Most helpful critical review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Bored and confused
on 30 December 2011
John Street is undoubtedly passionate about his subject, but there is little to entertain any reader looking for a rounded examination of the continuing tricky relationship between musicians (and the business) and politics. There are interesting chapters to do with censorship and how the Mercury prize is rigged - there really is no other way of seeing it - and a convoluted section looks at the history of American folk music, including a hefty nod at Greil Marcus. Street's confusing narrative feels uncomfortably close to Marcus's excesses.
I think something more should have been said about rock stars using political charging as a means to massage their egos and further their sense of self-importance. Obvious names are absent from Street's book. While not in favour of muck-raking, I still think that this is an area Street should have covered. He returns too frequently to Bob Geldof, and this becomes tiresome very soon.
I was briefly amused that the rise of the Amazon citizen-reviewer is acknowledged, waving at us to give the impression that we really make a difference! Peculiarly, given this, Street makes no mention of 'Trolling' or the employment of 'reviewers' by record companies or publishers. Both are political acts - one churlish and clumsy, the other insidious - and now all too common. I don't think we Amazon reviewers do what we do as a political act: to quote the PM that should've been, Billie Piper (hit singles at 14! decapitating Daleks!) we do it 'Because we want to, because we want to!'
Sorry, but this really is a dry and difficult read. Still, thanks for the heads up, John!