From the archive
Chuck Klosterman writes in the foreword to Chuck Eddy’s Rock and Roll, “[T]he music he likes makes him impossible to understand. If you want to understand Chuck Eddy for real, you need to focus on the music he hates.” But Klosterman is wrong […] AC/DC and the Pet Shop Boys inspire wonderfully readable features, professionally polished while still recognizably Eddyan, hectoring and badgering. Eddy accuses the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant of singing worse than Miami freestylers Company B: “I think you wanna give us just enough pleasure to get by.” Eddy goes on:
Tennant basically acts like he doesn’t know what the hell I’m talking about … I’m starting to like the Pet Shop Boys so much that I almost don’t know what the hell I’m talking about myself.
Besides making me want to search out back issues of Request magazine, this giddy back-and-forth leaves me amazed that Eddy eked out a living at music writing for so long. Not because his writing is bad, but because it’s too good. Most current rock critics get paid peanuts-to-nothing for their writing, but when it’s not awash in petulant insults, our vast internet ocean of gatekeeperless freedom reads mostly like auditions for The Real Thing, or straightlaced ad copy, or studious analyses of Important Themes In Arcade Fire Albums. Exceptions exist, particularly across blogs that invite conversation. (Eddy’s ’87 critique of Forced Exposure reads like half of a Tumblr spat.) But holy cow — especially if you’re not getting paid for a review, why not write like you’ve got nothing to lose, and then have the courage to invite dissent? At his paid and unpaid best, that’s what Chuck Eddy has done for 25 years. He don’t give a damn what other people think. What do you think about that?