takes on music from rap to country and musicians from Michael Jackson to Brad Paisley. In early 1986, Eddy reviewed Aerosmith's Done with Mirrors, suggesting that "Walk This Way" was rap music before rap music existed and proposing that an enterprising deejay might segue the song with the Beastie Boys' "She's on It." Producer Rick Rubin eventually had Run-D.M.C. cover "Walk This Way" on its next album. Eddy's far-reaching insights into rock music push the boundaries of the rock criticism, showing why he remains one of our most important music critics. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Eddy has a written voice as distinctive as the music he critiques. He wears his affection as well as his distaste on his sleeve, and this collection of his work from the 1980s until 2010 (first published in the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Spin, and elsewhere) is a perfect capsule of his eternal enthusiasm. What makes this collection especially entertaining is Eddy's coverage of the entire pop-culture landscape, from Bad Religion and Coolio to Toby Keith and Eminem; while he has always had a serious interest in supporting emerging acts, he treats indie originals or steadfast veterans with equal amounts of praise or befuddlement. Also apparent is Eddy's seemingly rare ability among critics to change his opinion about a band or a style-and to do so publicly. But the overwhelming victory of these pieces is that he makes you want to listen to both music he loves and music he hates. -VERDICT A rollicking ride through 25 years of music.-Peter Thornell, Hingham P.L., MA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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