"Tim Riley’s Fever is a fascinating look at the ways rock has shaped how we think about sexual identity in America. Riley presents serious academic points within a rock critic analysis of icons that even a layperson would appreciate. Gender is only the starting off point for Riley though: Fever also touches upon many of the great albums of the past thirty years-from the Beatles to Bruce Springsteen-and Riley uses this framework to bounce off astute, incisive writing. Whether he’s dissecting 'Tears of a Clown,' or calling Michael Jackson a 'product of pop gone crazy,' Riley is always witty, acerbic, and smart."
-Charles R. Cross
In this new book, Fever, he goes beyond his unique fusion of technical musical knowledge and stunningly perceptive emotional exegesis of lyrics to a wider-angled social vision that focuses in good part on the glorious complexities-societal as well as musical-of the "girl-group" sound, from the Chantels and the Exciters to Chrissie Hynde.
Mr. Riley is at his very best when he comes to what Spector and Veronica Bennett (later Veronica Spector) achieved with the Ronettes. Indeed, he writes one of the best single passages I’ve ever read about one of the ultimate girl-group songs: a passage that focuses on the breathtaking wordless opening of "Be My Baby," with its dangerous heart-arrhythmia of cathartic beats: the ones Mr. Riley transliterates as "Boom! ... boom-boom BLAM!"
- Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer