Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Review of Rock On: An Office Power Ballad

My one word review? Hilarious. Although that's cheating, since you can see that review on the cover.

Hm, alright, I'll do more than one word.

I chose this book because I heard the author on the radio and he seemed really funny. He is! This is a nonfiction book in the style of David Sedaris, where you expect that these things basically happened as he lays them out, but that they're exaggerated for comedic effect.

In Rock On, Dan Kennedy describes attaining a middle management position in the marketing department at Atlantic Records, at the start of the record industry's decline. Of course he gets laid off toward the end of the book, but his adventures in between are awesome. His self-deprecating humor is laugh-out-loud funny at times (or snort-out-loud funny...more on that later). He intersperses the narrative with funny lists or imagined scenarios that are brilliant. Among my favorites were the white person's version of a soul song, the list detailing how to be a chart-topping rock and roll star, "Free Lyrics for Any All-Girl Rock Band Trying to Win Over the Middle-Aged White Suburban Male Demographic" (the first line is, "I think that's muscle, not fat"), and "Ideas for Ironic Image Reinventions," which includes Hootie and the Blowfish repackaged as gangster rap (his notes say, "Shorten Name to 'Ho Blow'?" which made me snort aloud on the train as I was reading it).

Ho Blow.

I also really enjoyed the scene where he describes going to an Iggy Pop concert and realizing anew that the corporate environment he works in has absolutely nothing to do with rock and roll, or even music. It's a deftly handled moment. It also made me want to see Iggy Pop in concert.

Young Iggy. Nice backbend!

Finally, I liked that he wrote the reading discussion questions at the end. Usually these questions are so terrible that we read them aloud at my book club as a joke. Here they're also terrible, but on purpose. I particularly liked, "If you had to pick just three thousand MP3s to be stuck on a desert island with, what would those three thousand songs be? And give a reason why you chose each particular one when you read the titles of the songs to the discussion group."

The end was a little disappointing. It's a little like he didn't quite know how to wrap it up after talking about how he (and everyone else) got laid off. I can understand that, since he spent a good deal of time unemployed; how do you wrap up life? Still, the book fizzled a little for me at the end.

To sum up: Is it War and Peace? Nope. It's funny and a quick read, and I recommend it.

Next up: I'm not sure. Mr. T's still struggling with the wedding industry book, so I might move onto a Kim Harrison book I picked up last weekend. I'll let you all know.

Also, as my wedding date gets closer, I'll probably talk more about the actual wedding and less about the books I borrowed from the library in order to save money for said wedding. So never fear, I'll get back on topic...in about 6 months, I estimate. ;-)

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