PositiveThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)The short form is Brown’s strong suit so these post-biographies (or postcard biographies: chapters are divided into even smaller fragments) are mosaics, like a portrait made up of many photos ... The benefits of the approach are manifold: the short attention span is rewarded and much of the boring stuff may be omitted ... If Ma’am Darling was a royal biography for those who didn’t want to read one, then this intermittently brilliant commonplace book will certainly succeed on that same level for people exhibiting only the mildest symptoms of Beatlemania.
PanThe Wall Street JournalIn an electrifying scene, Mr. Frantz describes how his future lead singer read his first verse—\'I can’t seem to face up to the facts\'—and remarked that he wanted the bridge in another language to emphasize the psychotic mindset. Ms. Weymouth, a francophone, gets on that, as Mr. Frantz writes the other verses: boom! \'Psycho Killer\' First go! The reader settles back for more descriptions of such alchemy, but the book will not deliver ... In Remain in Love, Mr. Frantz’s tone is resolutely unpoetic, but an editor has let him down ... Remain in Love is possibly the most uxorious rock ’n’ roll memoir ever written ... I look forward to Ms. Weymouth’s book ... That’s the book we might want to read in 2020.
RaveThe Wall Street Journal...excellent... [Doyle\'s] book is a welcome piece of historically informed criticism that situates the Kinks in their proper milieu—postwar, working-class North London—and their cultural moment: the British music explosion of the 1960s ... For a book that doesn’t once mention Brexit, The Kinks: Songs of the Semi-Detached demonstrates precisely how Britain arrived at the referendum of June 2016.
PanThe Wall Street JournalThough Mr. Bego claims to be a rock and roll \'purist\' his book has songs attached to the wrong album, songs attributed to the wrong songwriter and lyricists misidentified as songwriters...horrible typos...swaths of reviews quoted as if to fill a word count. Language seems alien to Mr. Bego...and his English is tortured ... It made me long for the sober detail of Philip Norman’s Sir Elton (2000).
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalGiven that we know everything that’s going to happen in Mr. John’s excellent memoir, Me, simply by virtue of having been alive, it’s a testament to almost completely unmentioned ghostwriter Alexis Petridis...that it remains so readable ... it doesn’t disappoint, mining a rich seam of salacious and self-deprecating anecdote, heady scandal, personal struggle and ultimate redemption, all delivered with a total lack of self-consciousness (he’s quite happy to tell us about surreptitiously relieving himself into an adult diaper onstage in 2017).
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal[Coleman] has the knack of summing up a singer with an epigram that makes the listener thrill in agreement ... the fact that the book offers no overarching theory of anything besides Mr. Coleman’s taste and obsessions comes as a relief ... The comparison of asynchronous voices with similar intent of delivery and tonal quality proves to be a genuinely exciting approach. It transcends the moment and aims at the essential: This kind of glimpse is the Holy Greil (Marcus) of rock writing ... But Voices spends too much time clearing its throat, and much of the author’s connective material—whether it’s a monologue on his middle-class British accent or a lengthy Eddie Izzard-ish digression on how post-nuclear-holocaust ants might approach the playing of rock ’n’ roll records (seven pages on that)—feels like the workshopping of comedy routines ... But Mr. Coleman is right about so much ... every reader and listener is rewarded.
MixedThe Wall Street JournalSiren Song functions simultaneously as a memoir and a canny history of the music business from the frontier days to rock’s triumph as Big Business and its corporate subjugation to Big Brother. There are no surprises as to when Mr. Stein felt more at home (\'when music came before business\'), but there are heroes and villains throughout ... The worst thing about Siren Song—except that everyone from Manchester to Newcastle will be annoyed to learn that Sheffield is \'about as far north as you get before England becomes Scotland\'—may be the title’s pun. Mr. Stein always had a weakness for them, though.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalRobust, wry, gritty and wise to the vicissitudes of a career in rock ’n’ roll, it is just what the reader wants, marred only occasionally by stiff dialogue ... add to the mix a steel-trap memory and a muddled childhood—featuring two fathers, numerous gangsters, alcoholism and some diamond smuggling—and you have the makings of a Dickensian bildungsroman ... Here is by far the fullest first-person account of the early electric tours of [Bob] Dylan ... Occasionally one has the impression that Mr. Robertson is tiptoeing around awkward issues, always to the detriment of the book ... Generosity suits him, and whatever the truth, Testimony is a graceful epitaph.?
MixedThe Wall Street JournalThe editorial decision to quote as few lyrics as possible results in some awkward paraphrase; a month-by-month structure requires lurching segues; and underpinning it all are the lists, the endless ratings ... Occasionally, though, illuminating wormholes do open, offering a glimpse of another dimension and a different sort of book ... I wish that, instead of approaching his task as presenting evidence for a questionable case, Mr. Hepworth had more fully explored his theme of nostalgia.