Kick Out the Jams: Jibes, Barbs, Tributes, and Rallying Cries from 35 Years of Music Writing

We rated this book:


As a music mega fan from way back, I was very excited to read Dave Marsh’s book Kick Out the Jams. This brilliant collection took me back to the days of reading Rolling Stone and SPIN in high school, geeking out over bands I already loved while also discovering bands I didn’t know much about. Marsh’s book had the same effect.

His takes are not always glorifying—his position on Bono, in particular, was a fascinating point of view on a figure who is typically revered. My love of Patty Griffin deepened reading Marsh’s essay on her pivotal 2002 album 1000 Kisses, and his intimate dissection of Kurt Cobain’s career and death, in the 1995 essay “Suicide Notes,” made me consider Cobain’s death in a broader context than I ever have. I remember a good friend in high school crying all day when the news of Cobain’s death was broadcast on a local radio station. His voice didn’t matter much to me at the time; I liked some songs but I wouldn’t have counted myself a fan. Marsh’s piece, and many others in the book, led me to understand how the musical landscape of America shapes us, even when we aren’t standing in the front row of some artists’ shows.

The whole book is sharp and funny and laser focused, and it asks its reader to be thoughtful and engaged with music as an art form rather than entertained by it simply as consumable content. I, for one, loved rising to that expectation. Whether you are a music geek like me or just an appreciator of music criticism, Kick Out the Jams should be on your nightstand and on your list of books to give as gifts. It is just that good.

Reviewed By:

Author Dave Marsh
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publish Date 15-Aug-2023
ISBN 9781982197162
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2023
Category Music & Movies