I got a comment on an article once that said "Fuck Chuck Klosterman and his bullshit intellectualism, Cook is the new crown prince of music journalism" and who am I to disagree with SeductiveBarry's astute assessment? Ever since then, though, I've had a weird rivalry with Chuck Klosterman that, much like the romances exacted and protracted in this book, is completely one sided with myself as the hopeless loser, so outclassed that my opponent is likely unaware there is even a contest going on. r/>
I read this book in spurts over the last 6 months, basically a chapter or two every time I found myself at the bookstore for an extended period of time which has allowed me to slowly digest what is wrong with it:
1) For a critic, he has rather pedestrian tastes in music. His insight is honest and dead-on, but his subject matter generally seems undeserving of the pedestal he erects.
2) This book is near wholesale rip-off of Ross McElwee's rather singular film Sherman's March, which came out 20 years before this book. Both follow through on a preposterous, dubious quest (Klosterman visits the sites of rock star deaths, McElwee retraces Sherman's march to Atlanta) only to use it as a vehicle for visiting old girlfriends and then sitting in hotel rooms reminiscing about them. But that is excusable, in that anyone with a soul and any creative talent wants to do their own Sherman's March after seeing it. McElwee is more insightful, but Klosterman is funnier and ultimately more human in the end.
What's right about it is more important:
1) He is funny as hell, up there with David Sedaris and John Waters as the funniest modern writers talking about their art/selves.
2) This book makes me want to write more, and write more about writing, and then write more about that unafraid of how meta one can go before one finally implodes. I wanted to tear through the ending so I could write this. but, most of all
3) He can project his heart with pinpoint accuracy on the reader. You fall in love with these woman that you feel you fail to know very well in the same way he fails to know them. He can make a Beckett scene out of being stoned in a Montana hotel laundromat and classical literature out of Def Lepperd . Read More...