Pop music rivalries still incite excitement like nothing else — just look at the way Twitter melted down over last year’s Drake/Meek Mill beef, or this year’s Kanye West/Wiz Khalifa kerfuffle. Obviously, arrogant artists are inevitably bound to clash with each other, if only over personality differences — but as Steven Hyden explains at length in his new book Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me, music rivalries are never just about music, or even the people involved. They’re about what those artists represent, and how fans interpret their music. Hyden’s book takes an exhaustive look at such rivalries — from Beatles/Rolling Stones to Taylor Swift/Kanye West — and demonstrates what they tell us about the meaning of culture, identity, life.
As an introduction, Hyden (a music critic who has written for publications including Grantland and The A.V. Club, and recently founded his own podcast, Celebration Rock) provided EW with a playlist of songs related to the book, complete with written explanations by Hyden. Some of them are by the artists discussed in the book, some of them are about those artists, but they all enhance and explain the themes of the book.
Check out the playlist below. Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me is out now.