I Love You Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle

Shawn O'Rourke

I Love You, Beth Cooper is an excellent addition to the growing list of nerd-inspired fiction.

I Love You Beth Cooper

Publisher: Ecco
ISBN: 0061236179
Author: Larry Doyle
Price: $19.95
Length: 255
Formats: Hardcover
US publication date: 2007-05
Author website

It has often been noted by nerd philosophers and bemused ex-geeks that those who were picked on and likewise alienated in high school will one day be cool when they get older. I do not know whether this phenomenon is a natural occurrence or the byproduct of a benevolent nerd god, but I have experienced it first hand and know it is true. The disaffected and smart ended up going to colleges where they become the interesting, cool people, and those that picked on them are left scratching their heads.

If you fall into the former category then I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle is the book for you. It's about a typical geek named Dennis Cooverman who uses his valedictorian speech as a platform to confess his love to the most popular girl in school, and chronicles the subsequent developments. This fun and entertaining book reads like the fantasy of one of those reformed geeks sitting in their dorm rooms, enjoying their new cool status, and wishing they could do it over again.

Larry Doyle's book begins with an important assumption that requires the reader to give the story a little benefit of the doubt. That Dennis the uber-smart valedictorian would actually have the nerve to use his speech to confess his love for a popular cheerleader while simultaneously insulting all those that wronged him before is something that some may find hard to swallow. That the clearly typical, yet still interesting, nerd will have the capabilities of successfully accomplishing this feat requires a modicum of suspension-of-disbelief. As a geek I know for a fact that one of my clan's clear distinguishing characteristics is that until the paradigm we live in affords us an opportunity to change, we will be unable to rise above our stations. That Dennis is able to overcome this seems inconsistent with the nerd milieu and the character himself as we begin to know him. Only upon accepting this leap will we discover just what happens when the king of the nerds tells the cheerleader that he has been coveting her from afar.

Following his declaration Dennis anticipates that everyone will respect him for his daring and edgy speech, but is sorely disappointed to learn that few care. Besides Rich, the movie-quoting, sexually confused best friend, and the principal, there is very little reaction until Beth Cooper and her psycho army boyfriend Kevin are introduced. Beth is embarrassed but flattered, and Kevin wants to destroy the young punk who is hitting on his woman. Before being manhandled by the army man, Dennis has time to awkwardly invite Beth to a party.

The remainder of the story rests on a two-part assumption that stems from the Beth character. The first part is that after graduation she will actually show up at the party hosted by Dennis and his erstwhile friend, and then that she will subsequently see through Dennis' nerdy exterior to the nice guy within. The first part of the assumption is handled when it is revealed that Beth and her cool friends decide to go to because they "thought it would be funny." The second leap is barely noticeable as the plot drives forward a hilarious series of events that include romance, car chases, and murder. There are cops, drinking, lesbian action, and all the other ingredients for a night of teenage debauchery, and as it progresses Dennis begins to see Beth as a real person and not just a puberty-inspired fantasy.

The story is a mixture of innovations and archetypes formed in the traditional high school setting where people are defined by categories as opposed to characteristics. There are several necessary cliches the writer utilizes as context to his story. This is not to say that Doyle is being unoriginal, it is simply that these archetypal accoutrements add a sense of authenticity to the book's tone. There are evil PE teachers, parents unsuccessfully trying to be cool, stupid jocks, and slutty rich girls. It's what Doyle does with these stereotypes that makes the book so much fun. Watching the two nerds and the three popular girls traverse the now meaningless social dynamic right before college and make them somewhat irrelevant is intriguing. The characters are typical manifestations of this world while simultaneously being original and interesting.

While the context of the book often seems like an adolescent fantasy, there are wonderful moments of reality that add substance to the story. One of the defining elements is a scene where Dennis watches Beth touch a liquor store employees package in exchange for giving them booze. This moment shatters many of the idealized images of Beth that Dennis had constructed over the years. While it looks like this will ultimately destroy Dennis obsession, his affections are later reaffirmed. This event resonates accurately with that moment in a teenager's life when they learn that love and the people they care for, aren't always going to fit into the ideas we create for them. It was this moment that made the book feel so real, much in the same way Beth became a real person in the eyes of Dennis. A break from the fun to offer a moment of savage reality is a necessary plot device for this type of story and Doyle executes it flawlessly.

I Love You, Beth Cooper is an excellent addition to growing list of nerd-inspired fiction. Anyone who enjoyed The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga, or King Dork by Frank Portman, will easily take to this one, too.


From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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The Best Dance Tracks of 2017

Photo: Murielle Victorine Scherre (Courtesy of Big Beat Press)

From the "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique to Stockholm Noir's brilliant string of darkly foreboding, electro-licked singles, here are ten selections that represent some of the more intriguing dance offerings of 2017.

In June of 2016, prolific producer Diplo lambasted the world of DJ's in an interview with Billboard, stating that EDM was dying. Coincidentally enough, the article's contents went viral and made their way into Vice Media's electronic music and culture channel Thump, which closed its doors after four years this summer amid company-wide layoffs. Months earlier, electronic music giant SFX Entertainment filed bankruptcy and reemerged as Lifestyle, Inc., shunning the term "EDM".

So here we are at the end of 2017, and the internet is still a flurry with articles declaring that Electronic Dance Music is rotting from the inside out and DJ culture is dying on the vine, devoured by corporate greed. That might all well be the case, but electronic music isn't disappearing into the night without a fight as witnessed by the endless parade of emerging artists on the scene, the rise of North America's first Electro Parade in Montréal, and the inaugural Electronic Music Awards in Los Angeles this past September.

For every insipid, automaton disc jockey-producer, there are innovative minds like Anna Lunoe, Four Tet, and the Black Madonna, whose eclectic, infectious sets display impeccable taste, a wealth of knowledge, and boundless creativity. Over the past few years, many underground artists have been thrust into the mainstream spotlight and lost the je ne sais quoi that made them unique. Regardless, there will always be new musicians, producers, singers, and visionaries to replace them, those who bring something novel to the table or tip a hat to their predecessors in a way that steps beyond homage and exhilarates as it did decades before.

As electronic music continues to evolve and its endless sub-genres continue to expand, so do fickle tastes, and preferences become more and more subjective with a seemingly endless list of artists to sift through. With so much music to digest, its no wonder that many artists remain under the radar. This list hopes to remedy that injustice and celebrate tracks both indie and mainstream. From the "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique to Stockholm Noir's brilliant string of darkly foreboding, electro-licked singles, here are ten selections that represent some of the more intriguing dance offerings of 2017.

10. Moullinex - “Work It Out (feat. Fritz Helder)”

Taken from Portuguese producer, DJ, and multi-instrumentalist Luis Clara Gomes' third album Hypersex, "Work It Out" like all of its surrounding companions is a self-proclaimed, "collective love letter to club culture, and a celebration of love, inclusion and difference." Dance music has always seemingly been a safe haven for "misfits" standing on the edge of the mainstream, and while EDM manufactured sheen might have taken the piss out of the scene, Hypersex still revels in that defiant, yet warm and inviting attitude.

Like a cheeky homage to Rick James and the late, great High Priest of Pop, Prince, this delectably filthy, sexually charged track with its nasty, funk-drenched bass line, couldn't have found a more flawless messenger than former Azari & III member Fritz Helder. As the radiant, gender-fluid artist sings, "you better work your shit out", this album highlight becomes an anthem for all those who refuse to bow down to BS. Without any accompanying visuals, the track is electro-funk perfection, but the video, with its ruby-red, penile glitter canon, kicks the whole thing up a notch.

9. Touch Sensitive - “Veronica”

The neon-streaked days of roller rinks and turtlenecks, leg warmers and popped polo collars have come and gone, but you wouldn't think so listening to Michael "Touch Sensitive" Di Francesco's dazzling debut Visions. The Sydney-based DJ/producer's long-awaited LP and its lead single "Lay Down", which shot to the top of the Hype Machine charts, are as retro-gazing as they are distinctly modern, with nods to everything from nu disco to slo-mo house.

Featuring a sample lifted from 90s DJ and producer Paul Johnson's "So Much (So Much Mix)," the New Jack-kissed "Veronica" owns the dance floor. While the conversational interplay between the sexed-up couple is anything but profound, there is no denying its charms, however laughably awkward. While not everything on Visions is as instantly arresting, it is a testament to Di Francesco's talents that everything old sounds so damn fresh again.

8. Gourmet - “Delicious”

Neither Gourmet's defiantly eccentric, nine-track debut Cashmere, nor its subsequent singles, "There You Go" or "Yellow" gave any indication that the South African purveyor of "spaghetti pop" would drop one of the year's sassiest club tracks, but there you have it. The Cape Town-based artist, part of oil-slick, independent label 1991's diminutive roster, flagrantly disregards expectation on his latest outing, channeling the Scissor Sisters at their most gloriously bitchy best, Ratchet-era Shamir, and the shimmering dance-pop of UK singer-producer Joe Flory, aka Amateur Best.

With an amusingly detached delivery that rivals Ben Stein's droning roll call in Ferris Bueller's Day Off , he sings "I just want to dance, and fuck, and fly, and try, and fail, and try again…hold up," against a squelchy bass line and stabbing synths. When the percussive noise of what sounds like a triangle dinner bell appears within the mix, one can't help but think that Gourmet is simply winking at his audience, as if to say, "dinner is served."

7. Pouvoir Magique - “Chalawan”

Like a psychoactive ayahuasca brew, the intoxicating "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique's LP Disparition, is an exhilarating trip into unfamiliar territory. Formed in November of 2011, "Magic Power" is the musical project of Clément Vincent and Bertrand Cerruti, who over the years, have cleverly merged several millennia of songs from around the world with 21st-century beats and widescreen electro textures. Lest ye be worried, this is anything but Deep Forest.

In the spring of 2013, Pouvoir Magique co-founded the "Mawimbi" collective, a project designed to unite African musical heritage with contemporary soundscapes, and released two EPs. Within days of launching their label Musiques de Sphères, the duo's studio was burglarized and a hard drive with six years of painstakingly curated material had vanished. After tracking down demos they shared with friends before their final stages of completion, Clément and Bertrand reconstructed an album of 12 tracks.

Unfinished though they might be, each song is a marvelous thing to behold. Their stunning 2016 single "Eclipse," with its cinematic video, might have been one of the most immediate songs on the record, but it's the pulsing "Chalawan," with its guttural howls, fluttering flute-like passages, and driving, hypnotic beats that truly mesmerizes.

6. Purple Disco Machine - “Body Funk” & “Devil In Me” (TIE)

Whenever a bevy of guest artists appears on a debut record, it's often best to approach the project with caution. 85% of the time, the collaborative partners either overshadow the proceedings or detract from the vision of the musician whose name is emblazoned across the top of the LP. There are, however, pleasant exceptions to the rule and Tino Piontek's Soulmatic is one of the year's most delightfully cohesive offerings. The Dresden-born Deep Funk innovator, aka Purple Disco Machine, has risen to international status since 2009, releasing one spectacular track and remix after another. It should go without saying that this long-awaited collection, featuring everyone from Kool Keith to Faithless and Boris D'lugosch, is ripe with memorable highlights.

The saucy, soaring "Mistress" shines a spotlight on the stellar pipes of "UK soul hurricane" Hannah Williams. While it might be a crowning moment within the set, its the strutting discofied "Body Funk", and the album's first single, "Devil In Me", that linger long after the record has stopped spinning. The former track with its camptastic fusion of '80s Sylvester gone 1940s military march, and the latter anthem, a soulful stunner that samples the 1968 Stax hit "Private Number", and features the vocal talents of Duane Harden and Joe Killington, feels like an unearthed classic. Without a doubt, the German DJ's debut is one of the best dance records of the year.

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