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The Replacements' Let it be
One of the defining moments of College Rock in the USA, Let It Be (and the Replacments themselves) had an enormous impact on the lives of the fans who fell under its spell. For Colin Meloy, a daydreaming adolescent in the cultural wilderness of Montana, the album was a lifeline and an inspiration. In this disarming memoir, Meloy lovingly recreates those initial years when music grips you, and never lets go. 33 1/3 is a series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the last 40 years. Focusing on one album rather than an artist's entire output, the books dispense with the standard biographical background that fans know already, and cut to the heart of the music on each album. The authors provide fresh, original perspectives, often through their access to and relationships with the key figures involved in the recording of these albums. By turns obsessive, passionate, creative, and informed, the books in this series demonstrate many different ways of writing about music. (A task that can be, as Elvis Costello famously observed, as tricky as dancing about architecture.)
What binds this series together, and what brings it to life, is that all of the authors - musicians, scholars, and writers - are deeply in love with the album they have chosen. Previous titles in this now well-established series have beaten sales expectations and received excellent review coverage - the third batch is sure to continue this success. More titles follow in the spring of 2005.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"Growing up incultural isolation in Montanameans that whatever creative influences you encounter are ones you foundyourself. For a young music fan, it'sfrustrating: no one tours there, cool people leave, etc. So when you run into something like TheReplacements' seminal "Let It Be," it'sakin to water in the desert. If you're Meloy, leader of the Decembrists, it can change the direction of your life. This book won't tell you much about "Let it Be" or The Replacements, but itwell conveys the grip that something like "Sixteen Blue" can have on a person-and why. When Paul Westerberg singe "Meetme anyplace or anywhere or anytime" in "I Will Dare," it can resonate like acall in the dark. Meloy recounts findinga shrine in the band at the 400 Club in Minneapolisin 2003, and his reaction is priceless. A great record becomes an active, emotional experience that stays withyou forever. For Meloy, it helped insetting the course of his future, and he expresses how and why in a compelling, engaging st "Meloy skirts any sort of criticism or analysis of the Replacements' Let It Be, focusing instead on how the album fueled his love for music and performance in a memoir of his Montana childhood guaranteeing frustration for Mats fans and glee for Decemberists fans." Mark Baumgarten, Willamette Week, 1/5/05 "Meloy is a student of fiction and his imaginative songs for The Decemberists document just that. But here, Meloy treats his affiliation with Let It Be as a metaphor for youth, his experience surrounding it almost a bildungsroman-all through the use of memoir. Meloy's voice is similar to that of David Sedaris, finding comedy in small things, finding uplift in sadness. In Meloy's remembrances we recall what it is to discover music, to fall in love with it (as many of us did before we fell in love with people, leaving the music of our youth our only true first love). This one's a keeper. Zack Adcock, The Hub Weekly, 1/13/05 "Growing up in cultural isolation in Montana means that whatever creative influences you encounter are ones you found yourself. For a young music fan, it's frustrating: no one tours there, cool people leave, etc. So when you run into something like The Replacements' seminal "Let It Be", it's akin to water in the desert. If you're Meloy, leader of the Decembrists, it can change the direction of your life. This book won't tell you much about "Let it Be" or The Replacements, but it well conveys the grip that something like "Sixteen Blue" can have on a person- and why. When Paul Westerberg singe "Meet me anyplace or anywhere or anytime" in "I Will Dare," it can resonate like a call in the dark. Meloy recounts finding a shrine in the band at the 400 Club in Minneapolis in 2003, and his reaction is priceless. A great record becomes an active, emotional experience that stays with you forever. For Meloy, it helped in setting the course of his future, and he expresses how and why in a compelling, engaging style." "The Big Takeover " "Willed or not, Meloy seems vulnerable in Let It Be, the 16th entry of 33 1/3's essays on really important albums series. The books typically boast chip-on-shoulder critical rigor; by contrast, Meloy reduces Let It Be to a small but crucial role in his own coming-of-age memoir. First reounting his purchase of the album as a grade-schooler, Meloy then concentrates on his punky, homoerotic adolescence in cornfed, homophobic Montana. In each anecdote, Let It Be plays deus ex machina, swooping down to rescue the young Meloy from his identity crises. These are solid short-short stories with bona fide epiphanies that they shed light on Meloy's past only makes them more engaging." Nick Sylvester, Village Voice, 1/11/05--Sanford Lakoff