Charles Barca’s business, PlayLouder, a digital company designed to find new music talent, is being bought out. Colin, his first recruit, is behind the sale. The severance package—offered in return for staying out of the digital music and entertainment business for two years—is not enough to quell Barca’s disillusionment and disgust.
Barca is a guru in a violently changing business that’s been turned upside down and while the buyout scenario seems hard to believe (if he started the company, wouldn’t he own the majority of the stock?), Pinto’s detailed descriptions of how and what is happening in the music industry lend the book strong credibility. But it is Pinto’s blistering style that elevates the narrative. Intense, nasty, judgmental, sarcastic, depressed and sometimes just plain speechless, Barca speaks sentences and phrases that sandblast into each other making the reader almost want to duck and cover.
“I know them by heart, those nightlife vamps, hunting for a pint of fame here, a pound of status there; those tweet chique groupie types whose gibberish runs in fast forward, junkies of tweener pop stars and the Disney channel by age seven, suburban beauty pageants between nine and twelve, then drugs and uniforms and public toilet blow jobs, then college and amateur porn cams, followed by entry level jobs and hard partying on the back of a vulgar hotness and loud makeup and sophomoric life theories, culminating into some version or other of the American way of life and a high earning beta male they can blood suck into a castrating relationship of mortified sex and consumerism and debt and death.”
The story arc focuses on Barca trying to figure out what he wants in life now that he’s been cut loose. He wanders from Montreal, New York, Prague and finally Brazil, where he comes to the realization that he’s been self-absorbed and self-pitying. And while Barca’s negativity does get a bit wearying—a spoiled urban hotshot whining about problems most wish they had—intense introspection leads him to a more satisfying, optimistic sense of self at the book’s conclusion.
Reviewed by Joe DelPriore for IndieReader