Alan Cross Avoids The Sophomore Slump

Alan Cross Avoids The Sophomore Slump

Does the term "sophomore slump" apply to music audio book authors like it does to bands? Maybe not, but either way the The Alan Cross Guide to Alternative Rock Volume Two: The 80's (out now on HarperCollinsCanada) definitely avoids that tag.

The music that was made in the 80's is perhaps the most scrutinized (at least for the clothes and hair that came along with it), but also the most studied by today's up-and-coming artists. Anyone over the age of 25 has seen their fair share of "retro 80's" dance nights around town - most recycling the same hits each and every week. But, as Alan's latest audio book points out, that decade produced some of the best and most influential pop music of all time.

After thoroughly enjoying Volume One, I couldn't wait to sink my ears into Volume Two. The format remains the same: a four-CD set that covers the most influential new rock artists to come out of the 80's. Starting with synthesizer pioneers Kraftwerk (who are currently touring North America), and ending with industrial godfathers Skinny Puppy, Cross takes us on a wild ride through the origins of electro, post-punk, goth and indie rock via detailed biographies of those artists who helped define their genres.

Do you know who the band Feedback became before they grew to be one of the biggest rock bands ever? Did you know that Robert Smith brewed his own beer as a teen? Or that Dave Gahan was an infamous car thief in his teens? It's little nuggets like these alone that make Alan Cross a cool guy to listen to. Here's a shopping list of releases I've made after listening to this volume:

Joy Division - Substance
New Order - The Best of New Order
Kraftwerk - Autobahn and Trans-Europe Express
The Smiths - Singles

Volume 3 covers the 90's. I'm guessing Radiohead, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails and The Smashing Pumpkins. The remaining spots are up for grabs I think.

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