The author of the critically acclaimed Your Favorite Band is Killing Me offers an eye-opening exploration of the state of classic rock, its past and future, the impact it has had, and what its loss would mean to an industry, a culture, and a way of life.
In a book that’s structured like a double LP — 19 'tracks,' or chapters, apportioned over four 'sides,' Hyden dissects the traditions and punctures the myths of rock fandom (and rock criticism) with a specificity that can only be called love. He’s like a kinder, married-with-children version of Rob, the record-shop proprietor who narrates Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. Or rather, Rob wishes he’d grown up to be Steven Hyden ... The crumbling of the monoculture means that you probably won’t ever have to squint to make out any of these artists from the other side of a football stadium, but that’s a good thing. Hyden’s warm and witty scholarship is, too.
In what passes for structure, Hyden undertakes a hero’s journey, à la Joseph Campbell, through classic rock’s foundational myths ... Hyden’s classic rock education is exhaustive. He’s listened to every bootleg, checked in at concerts by most every living god ... It’s only rock ’n’ roll, nonbelievers will say, but we who worship the gods will know better.
It’s affectionate and wryly self-interrogating, as Hyden explores why he connected with this music so much and why it still works for him ... If all of this sounds like yet another case of 'aging white guy waxes nostalgic while complaining that his interests, once mainstream, have been displaced,' Hyden’s way ahead of you. Unlike virtually every other kind of writing of this nature that I’ve read, his book never points fingers, cries foul, or blames the youth. Hyden acknowledges that he was born and raised at a particular time, in a particular place, with a particular shade of skin, and if anything, Twilight of the Gods reveals how those variables—which none of us have any control over—shape our cultural interests, which in turn define our sense of selves.