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Chuck Eddy is one of the most entertaining, idiosyncratic, influential, and prolific music critics of the past three decades. His byline has appeared everywhere from the Village Voice and Rolling Stone to Creem, Spin, and Vibe. Eddy is a consistently incisive journalist, unafraid to explore and defend genres that other critics look down on or ignore. His interviews with su Chuck Eddy is one of the most entertaining, idiosyncratic, influential, and prolific music critics of the past three decades. His byline has appeared everywhere from the Village Voice and Rolling Stone to Creem, Spin, and Vibe. Eddy is a consistently incisive journalist, unafraid to explore and defend genres that other critics look down on or ignore. His interviews with subjects ranging from the Beastie Boys, the Pet Shop Boys, Robert Plant, and Teena Marie to the Flaming Lips, AC/DC, and Eminem’s grandmother are unforgettable. His review of a 1985 Aerosmith album reportedly inspired the producer Rick Rubin to pair the rockers with Run DMC. In the eighties, Eddy was one of the first critics to widely cover indie rock, and he has since brought his signature hyper-caffeinated, hyper-hyphenated style to bear on heavy metal, hip-hop, country—you name it. Rock and Roll Always Forgets features the best, most provocative reviews, interviews, columns, and essays written by this singular critic. Essential reading for music scholars and fans, it may well be the definitive time-capsule comment on pop music at the turn of the twenty-first century.


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Chuck Eddy is one of the most entertaining, idiosyncratic, influential, and prolific music critics of the past three decades. His byline has appeared everywhere from the Village Voice and Rolling Stone to Creem, Spin, and Vibe. Eddy is a consistently incisive journalist, unafraid to explore and defend genres that other critics look down on or ignore. His interviews with su Chuck Eddy is one of the most entertaining, idiosyncratic, influential, and prolific music critics of the past three decades. His byline has appeared everywhere from the Village Voice and Rolling Stone to Creem, Spin, and Vibe. Eddy is a consistently incisive journalist, unafraid to explore and defend genres that other critics look down on or ignore. His interviews with subjects ranging from the Beastie Boys, the Pet Shop Boys, Robert Plant, and Teena Marie to the Flaming Lips, AC/DC, and Eminem’s grandmother are unforgettable. His review of a 1985 Aerosmith album reportedly inspired the producer Rick Rubin to pair the rockers with Run DMC. In the eighties, Eddy was one of the first critics to widely cover indie rock, and he has since brought his signature hyper-caffeinated, hyper-hyphenated style to bear on heavy metal, hip-hop, country—you name it. Rock and Roll Always Forgets features the best, most provocative reviews, interviews, columns, and essays written by this singular critic. Essential reading for music scholars and fans, it may well be the definitive time-capsule comment on pop music at the turn of the twenty-first century.

30 review for Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rene Saller

    I don't always, or even often, agree with Chuck Eddy, but I love the way he justifies his love. A lot of people gravitate to critics who confirm their own tastes, but I prefer critics who make me think harder about my own: who make me think, period. That Chuck Eddy makes me laugh while I'm cogitatin' is a big bonus. Because his interests are so idiosyncratic, he's often called a contrarian, but I've never believed he's anything but perfectly sincere, whether he's praising a late Michael Jackson I don't always, or even often, agree with Chuck Eddy, but I love the way he justifies his love. A lot of people gravitate to critics who confirm their own tastes, but I prefer critics who make me think harder about my own: who make me think, period. That Chuck Eddy makes me laugh while I'm cogitatin' is a big bonus. Because his interests are so idiosyncratic, he's often called a contrarian, but I've never believed he's anything but perfectly sincere, whether he's praising a late Michael Jackson album that all the other critics wrote off before they even listened to it or whether he's dismissing critical darlings like Grizzly Bear. More than a compilation of reviews, interviews, profiles, and essays--a time capsule packed with brittle newspaper clippings--this is a grand tour of Eddy's big beautiful brain. He's a very confident writer, but he doesn't pretend to be objective or omniscient. In the remarkable overview essays that precede each section of the book (the pieces are grouped thematically rather than chronologically), he deconstructs his own arguments, points out exactly where he was full of shit and what embarrasses him now, provides some autobiographical and historical context for his opinions, and reminds you that music writing, like every other kind of writing, is heavily contingent on a number of things that really don't have all that much to do with the subject at hand. He's probably the most honest music writer out there, as well as the most entertaining, and if you blow him off because he likes Toby Keith better than Son Volt, Martina McBride better than Bjork, Spoony Gee better than Chuck D, well, it's your loss, tight-ass.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Detroit

    Chuck Eddy is music criticism’s Little Engine That Could (all five foot five of him), wheels always turning – sometimes spinning – but never at rest. This compendium collects some of Eddy’s writing for various publications from the 80’s up to 2010 and while I’m there for most of it – the prose is always top notch – I could never muster much enthusiasm (or any for that matter) for Big Black, Eminem, SST Records, Metallica, Michael Jackson, new country, or rap in any shape or form (Set in my ways? Chuck Eddy is music criticism’s Little Engine That Could (all five foot five of him), wheels always turning – sometimes spinning – but never at rest. This compendium collects some of Eddy’s writing for various publications from the 80’s up to 2010 and while I’m there for most of it – the prose is always top notch – I could never muster much enthusiasm (or any for that matter) for Big Black, Eminem, SST Records, Metallica, Michael Jackson, new country, or rap in any shape or form (Set in my ways? Me?). As always, your results may vary.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Darcia Helle

    This is a difficult one for me to rate. Here's what I liked: Eddy's essays and reviews cover a 25 year period in music. If he spoke about a particular band more than once, as he often did, the pieces were grouped together so readers can see how his opinion, as well as the music, has evolved over time. The pieces are grouped loosely by genre, with rock, then hip hop/rap, country and pop. This makes it easy to skim over genres you have no interest in. Eddy holds nothing back. He doesn't get hung u This is a difficult one for me to rate. Here's what I liked: Eddy's essays and reviews cover a 25 year period in music. If he spoke about a particular band more than once, as he often did, the pieces were grouped together so readers can see how his opinion, as well as the music, has evolved over time. The pieces are grouped loosely by genre, with rock, then hip hop/rap, country and pop. This makes it easy to skim over genres you have no interest in. Eddy holds nothing back. He doesn't get hung up on the technical side of music. Instead, he tackles the feel of it. What I didn't like: Many of the rock bands he spoke about are obscure to the point that the average music listener won't know who they are. When he doesn't like something, which happens frequently, he will rant about it for pages. He leaves no room for differing opinions and the negativity gets old after awhile. He spent a lot of time on hip hop and rap, music genres I don't personally classify with rock. Overall, it's an interesting read for any music lover. ** I received this as an advanced review ebook copy from Duke University Press, through NetGalley. **

  4. 5 out of 5

    Duke Press

    “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 “[P]ure joy. . . . [G]et on RARAF: There is plenty of fun strut and 4 a.m. deepness h “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 “[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 “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.”--Vanessa Bennett, Verbicide “Eddy’s eccentricity is not only refreshing and entertaining; it’s also valuable. . . . [S]omething compels Eddy to pay attention to music that no other music journalist can be bothered with. 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.”--Simon Reynolds, Bookforum “[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 “[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, Dangerous Minds “You can predict what Eddy will think of something, and you’ll often be wrong, but what he actually thinks will always make more sense, will fit Eddy’s written persona better, than what you had in mind. Eddy’s taste has a deep coherence that’s close to unique among rock critics. . . . [F]or an Eddy fan, it’s a kick getting to read about his favorite music in-depth in these pages, especially when he’s in its first flush of Chuck-love. Will to Power, the Lordz of Brooklyn, Banda Bahia, and White Wizzard are all here, because who else was going to write about them?” --Josh Langhoff, Los Angeles Review of Books

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I wanted to like this book; however, Eddy's writing is more than a bit too wink-wink-look-how-clever-and-contrarian-I-am for my taste. There are interesting pieces in here, certainly, but they are unfortunately eclipsed by the too-contrarian, faux-badass posturing of those such as his ill-advised 1994 essay on Nirvana (in which he confides to the reader that he joked about Kurt Cobain's death and how Nirvana would be a better band sans Cobain...BEFORE THE GUY ACTUALLY DIED, lol you guys!11, and I wanted to like this book; however, Eddy's writing is more than a bit too wink-wink-look-how-clever-and-contrarian-I-am for my taste. There are interesting pieces in here, certainly, but they are unfortunately eclipsed by the too-contrarian, faux-badass posturing of those such as his ill-advised 1994 essay on Nirvana (in which he confides to the reader that he joked about Kurt Cobain's death and how Nirvana would be a better band sans Cobain...BEFORE THE GUY ACTUALLY DIED, lol you guys!11, and also snipes that Cobain's death has made music criticism more sanctimonious). It seems as if he doesn't want to talk about the music so much as impress readers with just how many references to other musicians and bands he can sneak into a given review. His propensity to take off on bizarre tangents (see the sexist quips in reviews of albums by Mindy McCready and the Spice Girls) is, at times, incredibly distracting and unnecessary instead of being enlightening. Contrarianism can be interesting, but when it's primarily made up of snippy, oh so clever takedowns squeezed into run-on sentences, it tends to seem like a gimmick. Maybe I'm just not cool enough to get Chuck Eddy, or this book. But since I am one of those plebians who (GASP) likes both Erykah Badu and alt-country (Eddy seems to be a fan of neither) maybe that's not such a bad thing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    While standing in line at the library waiting for my Americano, I saw some sports and rock'n'roll (700s) books displayed prominently. Grabbed this one after passing on the Motorhead bio without noticing the author. Just thought it was a collection of different writers writings. Turned to the table of contents and saw the band Skinyard and thought cool, much cooler than Radiohead who are also in there. Flipped to page 12 and read the review of Skinyard's Skinyard from Creem Metal 1986. Yup, he ca While standing in line at the library waiting for my Americano, I saw some sports and rock'n'roll (700s) books displayed prominently. Grabbed this one after passing on the Motorhead bio without noticing the author. Just thought it was a collection of different writers writings. Turned to the table of contents and saw the band Skinyard and thought cool, much cooler than Radiohead who are also in there. Flipped to page 12 and read the review of Skinyard's Skinyard from Creem Metal 1986. Yup, he called it back in '86, we'd be watching the Seattle bands on MTV someday. After realizing who wrote the book, I checked it out and may read what he had to say about Radiohead.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    I'm interviewing Chuck Eddy, a famous music critic who lives in Austin, about this, his new book. The resulting interview is here http://sbutki.newsvine.com/_news/2011... I'm interviewing Chuck Eddy, a famous music critic who lives in Austin, about this, his new book. The resulting interview is here http://sbutki.newsvine.com/_news/2011...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Eberle

    A lot of my own musical leanings run contrary to Eddy's (he loves modern country and pop, two genres I almost universally despise), but I was never bored reading this, and it even made me want to give Def Leppard another chance. Very enjoyable read, would check out more of his reviews in the future. A lot of my own musical leanings run contrary to Eddy's (he loves modern country and pop, two genres I almost universally despise), but I was never bored reading this, and it even made me want to give Def Leppard another chance. Very enjoyable read, would check out more of his reviews in the future.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Hard to get into a book when you haven't heard of around 90% of the acts mentioned. Obviously, with 25+ years of music criticism experience, Eddy has the credentials, but for his reviews (many of which are from the mid-80s and are peppered with a lot of words that would make Mr. Roget smile), I just couldn't get interested in them. Hard to get into a book when you haven't heard of around 90% of the acts mentioned. Obviously, with 25+ years of music criticism experience, Eddy has the credentials, but for his reviews (many of which are from the mid-80s and are peppered with a lot of words that would make Mr. Roget smile), I just couldn't get interested in them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Phil Overeem

    Chuck Eddy's writing reminds the most serious rock and roll fan to watch his serious-taking tendencies carefully. Though some of these pieces are a little ludicrous in their arguments, and sometimes the more his life intrudes on the text, the more boring he is, those are acceptable flaws in one of the best music writers around. He may be the best writer on Eminem I have ever read. Chuck Eddy's writing reminds the most serious rock and roll fan to watch his serious-taking tendencies carefully. Though some of these pieces are a little ludicrous in their arguments, and sometimes the more his life intrudes on the text, the more boring he is, those are acceptable flaws in one of the best music writers around. He may be the best writer on Eminem I have ever read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Posa

  12. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  16. 4 out of 5

    Drew

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tony Barnett

  18. 5 out of 5

    Valeda

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  20. 4 out of 5

    KP

  21. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Brockman

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Webb

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lexus

  25. 4 out of 5

    shy_fx

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Wright

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mixtress Rae

  28. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  29. 5 out of 5

    John

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joe

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