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Book Review

Book Cover

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
And 87 Other Serious Answers to Questions in Songs (Hardback)


Author: James Ball
Publisher: Boxtree
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 075226 652 7
Publication Date: 01 November 2018

In the run up to Christmas, publishers like to put out stocking fillers, the sort of book you get that makes you smile, even though you're pretty sure you’re never going to want to know what a particular author's top fifty records, films or shows are, as you already have your own personal list.

Should I Stay or Should I Go? (2018. 183 pages), written by James Ball initially seemed to be a book which fell into this category. The tag line is ‘and 87 other serious answers to questions in songs’.

Actually, the premise of the book is both more interesting and a lot more amusing than initial impressions would suggest.

Ball is a multi-award winning journalist, who has worked in various forms of media and knows a lot about music.

The central conceit of the book is that each of the song titles or most famous phases are taken as if it were a serious proposition, often in the form of an academic paper. Ball then proceeds to explain in pseudo-scientific terms why the premise is either true or false, often accompanied with a diagram.

This description does not do the book justice as all of the discussions are put forward with the tongue very firmly positioned in the cheek.

Whether you like the book or not will come down to your acceptance of the silly, albeit funny concept and whether the type of humour included is to your tastes. Personally, I found the mixture of humour and fact both fascinating and amusing.

Given its relatively low price, it really does turn out to be the perfect stocking filler for the music lover in your life.


Charles Packer

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