ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – May 26th, 2006 – “Ten Things We Love This Week”
3. ‘I HATE MYSELF AND I WANT TO DIE,’ by Tom Reynolds
This roundup of 52 of the most maudlin songs ever penned, from Manilow to Metallica, will move you to tears of despair — or shrieks of helpless laughter.
PLAYBOY – “There must be a section of Tom Reynolds’s record collection that wards off disc jockeys like a cross repels vampires. The writer/TV producer’s steep descent into depressing pop music, I Hate Myself and Want to Die is a humorous song-by-song analysis of the most egregious examples of audio torture. Its title may sound like a hackneyed VH1 special, but Reynolds steps above pointless banter by demonstrating some serious scholarship, exposing gut-wrenching stories behind these songs like the telling fact that the writers of “Without You,” covered by Mariah Carey, both hung themselves….Overall, his picks are solid and stick to chart-topping tragedies, ranging from the Billie Holiday lynching tune “Strange Fruit” (“Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze”) to a prescient analysis of Johnny Cash’s superior cover of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt.” Reynolds also manages to sneak in some unknown misfires, like his number one pick “The Christmas Shoes,” a Christian adult contemporary Christmas song (already depressing) about poor kids buying slippers for their terminally ill mom to wear in heaven (kill me already).
NEW MUSIC EXPRESS – “Full of premium trivia and pinpoint pomposity pricking, Reynolds has made comedy gold from the full base metal of misery.”
WHAT’S ON IN LONDON – “A sustained and superbly observed insight into some of rock music’s most memorable follies, it is an absolute must-read. Brilliant.”
UNCUT Magazine – “Tom Reynolds, an American TV producer who manages to combine the wit of Dave Barry with the musical tastes of a bath towel, takes a simple concept and pulls great big inappropriate belly laughs from it….Genius.”
Anne Stephenson, THE REPUBLIC – “To write a book like this, you need a working knowledge of music recorded over the past 70 years and an astute and merciless sense of humor. Tom Reynolds is our man.”.
Rob Lester, EDGE MAGAZINE – “What makes this book so worthwhile and more than just cathartic (oh, it is that!) is the humor. Reynolds’ language is colorful and clever and his greatest skills are sarcasm and funny, funny exaggeration for effect… Smug? Absolutely. But it’s mostly a hoot.”
PUCKNATION – “I Hate Myself and Want to Die, is one of the most brilliant looks at music and popular culture I’ve read in a long time. This collection of essays rips through music with ludicrous comments, humor and sarcasm. Reynolds’ knack for timing and wit allows him to tear seemlessly through these songs, with great results….An instant classic and perfect bathroom reading.”
ROCKNWORLD – “Don’tcha just love discovering a book that is too funny to be read in public, that makes eating or drinking while reading it a sure way to choke & die? What makes the subject matter of this book even better is its importance & truth…..His treatments of Evanescence’s entry on the list & Metallica are so funny that I wish I could quote the entire chapters here.”