Top critical review
Interesting Insight but still Babylon Pap
on 9 September 2010
I have read some of the other Babylon series and find them at times to be a modern day version of the carry-on films.I enjoyed this book more than some of its counterparts.
I am first and foremost a music lover and that is why I was principaly attracted to the book.
The storyline, although totally believable, will not shatter any barriers in the originality stakes. It focuses on a manufactured boy band with minimal talant, that is considered to have the abs and looks, to make it to the top,
A former manager of independent bands has fallen on hard times and is largely considered outdated. His attempts to discover, manufactire and market the "Band of Five" form the core of the book.
The co-author obviously has a fairly strong attachment with the music industry and the one liners and asides used to make comparisons that are based upon actual music performers are are both interesting and amusing.
The book also offers an interesting and entertaining insight into how the music industry has evolved over the past 15 years with hits on web sites now taking almost equal priority and importance as sales or records.
The fact that a band like Radiohead would make an album available online free in the knowledge that the concert sales would make 10 fold the loss was interesting and indicitive of the level of detail to be found in the book.
The book also offers insight into promotional and management financial splits and the financial mechanics of the industry that may mean that although "The Sun" thinks that you are highly newsworthy and will do anything concievable for a scandel based story, the artists are still living hand to mouth in considerable discomfort on one hundred pounds per week.
The book is let down by the fact that the characters that form the band are so non-discript and tales of sex with groupies is no great revelation. cocaine, young girls, hangovers, hardly revolutionary revelations
The story of their rise may be based upon fact but it so tad and predictable it is almost boring. From my limited exposure to these Babylon books I have found that they rely on situations rather than characters and when the situations are repackaged superficial re-counts the absence of depth to any of the participants becomes glaringly apparent.
The members of the band seem to have little depth to them and carry off a whole range of situations like the gay singer "coming out" without the novel creating any mood or impact related to the situation. It is just a routine re-run through a well troden path that has been down so much more better and more meaningful before.
Possibly therein lies the problem, the Babylon series of books are in my opinion throwaway sensationalist pap and when they attempt to digress and adopt a more singular detailed approach they fall very short when it comes to areas of detail and an inability to re-create any situation convincinally in writing.
It falls on two fronts then because it does not satisfy the hard core Babylon brigade nor the music fans that were attracted to the book by its topic matter.
It was very easy to read and at times entertaining but certainly not a book to recomend too strongly.