Former Village Voice music editor Chuck Eddy's strongest critical faculty is calling out empty gestures in good taste. He thinks Radiohead lost its way after "Creep" and has better things to say about Ratt, Toby Keith, and Dorrough than anything Elvis Costello has recorded since at least 1981. This new compendium of pieces by Eddy, now based in Austin, 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. His 1986 BAM interview with Metallica sets the stage for their onscreen unraveling in Some Kind of Monster. Whether his impulses are always spot-on is debatable (Public Enemy is the "black Big Black"?), but there's never any doubting Eddy's passion for music that routinely gets dismissed out of hand (if not ignored altogether) in the critical realm. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some Shrapnel and Spoonie Gee to catch up on. (Chuck Eddy flexes his Sharpie and reads at Barnes & Noble at the Arboretum Saturday, Sept. 24, 2pm.)
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