Seven Years of Plenty: Handbook of Irrefutable Pop Greatness, 1991-98 Paperback – 22 Oct 1998
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One of the many drawbacks of the millennium is that the final years of the 20th century are likely to be either (a) overlooked or (b) written off as some sort of apocalyptic fin-de-siècle anomaly. Ben Thompson, who's written for most of the music press and a good many of the dailies, has wisely bucked this trend, and got in early with a serious assessment of pop's "seven years of plenty" from 1991 to 1998 (that's eight years to me, but who's counting?)
Thompson's encounters with 30 nineties icons such as Beck, Blur, Massive Attack, and the Prodigy are preceded by a collection of 10 brilliant ponderings on the state of his art. As his mischievous subtitle suggests, Thompson's narrative teems with willful exaggerations and confrontational prejudices. Luckily, unlike so many of his peers, Thompson understands the English language, and his writing is often nothing short of exhilarating. Even if the bands mean little to you, and you long for the days when the latest craze was not a souped-up, sampled, and regurgitated version of something cherished from long ago, by the end you'll believe that "the history of pop music from 1991 onwards is a heroic saga of resistance and proliferation against the odds." --Alan Stewart