Rocking My Life Away - Writing about Music and Other Matters

Anthony DeCurtis

Published by Duke Univ
ISBN 10: 082232184X / ISBN 13: 9780822321842
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Rocking My Life Away
represents nearly twenty years of writing by one of the premier critics of popular music in America today. In these pieces from Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and other publications, Anthony DeCurtis reveals his ongoing engagement with rock & roll as artistic forum, source of personal inspiration, and compelling site of cultural struggle. Including significant new work—liner notes commissioned for the Phil Spector box set and a spirited discussion with Peter Buck of R.E.M. about rock criticism, for example—DeCurtis also ventures with insight and power beyond the world of rock & roll. A joint profile of the political writers Neil Sheehan and Taylor Branch and provocative looks at the work of novelists Don DeLillo and T. Coraghessan Boyle round out this eclectic collection.

Review: Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis's collection of articles and essays often feels more like a scrapbook than a book, as it includes a number of well-written, but hardly deathless, record reviews and profiles. DeCurtis is on firmest ground in reprinting essays on late-'80s and early-'90s rock and rap controversies, although current updates on these ongoing cultural battles would have made welcome inclusions. A previously unpublished interview with R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck is at the heart of Rocking My Life Away, however, and it makes the volume worth buying. In it, longtime friends DeCurtis and Buck engage in a lengthy discussion that takes in everything from R.E.M.'s efforts to stay musically fresh in the face of immense success to the idea of remaining in love with new sounds into one's middle age to the aesthetic and political failures of Forrest Gump. The piece also serves as a welcome rejoinder to fans who question the validity of rock criticism as a whole, with Buck heartily praising the thought-provoking and entertaining nature of the best of the form. Visits with the Stones, Prince, and U2 are also eye-opening, if less surprising than the author's debriefing of Buck. --Rickey Wright

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Title: Rocking My Life Away - Writing about Music ...
Publisher: Duke Univ
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