I adore this book. I loved carrying around a book with THIS title in public. I think I've managed to sell three extra copies of the book* all by my own pimping of it around the area, and hopefully this review will pimp out some more. Anyone who is amused by bad songs (especially stuff like Dave Barry's Book Of Bad Songs) will REALLY love this one. Especially if you are like me and REALLY HATE Teen Death Songs (see Dave Barry), because the really bad ones are covered here as well.
Tom Reynolds's writing style is fabulously funny, and a third of the way through reading the book, I was all, "I would like, marry this dude." He researches the history behind each horrendous hit and then analyzes it's shittiness.
But really, what I should do in this review is quote. So I shall!
"True, Tommy dies for his Laura, but, let's face it, if he had survived and won the race, he'd be unbearable. Tommy getting scorched on the track saved Laura from a future with a reckless idiot who thinks every one of his hair-brained ideas is a sure-fire winner. Nine years into their doomed marriage, Laura, seven months pregnant with their third child, would be rolling her eyes as Tommy, bankrupt form his third business venture, stands in the backyard by the barbecue regaling the neighbors with the story of his race track victory for the hundred and forty-third time."
"Teen Angel" is saddled with the most egregious plot of the TCC songs. It's difficult to get past the implausibility that any girl would jump in front of a speeding train to retrieve a class ring....There's only one logical explanation: The Teen Angel was murdered."
"The music sluggishly kicks into a medium-slow tempo while these soothsayers tell us about the year 3535 when the first sign of future shock is revealed: Everyone has to take a pill in order to think and converse. Christ, I do that now; it's called Prozac. Now we have to wait another 1,010 years for something else to happen... All of this is somehow lost on Zager and Evans as they've now carried us into the year 6565. Horrors, now babies are being conceived in the "bottom of a long glass tube." What's next? Music will be composed on computers?"
"Fogelberg opens "Same Old Lang Syne" in a grocery store (note: This is a bad location to set any song) where he spies an old flame doing some last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve. "I stole behind her in the frozen foods," he sings (note: This is an even worse location), before touching her on the sleeve. Recognizing him, she goes to hug him and ends up dumping her purse out on the floor, to which "we laughed until we cried..." (note: No woman thinks spilling everything out of her purse is funny)."
"The whole tortured backstory to "Without You" makes it a risky song for anyone to sing because its subtext is as large as the Queen Mary. It's a heartbreaking composition, especially when you consider how its composers both left this life bankrupt and humiliated. All of this is lost on Mariah, who basically uses the song for skeet shooting."
"Just once I'd love to hear Bruce sing about somebody getting plastered on Cristal and driving a Bentley into a swimming pool."
"One of the charms of country music is how unapologetic the songs are. They freely use the same themes and stock characters over and over again, the very ones that are used to lampoon the music. With "Women's Prison" we have all the standard country-song archetypes, including a honky tonk, a darlin' who's cheatin', gunplay, mama, and, of course, prison. No guy in a country song ever gets caught by his wife at the office bending his secretary over the Xerox machine."
Don't you want this book? You know you do.
Four stars from me.
* which is to say, upon flashing it to people and making them flip through it, two people said they would buy three copies, but I cannot say for sure whether or not they have bought it as yet.