Dave Thompson is the Andy Rooney of music criticism.
Bushy eyebrows aside, Thompson puts his stake in the ground early on in his latest manifesto, I Hate New Music, with the outrageous claim that rock music stopped being good sometime around 1978. Seriously. Like the aforementioned 60 Minutes alum Rooney rambling on about not getting as much coffee in the can as he did in the good old days, Thompson rant dismisses everyone from The Clash to Nirvana, choosing rather to dwell on bands like Boston and Grand Funk Railroad.
Ridiculous claim aside (Seriously? No stellar records in the past 30 years?), the book is a fantastic mix of sharp humor, encyclopedic music knowledge and mouth-breathing classic rock fan devotion (as a confession, I think 98% of classic rock is crap, so Thompson and I will likely not be swapping mix CDs anytime soon).
Thompson, who has written over 100 books on music and pop culture, covers everything from the Disco-ization of rock (infecting every rock icon from Kiss to the Rolling Stones) to the blending of Opera and rock (itâ€™s not just for Queen and The Who any more).
In the hands of just about anyone other than Thompson, I Hate New Music would have been little more than a bad joke â€“ an outlandish thesis that would bore as quickly as the Boston Box Set. But the veteran rock scribe manages to make it work and comes off with a 200-plus page love letter to classic rock that even a modern music fan can get behind.
I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto / 2008 Backbeat / 250 Pages / http://www.ihatenewmusic.com/