YOUR FA­VORITE BAND IS KILLING ME

Exclaim! - - SHOTS - BY STEVEN HYDEN

If you’re a mu­sic fan — or, re­ally, a fan of any­thing — you know that part of lov­ing some­thing is hat­ing its op­po­site. This is the guid­ing premise of Steven Hyden’s ex­cel­lent Your Fa­vorite Band Is Killing Me: What Pop Mu­sic Ri­val­ries Re­veal About the Mean­ing of Life, which uses ri­val­ries as a spring­board to talk about how we use pop­u­lar mu­sic to de­fine our­selves for and against cer­tain groups and ideas.

He swings for the fences with ev­ery chap­ter, piv­ot­ing from early ’90s award shows to po­lit­i­cal commentary. “Prince vs. Michael Jack­son” morphs into a trea­tise on high school cliques, while “Jimi Hen­drix vs. Eric Clap­ton” be­comes a med­i­ta­tion on death, dy­ing and whether it’s bet­ter to burn out or fade away.

With ar­gu­ments this broad and, let’s face it, im­pos­si­ble to prove, some­times Hyden loses his foot­ing. How­ever, he makes up for his free-form struc­ture and gen­eral tin foil hat-ness with hum­ble en­thu­si­asm, mak­ing for the­o­ries that are rel­e­vant and fas­ci­nat­ing to con­sider, even when they don’t ring true. Be­sides, even if you’re wrong, isn’t the real fun in ar­gu­ing? ERIC NOBLE-MARKS

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