Aerosmith: The Ultimate Illustrated History of The Boston Bad Boys
The history of Aerosmith is one ongoing, glorious mess, and Richard Bienstock’s Aerosmith: The Ultimate Illustrated History of The Boston Bad Boys grasps and exploits it with expertise. The book is not a continuous chronicle so much as a collage of memorabilia continuously interlarded with a loose and baggy narrative recounting a juggernaut rampage through corporate rock. Bienstock functions less as an author than an editor, enlisting smart and cranky writers to contribute separate reviews of each album. Opinions about the band’s greatest moments differ markedly, allowing for the praises of hit songs or overlooked gems, but never without opposition elsewhere. These contradictions allow the book to emerge full of surprises and food for thought. Bienstock candidly reveals how much of the best of Aerosmith was manufactured by production crews. He discusses the role of engineers and producers in shaping the Aerosmith sound, even outing the use of Lou Reed’s studio guitarists to play the “signature” solos. The book loses appeal as its account of the reckless classic years turns to the post-MTV, soap-operatic Aerosmith. While hardly an example of literary journalism, it still instructs and delights. –Brian Kubarycz
The Armageddon Chord
kNight Romance Publishing
Heavy metal, plus ancient mysteries, plus the apocalypse: it sounds like a cocktail made especially for my black little heart. Unfortunately, execution of this infernal concoction by musician-turned-author Jeremy Wagner left a lot to be desired. “The Armageddon Chord” is his debut novel about “god of guitar” Kirk Vaisto, living the kind of rock star dream life that would make the Eighties blush, and his accidental entanglement in a plot to begin Armageddon using an ancient song in Egyptian hieroglyphs supposedly written by Satan himself. We’ll get the few strengths out of the way first: Wagner has some talent for description (the three or four times he decides to use it), and some intriguing ideas on the relationship between human beings and the power of music. But these shining moments were few and far between, overshadowed by completely lifeless characters, literally no suspense and some of the worst pacing for a horror novel I’ve ever read. A hint of plot shows up every thirty pages or so, only to be immediately stabbed to death by irrelevant back-story and exposition that gives everything away and leaves the reader no reason to keep reading. Forget subtlety of storytelling, while you’re at it; the villain is, no joke, a disfigured Nazi, and the deux ex machina is literally a deux ex machina. It’s two-hundred-sixty pages of heavy metal masturbation that I hesitate to even label as horror. Or a story. –Megan Kennedy
College Humor. The Website. The Book.
Da Capo Press
You might imagine this book would make a good shitter read, but you'd be wrong. I'm actually embarrassed for anyone that would purchase it. Reason 1 is this. It's a free website, which I recently visited, and most of the same ideas that are in the book are still on the site. So if you pay 20 bones for it, you're an idiot. The second reason: "What if Star Wars characters, or Moses, or God, had a facebook page? How funny would that be?" These are ideas that you have while you're stoned and failing out of your communications degree at a community college. I don't know if it pisses me off more that someone actually had the gall to publish this, or that they made money doing it? There's more (Here's what kind of pets websites would make, or what you really look like drunk), but I don't want to bother you with it. Just do yourself a favor and don't spend $20 on shit. Look at it for free on the internet, like real college students. There's funnier porn bloopers out there. TRUST ME. AND, they're free. –Levi Rounds