Absolutely not. As a book on music per se, it is terrible. Byrne has absolutely has no clue of the origins of classical music in liturgy, the development of harmony, etc, although he is pompous as heck about knowing it all. He reduces classical music, ballet and opera to status tokens for robber capitalists while 'hip hop' artists who blast their music out the car windows are said to be generous "sharing" their worthy music. Africans can be spiritual, yet Bach who wrote the most spiritual music ever, and inscribed each piece with "only for the glory of God", can't be, and is presented as essentially a buffoon. For Byrne, classical music is synonymous with the symphony, which is a minor part of it all. Solo artists, people who play classical music for pleasure, minimum wage listeners to NPR, etc, aren't considered. In short, Byrne sets himself up as the beginning and end of all that's worthy in music. The narcissism and lack of scholarship in "How Music Works" is appalling. This had me running back to Taruskin for a real music history, and both John Butt and John Eliot Gardiner for another look at Bach. Why did David Byrne wear a big suit in Talking Heads? To match his BIG HEAD.
A serious book on music.
Clear, articulate, accurate.
It was a good description of Mr Byrne's personal history with the recording business.
Not recommended. The book should be retitled so people actually looking for a general book on music won't be misled.
This was simply the most entertaining, engaging audiobook I've listened to in years. It's not just for MTV fans, or just for the demographic that currently watches it in droves. Personally, I never enjoyed watching MTV nearly as much as I enjoyed reading this book about it. If you are even slightly interested in music, popular culture, television, the entertainment industry, or musicians themselves, you will probably love this book too.
It's a remarkable story, of course. This scraggly little video jukebox of a cable channel literally changed television, music, motion pictures and popular culture. More than once. But the key to making this so much more than just a factual recreation of a game-changing cable channel's history lies in a single, brilliant idea: they don't just tell the story, but let the participants themselves tell it in their own words. Culling choice nuggets from literally hundreds of interviews with rock stars,video directors, executives and the scores of people who surround them, the authors then edit and compile pieces of those interviews into a tightly woven narrative. They provide some backstory and context to each part of the music channel's history with concise chapter introductions, and let the rest of the story unfold through the words of the people who created that history. It's messy, honest and human, and the perspectives of the different parties are often contradictory. Just like the real world. Unlike "The Real World," the story-lines are always interesting,
Seriously -- if this sounds even a little intriguing to you, get this book. It's like being invited to the largest MTV reunion ever, full of rock stars and directors and executives, and getting to listen in on each of them as they tell the story of their involvement. It's pure entertainment, flawlessly executed.