Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life review

After a few mentions, I picked up Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life by John Sellers a while back. I finished it this weekend.

It’s basically a snarky guy’s indie rock story. Joy Division, Smiths, Pavement, Guided by Voices, etc. Bad music growing up blah blah blah Smiths speaking to me blah blah blah crying on the floor listening to Joy Division blah blah blah holy crap Pavement! blah blah blah holy crap Guided by Voices! blah blah blah.

There are reasons I’d like this book: it has “indie rock” in the (sub)title (I like indie rock), he makes lists (I make lists), the guy likes drinking beer and is from the Midwest (I like drinking beer and I grew up in the borderline town of Pittsburgh), he likes using footnotes[1]. I can like rambling, self-conscious, self-referential writing (I love Dave Eggers).

And this wasn’t a bad read, it’s just that it wasn’t very engaging. The footnotes were, at times, entertaining, but others rambling. It didn’t really seem to have a plot and the climax of the story seems to be writing a letter. I probably would have forgiven some of this if I’d been more invested in the bands he was mentioning, but: Joy Division (like them about as much as ever other white, college-educated indie rocker likes them), Smiths (ditto), Pavement (never really got into them), Guided By Voices (listen to them sometimes). I mean, that’s not to say I’m not into some of staples of indie rock: Sebadoh’s Bakesale was my first indie rock CD; Superchunk was the first show I saw once I moved to Boston—good show. Mac et al went on past midnight because Mac was across town at the then Fleet Center seeing the Boss earlier in the night; I considered flying to Chicago for the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary weekend for more than 10 minutes more or less just to see Seam; I love just about everything Eric Bachmann does (Archers of Loaf, Crooked Fingers, solo). It’s just that I’m into a different set of bands.

Also, naming the book after an album by a band that’s hardly mentioned in the book? Doesn’t really win you points with me.

If you’re into those big four bands I mentioned, you might overlook some of the downsides of this book.

[1] I like using footnotes.

2 responses to “Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life review”

  1. […] Perfect from Now On (buy insound) I already had the albums on either side of this one, their first major label album. This one seems to be trying to toe the line between pop and experimentation, sometimes to good effect. I know the general option is that There’s Nothing Wrong with Love is the album to get, but I’d actually start with Keep it Like a Secret. This is a good third BtS album. (Yes, it’s purchase was influenced in part by this.) […]

  2. […] In the end, I felt like this is what Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life (my review here) was trying to be: scattered thoughts in a way that the reader can (and wants to) still follow, clever asides, interesting writing about music but also really about something else as well. Now, if instead of talking about the merits of the KISS solo albums, Klosterman was talking about the long term impact of the Archers of Loaf, Pedro the Lion, or Sufjan Stevens, I’d like this book even more. […]

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