Dennisb's Reviews > Rock On: An Office Power Ballad

Rock On by Dan Kennedy
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's review
Feb 11, 09

Read in February, 2009

** spoiler alert ** It is a very funny book, although most of the laughs I got from reading it didn’t come so much from Kennedy’s humorous observations and biting turns of phrase, but rather from a distinct sense of, “Yeah, I’ve been there, too.”

Kennedy chronicles a series of vignettes and anecdotes in this memoir of his year and a half working as a middle manager in a high-profile record company right as the record industry was decidedly heading south. The title is apt, as the book reads very much like a Top-40 “power ballad,” each chapter a verse charting a transformation from “I cannot believe I’m here,” to “I cannot believe I’m here,” (big change) all the while his awkwardness and unease with his situation resurfacing like a lead guitarist’s trademark chords reverberating throughout.

Just like the ballad from the title, there is even a kind of “bridge” in the middle depicting his spiritual revival in the throngs of an Iggy Pop concert. In this chapter, Kennedy’s passion for music... good, rebellious, hard-edged rock (not “pop”) music really comes out. For that brief span of about two hours, he regains his sense of “awe” at the truly great performers, a sharp relief (pun intended) from the packaging and marketing of media idols he copes with in his 9 to 5.

Eventually, of course, the writing on the wall comes to pass, and in a few chaotic, cataclysmic days, he begins gain wisdom from his experiences not only about the nature of his brush with the "industry," but with business as a whole, and even life itself.

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