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33 1/3 Greatest Hits, Volume Two

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The second compendium of extracts from Continuum's acclaimed and successful 33 1/3 series. The second compendium of extracts from Continuum's acclaimed and successful 33 1/3 series.


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The second compendium of extracts from Continuum's acclaimed and successful 33 1/3 series. The second compendium of extracts from Continuum's acclaimed and successful 33 1/3 series.

30 review for 33 1/3 Greatest Hits, Volume Two

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    I purchased Vol Two of 33 1/3 Greatest Hits because I wanted to see what the writing was like before purchasing each of the volumes individually. 33 1/3 is a book series for which each book is dedicated to an rock-n-roll or popular music album and each book has a different author. In this book, the albums covered range from Elvis Costello's Armed Forces passing by Born in the USA by Springsteen and ending with Joni Mitchell's wonderful Court and Spark so there is a lot of variety. Let me just wr I purchased Vol Two of 33 1/3 Greatest Hits because I wanted to see what the writing was like before purchasing each of the volumes individually. 33 1/3 is a book series for which each book is dedicated to an rock-n-roll or popular music album and each book has a different author. In this book, the albums covered range from Elvis Costello's Armed Forces passing by Born in the USA by Springsteen and ending with Joni Mitchell's wonderful Court and Spark so there is a lot of variety. Let me just write a few words about each chapter. Armed Forces by David Barker I had no idea that Elvis Costello came out as a closet racist (alongside Eric Clapton no less) and this was a bit of a disappointment to learn. I also never fully appreciated all the gory lyrics on Armed Forces. The extract was interesting to read if somewhat disillusioning. I suppose that his work since then, particularly the brilliant collaboration a few years ago with The Roots might make up for the drunken racist comment. Or not. Murmur by J Nimi This was absolutely brilliant. I know almost nothing about how REM started having discovered them in college dorms and not really appreciating them fully until nearly a decade later. This extract was extremely insightful and made me want to read the full book. Grace by Daphne A Brooks Wow, I cried again thinking of the horrifying premature loss of Jeff Buckley while reading this. It also gave me an entirely new perspective on his live work which I didn't have before. Endtroducting... by Eliot Wilder This one was just so so. I am not a huge DJ Shadow fan although I am familiar with this album which I place more in the trip-hop category than the hip-hop category in which it is described. Interesting, but that's all. Kick Out The Jams by Don McLeese I remember reading about this album on one of the numerous “Best 100 albums of all time” on Google somewhere, but my own listen to it was inconclusive. Thanks to this extract, I learned the story of this mythic band with a meteoric rise and a spectacular fall - all within the span of a few weeks. Fortunately, I also learned about the songs and can much better appreciate the album now. I wonder if any of my older friends from D ever saw MC5 in concert because apparently it was epic. Very interesting! Low by Hugo Wilcken I really enjoyed this essay and learned a lot about Bowie. I had no idea, for example, that he had worked so closely with Iggy Pop following the collapse of The Stooges. Apparently, they were very intimate and wrote Pop’s The Idiot album together during which many of the fundamentals of Low were also created in Bowie’s brilliant mind. Did you know that China Girl was actually Iggy’s song (there is a really nice version on The Idiot that I almost prefer to the Bowie disco-y remake a decade or so later.) This was a fantastic extract. Born in the U.S.A. by Geoffrey Himes Some of the essays are kinds of slices of life and background, but some are deeper song by song analyses. This one focused on just the title song of the hugely successful eponymous album. It is an extraordinary analysis here. I recall not liking this song back when I was a kid because I thought it was over the top patriotic. I should have listened to the words because the song is very poignant and, as Geoffrey tells us, more about disillusion with the American dream than about the dream itself. I really appreciated how the author places this in the context of Bruce’s life at the time detailing his song-writing process. An absolute must read for rock n roll fans IMHO. Music from Big Pink by John Niven This was my least favorite piece as it was just about the author partying with the band and trying to bang their groupies. It got on my nerves and never bothered to mention the music. Pass. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Kim Cooper I am not a huge fan of Neutral Milk Hotel despite their omnipresence on the “Top 100 Albums” lists and this article only gave me a little more motivation to listen to them again. Unfortunately, I still feel like I am missing the inside joke. Paul’s Boutique by Dan LeRoy This article was more of a profile of the Beasties during their move to LA and their grappling with stardom (including stealing Anthony Keidis’s girlfriend apparently). Lots of drugs and sex. Not enough about the music, but still an interesting look inside the music business in the 80s. Doolittle by Ben Sisario This one I liked. I love Pixies and got to see them live a few years back (but sans Kim Deal :( and this article gave me even more appreciation for their songwriting and the crazy Black Francis lyrics. Enjoyable! There’s a Riot Goin’ On by Miles Marshall Lewis Another slide of life article but of more interest with a historical perspective. Again, not enough about the songs but interesting tidbits about Sly Stone. The Stone Roses by Alex Green This one was a fanboy homage. Just ok. I like the first three songs on the album but after than, they tend to blend together for me. As did this article. In Utero by Gillian G Gaar This was a good one. A friend of mine actually did a photo shoot with Nirvana for this album release (Kurt was in a green hair period.) I love Nirvana and this article helped me get some perspective on this album which by all accounts was sort of a love and hate letter from Kurt to his fans and his label. Highway 61 Revistited by Mark Policooti Fascinating article! I love Dylan and this article did a great job in placing 61 - one of Dylan’s best creations along with Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding. I am considering buying this full book. This one is less about the music though and more about Dylan during this period. Loveless by Mike McGonigal My Bloody Valentine is a hard band to approach (I prefer the shoe gaze of Brian Jones Massacre personally), but this article does a good job of describing the band and made me go back and listen to and even better appreciate Loveless and their other two albums. The Who Sell Out by John Dougan Another pass for me. I don’t really like this album and the article didn’t really help. More about the marketing than about the music. Bee Thousand by Marc Woodworth I really have tried liking Guided By Voices since, as several other albums mentioned here, Bee Thousand is nearly always cited on the Top 100 album lists. The article didn’t really help me that much, but I am still working on my Guided By Voices ear I suppose. Daydream Nation by Matthew Stearns Oh yes! I discovered this masterpiece of Sonic Youth not long ago (how did I miss it?!?) and researching it was what led me to 33 1/3 and this extract was my primary reason for buying this volume. Great article for a superb album! Court and Spark by Sean Nelson I do love both Blue and Court and spark from Joni Mitchell but this article was a bit bland to be honest. All in all an excellent survey of some awesome albums!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I had read a few of the installments of the 33 1/3 series prior to picking up this anthology. The first one I read was about DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing..." and it was fascinating. A true slice of insight into the creation of one of the best, most influential albums of all time. So with that fresh on my mind I was excited to read this. I have to admit that while picking through the different chapters upon my initial reading I was stoked and satisfied. The piece on My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless" I had read a few of the installments of the 33 1/3 series prior to picking up this anthology. The first one I read was about DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing..." and it was fascinating. A true slice of insight into the creation of one of the best, most influential albums of all time. So with that fresh on my mind I was excited to read this. I have to admit that while picking through the different chapters upon my initial reading I was stoked and satisfied. The piece on My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless" was insightful for sure. And it made me fall in love with that album again for the fortieth time. The piece on "Paul's Boutique" was equally insightful. But then there were so many pieces that were utter shit. I mean total garbage. So much so that it made Wm. Stephen Humphrey sound like Shakespeare. There were some pieces on albums/artists that I have previously had absolutely no interest in. One of these was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A.". I absolutely hate Springsteen. But this piece really made me think twice about the intent of the album. Something that I never really gave credence to because I just thought it was another top 40 hack job. But after reading it I was compelled by all of the mid-80's topical Vietnam Vet material. I guess I always thought it was some Jack and Diane schlock bullshit. So I actually learned something. But alas, I listened to that song again and can say with authority that I HATE THAT SONG. I am of the school that thinks there is no place in Rock n' Roll for horns. Period. You hear me Chan Marshall? I mean not even Eddie and the Cruisers could pull it off! Regardless, if you are a music geek this could provide some quick reading on the bus or the toilet. Or both!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    This thing is wildly uneven, which is an obvious risk you run with a collection of essays, but seriously, this thing is all over the place in terms of quality. It's not easy to write descriptively about art. Some people can do it, some can't. The people who can are somehow able to generate descriptions that themselves could stand alone as aesthetic objects. And then there are people who use Daydream Nation as an excuse to unleash their own horrible attempts at literary stream of consciousness on This thing is wildly uneven, which is an obvious risk you run with a collection of essays, but seriously, this thing is all over the place in terms of quality. It's not easy to write descriptively about art. Some people can do it, some can't. The people who can are somehow able to generate descriptions that themselves could stand alone as aesthetic objects. And then there are people who use Daydream Nation as an excuse to unleash their own horrible attempts at literary stream of consciousness on the world. Some of these essays are written by seasoned music writers and curators. Some are written by contextually-challenged fanboys, which explains the odd moment I had when I realized that I enjoyed the essay on Born in the U.S.A. more than the one on The Stone Roses. The first half of the book is actually pretty good. It goes downhill at "Doolittle" - excepting the Polizzotti chapter; that's a keeper.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Peter Holst

    Geeking out on 'story behind the albums' of some cult favorites or various rock eras. Geeking out on 'story behind the albums' of some cult favorites or various rock eras.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heyder

  6. 4 out of 5

    Terence Cawley

  7. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  8. 5 out of 5

    James

  9. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Smith

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

  11. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nick Coke

  13. 4 out of 5

    William

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jay Macke

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kithy

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Gardner

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mark Bernstein

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  21. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Sayer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  25. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Barnes

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daryn Shepherd

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marc

  29. 5 out of 5

    Xaanua

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jen

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