Meet Me in the Bathroom

Though popular media has been quick to put Meet Me in the Bathroom in the same company as Please Kill Me, Leg McNeil’s classic oral history of 1970s punk, Lizzy Goodman’s look at the more recent rock scene of New York City is not on the same plane. For one, its cast of characters includes too many sideline reporters who place themselves in the same elevated air as their subjects (The Strokes, The Rapture, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc.), whereas McNeil’s volume revels in all the sordid decadence of its primary players (Lou Reed’s fascination with chicks resembling David Cassidy, anyone?). Meet Me in the Bathroom might also have benefited from editing, trimming back its encyclopedic length and focusing much less on those who are obsessed with what’s cool or not. And, while it may be obvious that The Strokes held the city’s rich musical mantle at the time, no case is solidly made that the hipster phenoms have affected the arts in the same historical manner as their antecedents, The Velvet Underground.