Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me

What Pop Music Rivalries Reveal About the Meaning of Life


By Steven Hyden

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Steven Hyden explores nineteen music rivalries and what they say about life in this "highly entertaining" book (Rolling Stone) perfect for every passionate music fan.

Beatles vs. Stones. Biggie vs. Tupac. Kanye vs. Taylor. Who do you choose? And what does that say about you? Actually — what do these endlessly argued-about pop music rivalries say about us?

Music opinions bring out passionate debate in people, and Steven Hyden knows that firsthand. Each chapter in Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me focuses on a pop music rivalry, from the classic to the very recent, and draws connections to the larger forces surrounding the pairing.

Through Hendrix vs. Clapton, Hyden explores burning out and fading away, while his take on Miley vs. Sinead gives readers a glimpse into the perennial battle between old and young. Funny and accessible, Hyden's writing combines cultural criticism, personal anecdotes, and music history — and just may prompt you to give your least favorite band another chance.


The general fact is that the most effective way of utilizing human energy is through an organized rivalry, which by specialization and social control is, at the same time, organized cooperation.

—Charles Horton Cooley, Human
Nature and the Social Order,



However unreal it may seem, we are connected, you and I, we are on the same curve…just on opposite ends.

—Supervillain Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson)
to superhero David Dunn (Bruce Willis) in
M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, 2000



Well, I hate you with a passion, baby, yeah, you know I do (but call me).

—Monks, “I Hate You,” 1966


Who ya got?

Beatles or Stones? Biggie or Tupac? Prince or Michael Jackson? Pearl Jam or Nirvana? Who ya got and why? More important: What does your choice say about you? Enough about you—what do these endlessly argued-about pop-music rivalries say about us?

The media has long stood accused of creating conflict where it didn’t previously exist purely for the sake of manufacturing melodrama. This is undoubtedly true, and I angrily denounce any soulless moron who says otherwise. (See what I just did there?) But what about the battles that music fans create on their own? I’m talking about the arguments that take place every day in bars, at parties, and during endless road trips when the radio is broken and the opinions are turned way up.

Some of these debates never seem to die. Was Lynyrd Skynyrd right to go after Neil Young in “Sweet Home Alabama”? Was Kanye West justified in crashing Taylor Swift’s speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards? Was Jimi Hendrix a better guitar player than Eric Clapton? Is Toby Keith a better American than the Dixie Chicks? Who would’ve won a boxing match between Axl Rose and Vince Neil?

Music is not like sports—artists don’t have to “defeat” each other in order to gain supremacy. And yet over the course of the sixty or so years that constitute the modern pop era, we as audience members have consistently pitted vaguely similar (though also discernibly not similar) artists against each other in order to determine who’s best.

I’m not interested in settling these arguments—because I don’t think they can be settled and because that wouldn’t be any fun. What I am interested in is exploring why music fans are drawn to these dichotomies, how the dynamics of our most heated musical rivalries stem from larger conversations in the culture (then and now), and what we can learn about ourselves by whom we side with.

Also, I want to understand how in the hell anybody could’ve thought that Mötley Crüe was better than Guns N’ Roses. (It can’t all be blamed on the blizzard of cocaine blowing through ’80s Hollywood.)

Let’s be real: musical rivalries are never totally about music. They’re about sympathizing with a particular worldview represented by an artist over a different worldview represented by an “opposing” artist. You are what you love—and also what you choose not to love. If you pick Hendrix over Clapton, you probably believe that the “burnout” option for rock stars is ultimately more honorable than the “fade away” option. (Or maybe you prefer LSD to Michelob.) If you like Pavement more than the Smashing Pumpkins, you likely find corporate-fueled ’90s “alternative” rock to be highly ridiculous. (Or maybe you prefer California to the Midwest.) If you side with Christina (sorry: Xtina) Aguilera over Britney Spears, you may feel that young girls should emulate a seminaked woman who can sing like Etta James over a seminaked woman who can sing like an oversexed ATM. (Or maybe you’re prejudiced against cyborgs.)

This might sound like harmless stuff, but our musical shoot-outs frequently turn into full-on civil wars. (If you don’t believe me, see what happens when you play Metallica’s “Black Album” for a room full of borderline psychopaths waiting for Megadeth to come onstage.) Musical rivalries don’t matter until they matter to you personally. When that happens, it’s as vital as protecting your own sense of identity.

It’s been said that history is the study of wars and elections—the geography of human dissension, in other words. I think it’s time that this paradigm is applied to pop-music history. So pick a side, pump up the volume, and let’s dive in.

Chapter 1

Don’t Believe the Truth

(Oasis vs. Blur)

Around the time I started writing this book, I conducted a radical musical experiment: I listened to a Damon Albarn album from front to back.

I realize this won’t seem radical to most people. But trust me: in personal terms, it was nothing less than glasnost. For more than twenty years, I consciously avoided the group that Albarn is most famous for, Blur. I also abstained from another high-profile Albarn project, the so-called virtual band Gorillaz. I definitely did not give another Albarn side project—the Good, the Bad & the Queen—the time of day, and I suspected that Albarn launched a fourth group, Rocket Juice & the Moon, with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers just to troll me. Sweet Jesus—Damon Albarn and Flea on the same record? Was Anthony Kiedis busy waxing his chest that day?

Avoiding all that music wasn’t easy. How many bands was this guy going to force me to hate? I had to admire Albarn’s eclecticism, even as I found all the extra spite it produced exhausting.

My resolve to block Damon Albarn out of my life occasionally weakened but never broke. When Albarn wrote the opera Dr Dee in 2011, or when he collaborated with Malian musicians in 2013 and released those sessions on the Maison des Jeunes LP, I was secretly intrigued but publicly rolled my eyes. Finally, for Everyday Robots—Albarn’s first official solo album, released in 2014—I demanded change inside my own heart. I roared self-inflicted self-righteousness into the mirror. “Tear down this imaginary Albarn-deflecting wall!” I declared.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I put so much effort into loathing an artist who is probably one of the most accomplished rock musicians of his generation. The reasoning behind my Albarn boycott is predictable and admittedly sort of dumb: Oasis was my favorite Britpop band in high school. And back then, hating Blur, Oasis’s biggest rival, was a requirement for “true” Oasis fans. This perception was due in large part to Oasis’s primary songwriter and guitarist, Noel Gallagher, who once publicly declared his wish that Albarn and his Blur bandmate Alex James catch AIDS and die. (Incredibly, I chose to hate the person who didn’t say that.) So I’ve loathed Damon Albarn for all this time because I’ve stubbornly refused to relinquish an opinion I formed when I was seventeen.

What was interesting about Oasis vs. Blur (if you were an American rock fan in the mid-’90s) is that the rivalry absolutely did not translate in the States. Oasis was way more famous in America—“Wonderwall” was a genuine stateside alterna-era hit and remains a rock radio standard. If the average American knows Blur at all, it’s for the sports-stadium anthem “Song 2,” or, as we Yankees refer to it, “the woo-hoo song.” In Britain, however, it was different. Over there, Blur was more popular, at least for a while.

The animus between the bands originally started in August of 1995 because Blur decided to bump up the release of its single “Country House” to coincide with the release of Oasis’s single “Roll with It.” This was a direct challenge by a big shot to an upstart: Blur was the biggest band in England at the time, but Oasis was on the rise. It set up a highly publicized, head-to-head war for the top of the British pop charts, which Blur won in the short term (“Country House” outsold “Roll with It” by fifty thousand units) but Oasis crushed in the long run (by the following summer, Oasis had played two consecutive nights at Knebworth for more than three hundred thousand people).

As an American, deciding to care about this was akin to suddenly getting really worked up about the minutiae of local government bureaucracy in Kingston upon Hull. Personal relevance had to be constructed. So that’s what I did: I transformed Oasis vs. Blur into a vast cathedral of made-up meaning.

Loving Oasis and hating Blur was a way for me to work out my aesthetic preferences at a formative age. In my mind, Oasis was associated with words such as rock, intoxicated, testicles, and cool, whereas Blur was pop, academic, elitist, narrow, and clever. Again, I’m not defending these reductive descriptions but rather asking how musical biases become ingrained at any early age and over time become “truth.” What mattered to me is that I perceived these bands as having a binary relationship that had great symbolic meaning to me (and likely to other people who cared about this tête-à-tête). I was using these bands to help me figure out who I was and what I stood for (and also who I wasn’t and what I didn’t stand for). To this day, whenever I hear a Blur fan talk about why Blur is great, I understand it only as a critique of Oasis and, by extension, a particular way of looking at the world. It’s like when a cat person tries to explain why cats are superior pets—in some way, it’s really about why dogs are inferior. And sorry, but I can’t hear that, because dogs are and always will be better. Yes, Blur is cleaner and doesn’t drink out of the toilet. But I’ll always have a weakness for shaggy, sloppy, and lovably aggressive creatures who craft spectacular songs about smoking cigarettes and living forever.

I tend to do this with pop rivalries. It’s just how my brain works. I have pop-rivalry OCD—every Oasis I see must be paired with a Blur or else I claw my face off.

Over time, I took my pro-Oasis/anti-Blur stance to its logical extreme by not even listening to the music I’d dedicated my life to despising and, paradoxically, I allowed this know-nothingness to form the basis of my opinion of that (unheard) music. When Blur’s catalog was reissued in 2012 and music critics lined up to declare the greatness of records such as The Great Escape and Parklife, I was intensely annoyed that albums I had never played in their entirety were being so grossly overrated. Not that I actually read those reviews, mind you, as this would have also violated my draconian anti-Albarn ordinance. But I could only imagine what those writers were probably saying.

Those albums must be terrible, I thought. Because Oasis’s 1994 debut, Definitely Maybe, is on my personal top five greatest albums of all time list and my love of that record requires believing that anything related to Blur unequivocally sucks. My logic makes as much sense as the lyrics to Oasis’s “Shakermaker” (“I’ve been driving in my car / With my friend Mr. Soft / Mr. Clean and Mr. Ben / Are living in my loft”), but it speaks to me with equal clarity and persuasiveness.

This is where I need to state explicitly that, intellectually speaking, I know I’m being unreasonable. I’ll go even further and acknowledge my indefensible lunacy.

Enough is enough, I decided. Even if after sampling Everyday Robots I still found that Albarn wasn’t my thing, surely informed indifference is better than benign neglect. Right?


In 1902, a sociologist named Charles Horton Cooley devised a concept called the looking-glass self, which posits that a person’s sense of identity is shaped by interaction with social groups and the ways in which the individual thinks he or she is perceived by others. Cooley believed this process involved three steps:

• You imagine how you appear to other people.

• You imagine the judgment of other people.

• You base your feelings about yourself on how you think you appear to other people.

This might seem intuitive in the twenty-first century, but at the time it broke people’s brains. Cooley’s theory challenged the idea that the self is innate, arguing instead that we are who we think other people think we are. Cooley separated those “other people” into primary and secondary social groups. The primary group is composed of people with whom you are intimately involved, including your immediate family and close friends. This is the most important group in terms of influencing the person you are and will become. The secondary group is broader, and, unlike the primary group, it’s something you belong to on a voluntary and often transient basis. Secondary groups might include people at your school or your place of work.

Cooley’s book predates the emergence of modern pop music as a cultural phenomenon. Unless Mr. Cooley comes back from the grave to inform me otherwise, I’m going to suggest that Oasis fans and Blur fans (and punks and metalheads and Deadheads and Parrotheads and Juggalos) are examples of secondary groups.

Rivalries certainly occur among primary groups, such as the nineteenth-century blood feud between the Hatfields and McCoys and the seemingly endless battle for the White House between the Bush and Clinton dynasties. (Rivalries are also common within families, but that’s a topic for another book, or perhaps for therapy.) But more often rivalries are seen among secondary groups—the participants have chosen to identify with an institution or group, and in some way they are measuring themselves against an alternative that represents an opposing viewpoint.

In terms of national identity, this goes back at least as far as Athens (enlightened democracy) vs. Sparta (militaristic fascism), though it likely began the moment one group of prehistoric ape-men splintered off from the main group of prehistoric ape-men in order to secure superior cave lodging.

For Americans, the sexiest geopolitical rivalry was the twentieth-century battle between the United States and the USSR, which inspired a series of lousy but watchable Sylvester Stallone films in the ’80s and a few truly terrifying TV movies about nuclear apocalypse (such as 1983’s The Day After, which was viewed by more than one hundred million people—it’s still the highest-rated TV movie ever). But the most lasting rivalry between American landmasses is the one between the northern United States (really the northeastern United States) and the southern United States (really Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, all of Louisiana except New Orleans, and the whitest, most strip-mally regions of Florida). Although the North and South fought a war 150 years ago in order to determine which region’s values were going to wind up guiding this nation forward, North vs. South has subsequently played out largely in our elections and pop culture. Just as it seems that this country will never elect a president who doesn’t pay lip service to protecting the sanctity of church on Sunday and guns in every suburban home, we will likely never reach a point where media isn’t consolidated in Manhattan and Los Angeles and run by intensely myopic people who won’t stop producing programs about annoying twentysomethings trying to make it in Manhattan and Los Angeles.

The conversation around sports routinely (some might say excessively) involves investing rivalries between athletes and teams with a cultural significance that goes beyond wins and losses. Sometimes this significance is indisputable. Jesse Owens traveling to Berlin in 1936 and winning four gold medals as Adolf Hitler looked on was not only the ultimate “in your face” moment against the most detestable opponent imaginable, it also resoundingly disproved the myth of white supremacy. A matchup between Loyola University Chicago and Mississippi State in the second round of the 1963 NCAA college basketball tournament was later dubbed the Game of Change because Loyola won with a lineup that included four black starters, which was instrumental in desegregating the sport. In the early ’70s, the historic first boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier was widely viewed as a battle between liberal and conservative ideologies. The antiwar side cheered for Ali, and supporters of US involvement in Vietnam backed Frazier. It didn’t matter that Frazier was apolitical—Ali’s detractors turned Frazier into a right-wing hero because he was the guy who was supposed to dismantle Ali’s face on their behalf.

Most sports rivalries are regional and therefore don’t bear that kind of political weight, but in their own way they matter just as much because they fester for decades and get passed down from generation to generation. When I first started caring about sports, in the ’80s, the preeminent rivalry was Lakers vs. Celtics, which was practically a national rivalry because the teams are separated by a whole country. I loved the Lakers—I was in grade school, and grade-schoolers like bright, shiny things that move very fast.

Growing up in Wisconsin, I also cared about the Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears, the NFL’s oldest rivalry. As I write this, the Bears somehow hold a narrow edge in victories over the Packers, despite the Packers’ general dominance over the Bears for the past few decades. The matchup has been so lopsided during my lifetime that I barely dislike the Bears now—they are rarely good at the same time that the Packers are good. (The Minnesota Vikings have generally been the strongest, most hateable foe in the NFC North, especially during the Dennis Green era, in the ’90s.)

But Packers vs. Bears will always be the most significant rivalry for Wisconsinites because no matter how ineffectual the Bears are, our loathing of Chicagoans will remain undiluted. In Wisconsin we call them FIBs—short for “fucking Illinois bastards”—and they are distinguished by their pushiness on our roadways and overall unpleasantness in our stores and gas stations as they venture up north to wash off their Chicago grime in our beautiful lakes. The only way to get revenge on these rude visitors is by proxy. We can’t physically assault the FIBs, because we’ve been bred to be passive middle-American folk. But the Packers can demolish the Bears at Lambeau Field every year.

Please note that I’m not talking about any actual, real-life citizens of Chicago here. I know numerous residents of the Windy City, and they’re all kind, lovely people. I would be disturbed and outraged if any of them suffered a beatdown, and I don’t know any of them to be grimy. I am referring to Chicagoans strictly in terms of an archetype that exists in tandem with my regional identity as a native upper midwesterner. Hating the Bears keeps me from becoming spiritually unmoored. It forms the very fabric of who I am.

The subtext of the Packers vs. Bears rivalry is that one of this country’s great metropolitan areas is frequently humiliated on national television by a community that has one twenty-sixth of its population. It’s the same dynamic as North vs. South—it’s city vs. country, powerful vs. marginalized, “normal” fat people vs. the morbidly obese. I ride with the morbidly obese until the end of time.

The difference between rivalries in sports and rivalries in music is that there are no winners in music. Not that people haven’t tried to determine winners—sales charts and awards shows and rock-critic polls exist to “prove” such things. In hip-hop, the battle has long been a vital tradition distinguishing the true MC from a field of suckers. But even the most hard-core MC battle is essentially a figure-skating competition—it’s never decided primarily by the players themselves. An outside judge or the audience must decide who is best.

When Loyola beat Mississippi State with a mostly black lineup, even the most ardent redneck could see the fallacy of suggesting that black players shouldn’t be allowed on the same court as white players. But there is no arena in which Oasis definitively “defeated” Blur or vice versa. Music rivalries are almost all projection, and what’s being projected are our own desires, hopes, ideologies, and shortcomings. Sports have guided our society toward answers to questions we couldn’t or wouldn’t address elsewhere; music and art put us on a more personal journey, allowing us to work through issues that can only be resolved in our own hearts.


If I had to pinpoint the moment when I went from being an Oasis fan to absorbing the band into my psyche, it was probably when I saw the cover of 1994’s “Cigarettes and Alcohol” single. My favorite part of following Oasis in high school was tracking down imports, which would arrive at my local store every couple of months. I had to be patient and occasionally pay exorbitant prices, but my loyalty was always rewarded. Between 1994 and ’96, Oasis turned out a steady stream of nonalbum tracks that were often better than what ended up on the records. If you liked Oasis as much as I did, you probably spent a similar amount of time ranking your personal favorites. (The number one Oasis B side has to be “Acquiesce,” though if I wrote this on a different day I might say “Fade Away.”)

People who only knew the Oasis songs that were played on MTV were missing something important. Not only was the music on those singles phenomenal, but the iconography was indelible. With the possible exception of the image of Marc Bolan blasting out a glammed-up Chuck Berry riff on the cover of T. Rex’s Electric Warrior, nothing comes close to personifying what I love about music better than the sleeve of “Cigarettes and Alcohol.” We see Noel and Liam Gallagher slugging Champagne and smoking cigarettes on a bed flanked by two beautiful women in a resplendent London hotel room. Are they about to have sex? Are they already too wasted to have sex? As a kid who had never been wasted or had sex, I had no idea. But I stared at that cover endlessly and fantasized about the possibilities.

Oasis came into my life just a few months after my heart was broken by Kurt Cobain’s suicide. I was being raised on bands that looked upon rock stardom as a burden and pleasure as an empty alternative to the reality of pain. Oasis had a different idea. They were reveling in the glory of rock-and-roll stupidity. They were making a persuasive case for life. I wanted that, and Oasis made me think it could be mine. What Oasis promised was self-actualization. When Liam Gallagher sang, “Tonight I’m a rock-and-roll star,” he subsequently became an actual rock-and-roll star. How could I not hang on Oasis’s every word after that?


I didn’t have to listen to Blur or read Blur’s record reviews, because any defense of Blur was already countered perfectly by Noel Gallagher, one of the best interview subjects in rock history. Two hundred years from now, high school students will study Noel Gallagher interviews for their rhetorical brilliance the way kids today look at the Lincoln-Douglas debates from the 1850s. Noel is, was, and always will be my guy, and I’ve trusted in him to show me the way.

Based on the Noel Gallagher interviews I’ve read or watched on video, people who prefer Blur to Oasis feel that way for two reasons:

(1) Blur Made More Good Albums Than Oasis Did

Again, I’m in no position to judge the quality of Blur’s discography, but I suspect this is correct. Blur seems like the more consistent band. I just don’t think it matters.

Whenever Noel Gallagher talks about Oasis albums, he always sets the first two LPs, Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory, apart from the other records as obvious highlights. (Oasis famously went off the rails with its coke- and hubris-fueled third album, Be Here Now, which is remembered as “the Aristocrats” joke of ’90s rock—it’s really long, it’s really tedious, and the payoff is underwhelming.) Gallagher never pretends that whatever he’s currently promoting will ever touch “Live Forever” or “Champagne Supernova.” And he seems perfectly comfortable in his own skin when he does this. Gallagher knows Oasis had its moment, and nobody can take it away from him.

Damon Albarn, on the other hand, seems like a guy who’s deeply invested in his own continued relevance. He is constantly seeking out new collaborators and attempting new music styles. Albarn probably believes that whatever record he’s presently making will be his best. Gallagher, meanwhile, reminds me of an observation that rock critic Greil Marcus once made about Rod Stewart: “If it was necessary to become a great artist in order to get the money to spend and the star to fuck, well, Rod was willing.” Noel was willing, too. Once he achieved success, he didn’t seem especially motivated to keep on achieving it. He was content to lounge comfortably on his laurels.


  • "Highly entertaining.... Whatever side you take in these endless debates, Hyden's a dude worth arguing with."—Rolling Stone
  • "Consistently insightful and funny...Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me connects the dots of music history in new and intriguing ways. Hyden reminds us why we invest so much in these competitions, how they help shape identity for so many of us, while never losing sight of how silly they can be."—Alan Light, New York Times Book Review
  • "Fluent, frequently hilarious, ultimately persuasive.... [Hyden's] as entertaining on Eric Clapton vs. Jimi Hendrix (chapter 7) as he is on Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West (chapter 5).... Hyden [is] a critic worth reading."—Chris Klimek, Washington Post
  • "Funny, informative and essential reading if you ever again intend to argue loudly with a friend about music."—Seth Meyers
  • "Steven Hyden didn't come to settle your rock arguments--just to make them louder. In this brilliant book, he pours a little kerosene on some of music's most heated feuds--some legendary, some forgotten, one involving Limp Bizkit. Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me is not only hilarious but surprisingly moving--Hyden captures the secret emotional details of why these stories matter, and how picking sides can accidentally tell you way too much about who you are."—Rob Sheffield, author of Love is a Mix Tape
  • "Every serious argument about music is ultimately a non-musical manifesto--it's 10 percent about aesthetics, 40 percent about how the respective arguers view the world, and 50 percent about how those arguers view themselves. Steven Hyden lives inside this ratio and argues with himself, which means it's impossible to win. But that's what makes YOUR FAVORITE BAND IS KILLING ME so fascinating: The title is real. He's funny, but he's not joking."—Chuck Klosterman, author of Fargo Rock City and Killing Yourself to Live
  • "If Nick Hornby's writing had a love child with Chuck Klosterman's, the result would be Hyden's clever prose.... By combining music journalism and pop psychology with some of his own life lessons, Hyden has created a literary mix tape that will be music to pop-culture junkies and the music-obsessed."—Publishers Weekly
  • "Even the most knowledgeable music fan will learn from Hyden's musings, and anyone with a sense of humor will find his prose laugh-out-loud funny.... An outstanding piece of pop culture writing for readers who consider music an important part of their lives."—Craig L. Shufelt, Library Journal (starred review)
  • "Hyden is an effortless writer, and he draws clever connections between artists and cultural phenomena spanning decades.... Illuminating and often hilarious.... Hyden is wise enough to know that declaring a winner is pointless (and so the book never does), but smart enough to discuss everything that might come with 'winning.'"—Jeremy Gordon, Pitchfork
  • "Rich with unexpected tangents and entertaining insights, the book reveals Hyden's well-established talent for pumping out some of the most thoughtful writing on some of the least-cool artists (at least in critical corners)."—Zach Schonfeld, Newsweek
  • "Steven Hyden is one of the most original, thoughtful pop culture writers out there."—Bill Simmons, author of The Book of Basketball
  • "I learned a lot, I laughed a lot, I dug out my old Oasis CDs. Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me is so authoritative, informative, compelling, and stone-cold hilarious that I am hereby initiating a beef with Steven Hyden."—Dave Holmes, author of Party of One
  • "Funny, smart and will provide fodder for the next time you get together with your music-loving friends."—Deborah Dundas, Toronto Star
  • "A funny book that is also full of ideas -- especially about how people relate to culture and how meaning changes as we age."—Scott Timberg, Salon
  • "Wildly readable... No matter who you might be on any rock-aware cultural spectrum, this is great fun. But it's a bit more than just that, too."—Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
  • "With sharp, nail-on-the-head observations, Steven Hyden dives into the minutiae of what we all know is the most important conflict of modern times but are too embarrassed to admit: Who is the cooler band? Who is the better band? Why are they better/cooler? Are they better because they are cooler, or vice versa? Have I blown your mind yet? Then just imagine what this book will do."—Adam Scott, star of Parks and Recreation and Party Down and co-host of U Talkin' U2 to Me?
  • "Steven Hyden works a tangent like a barroom storyteller.... Funny and insightful."—Ken Szymanski, Volume One
  • "Hyden masterfully weaves together disparate narratives to reveal the themes we embrace when we pick sides in pop music."—Josh O'Kane, The Globe and Mail
  • "For my money, the best current music writer out there is Steven Hyden. His profile and feature writing joins the keen observation of a journalist with the true-believer mentality of a rock fan."—Aarik Danielsen, Columbia Daily Tribune
  • "Well-researched, hilariously written and solidly conceptualized, Your Favorite Band is Killing Me is a winding crash course through the last 50 years of feuding pop stars and the people who back them, with a narrator who can seamlessly reconcile and separate his own journey with that of the public view. Hyden's well-honed vision has forged a book that covers a broad berth of events and ideas with hyper-specific examples to uncover the relatable human truths in the middle."—Matt Bobkin, National Post
  • "Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me is entertaining, hilarious, and thought provoking. It uses feuds in music and pop culture to explain something about all of us, our behavior, and our strange need for these spats between show business people. I had a great time reliving some musical arguments of my youth, but it also made me realize just how weird the 90s were--really, really weird."—Craig Finn of The Hold Steady
  • "A pop-culture journey to self-realization that makes some intriguing stops."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "One of the various ways the book seems to be connecting with readers ... is Hyden's ability to take these debates and use them to find understanding, not just about the culture but also his own life."—Shane Nyman, Appleton Post Crescent
  • "An entertaining, informative look at rivalries in pop music."—Michael Schaub, Men's Journal

On Sale
May 17, 2016
Page Count
304 pages

Steven Hyden

About the Author

Steven Hyden is the author of This Isn’t Happening, Twilight of the GodsYour Favorite Band Is Killing Me, and (with Steve Gorman) Hard to Handle. His writing has appeared in the New York Times MagazineWashington PostBillboardPitchforkRolling StoneGrantlandThe A.V. ClubSlate, and Salon. He is currently the cultural critic at UPROXX. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two children.

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