The 33 1/3 book series is dedicated to highlighting the personal, cultural, and historical impact of your favourite pop music albums. Each book in the series is devoted to a different album, written by a different writer whose life has been changed by the music.
In his 33 1/3 book on Kanye West‘s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kirk Walker Graves describes the vocoder outro in West’s song ‘Runaway’:
It sounds like a suicidal android at open mic night. It sounds like a pilot reading the beatitudes through a broken intercom to the passengers of a doomed flight. It sounds like a dial-up connection confessing its love to a payphone. It sounds like a warning message from the near future sent by a race of bodiless digital posthumans. It sounds like the feeling of having something vitally important to say and not having language to say it. It sounds like a hangover swearing off alcohol. It sounds like a long-in-the-tooth iPad lecturing a class of drones on empathy. It sounds like the failure of logic in a moment of distilled emotion. It sounds like a lonely person’s digitally scrambled sense of himself in a culture of total connectedness.
In his 33 1/3 book on the Minutemen‘s Double Nickels on the Dime, Michael T. Fournier explains bassist Mike Watt’s decision to lend the track ‘Corona’ to the MTV show Jackass to use as its theme song:
‘Corona’ as the theme of a popular TV show, Watt reasoned, would be a good chance to expose new people to his friend D. Boon’s music. ‘[P]eople get to hear D. Boon play,’ Watt says. ‘This way, we’re going to let everybody hear. He can’t do gigs. He can’t be here to tell you about this stuff and I can’t do a good enough job for him. Thank God the music is here. We recorded that, you can hear him play. So that’s why I put that in there.’ The money that came in as a result of the song’s use was given to D. Boon’s father, who used it to help treat his emphysema.
In his 33 1/3 book on Prince‘s Sign ‘o’ the Times, Michaelangelo Matos discusses the passion power of the album’s closing track, ‘Adore’:
‘Adore’ means it. All of it. Every last fucking dappled, gold-embossed, spangled, dewy-eyed, iridescent, opalescent (that’s right, this song emanates light and diffracts it), incense-permeated, sweet-time-taking, defenses-breaking, manifest-destiny-of-love-sweet-love second of it. If I had a dollar for every woman who’s told me that the fastest way to get into her pants was to play her ‘Adore’, I’d have almost enough money to buy me a clue that they were trying to maybe hint at something and I should have registered it then instead of after the fact. No matter. I know for next time.
Visit the series’ website for author interviews and a complete list of their publications. Also, the series will be celebrating its 100th volume on 2nd October at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn!