33 1/3 Series of books

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I really hope they do a Fugazi one someday.

Walter Galt, Saturday, 2 June 2012 14:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

There was a whole load of these in a local charity shop... one of those upmarket charity shops which are actually more expensive than most non-charity shops. Bought the "Village Green" one.

Charles Kennedy Jumped Up, He Called 'Oh No'. (Tom D.), Saturday, 2 June 2012 14:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

Would read the heck out of Donuts, 2112 and Back In The DHSS. Meantime tho? zzzzzzzz

MaresNest, Saturday, 2 June 2012 15:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

I'd really like to know who wrote the other 2112 proposal. Ultimately seems a good sign that both made it.

Nate Carson, Saturday, 2 June 2012 17:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

Fear of Music reviewed in tomorrow's NYT; the critic incorrectly says Lethem saw Stop Making Sense in 1982.

go down on you in a thyatrr (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 2 June 2012 17:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

Finished Fear Of Music a few weeks back. i guess I'm not a Lethem fan because I was annoyed with the writing about halfway through.

Pacific Rinko (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 2 June 2012 19:51 (1 year ago) Permalink

Fear of Music reviewed in tomorrow's NYT; the critic incorrectly says Lethem saw Stop Making Sense in 1982.

― go down on you in a thyatrr (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, June 2, 2012 1:04 PM (2 hours ago) Bookmark

the writer stopped making sense in 2012 then, har har har

keep looking at the 94 potential titles and trying to find something, anything to get excited about and it's kinda hard. look at how fucking corny the selection of hip hop albums is:

The Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
J Dilla Donuts
Outkast Stankonia
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Eminem The Slim Shady LP
Danger Mouse The Grey Album
Jay-Z The Blueprint
The Game The Documentary
Insane Clown Posse The Great Milenko
Drake Thank Me Later
Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Jay-Z The Blueprint

kel ler/pharmacists (some dude), Saturday, 2 June 2012 19:57 (1 year ago) Permalink

Anyone have a shelf of these and want to share a pic? I read ebooks these days but this is one series that I would love to collect paperbacks of.

calstars, Saturday, 2 June 2012 20:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

Well, outside of the Danger Mouse, The Game, Drake, and Kanye selections I would probably read about all the rest of those. I think, a solid author provided, a good story could be pulled from the rest of them - particularly Slim Shady LP, Donuts, and Pharcyde.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Saturday, 2 June 2012 20:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah there's definitely some good albums in there that could inspire worthwhile books, but the spectrum of that selection is stiflingly "rap that rock critics like"

kel ler/pharmacists (some dude), Saturday, 2 June 2012 20:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

What rap albums wouldn't be "rap that rock critics like" though? The Great Milenko btw haha.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Saturday, 2 June 2012 20:23 (1 year ago) Permalink

there's a whole canon of countless albums revered by rap fans that don't have the same kind of cachet with rock critics (often different albums by the same artists)

kel ler/pharmacists (some dude), Saturday, 2 June 2012 20:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

They also probably don't have the same cachet with readers of 33 1/3 books either.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Saturday, 2 June 2012 20:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

ehh nevermind, this is the circular conversation that's happened on ILM a thousand times before, "music writers focus on the same tired canon because that's what people who read about music tend to be interested in, the snake eats its tail, nothing every changes" etc.

kel ler/pharmacists (some dude), Saturday, 2 June 2012 20:49 (1 year ago) Permalink

No no I definitely see your point. Looking over the list it IS very "these were big Pazz N Jop favs". I guess I'm just wondering how obscure you'd have to go to avoid that and whether or not the people who buy these books (or check em out from the library) would even be interested in them.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Saturday, 2 June 2012 20:54 (1 year ago) Permalink

(xp)
The endless inner groove of a 33 1/3 record.

Ian Hunter Is Learning the Game (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 2 June 2012 20:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

Hip-hop doesn't really do "reclamation" projects does it? Trying to think if there is something equivalent to Big Star or the Velvet Underground or whatever where it was basically largely ignored upon release and then suddenly everyone goes "ohmigod this was IT, lets reissue, write books, hail the forgotten influence, etc."

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Saturday, 2 June 2012 21:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

hahaha, I think UGK alone could disprove that thesis

The Reverend, Saturday, 2 June 2012 21:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

Not really sure how. It's not like Ridin Dirty was some completely unheard masterpiece (it sold pretty well on release IIRC). And it was guesting on a Jay-Z track that blew them up not people revisiting their old stuff and suddenly finding time for them.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Saturday, 2 June 2012 21:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

i would say maybe the majority of rap albums regarded as classics grew into that status gradually, lot of things that seemed to everybody like perfectly good or unremarkable workaday records started to feel significant given how big the artist became or who followed their lead. or popular regional things that only later become universally regarded critical favorites. not a lot of total flops and unheard records that got rediscovered, though.

kel ler/pharmacists (some dude), Saturday, 2 June 2012 23:26 (1 year ago) Permalink

did anyone read the Fear of Music one yet? i was really disappointed, and the chapter on eno must have fallen out of mine because he hardly mentioned him once...are you kidding? And I'm a fan of his other writing!

Iago Galdston, Sunday, 3 June 2012 00:59 (1 year ago) Permalink

Only 253 people heard The Joralemon Street Team's Borough Hall B-Boyz but every one of them became either a DJ, a Rapper, or a Minister of Information.

I don't know what to read so I am reading it here (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 3 June 2012 01:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

"i would say maybe the majority of rap albums regarded as classics grew into that status gradually"

I feel like at least for the "rock canon" hip hop records (Paid In Full, It Take A Million, 3 Feet, Illmatic, 36 Chambers, The Chronic, Ready To Die, Supa Dupa Fly or whatnot) were all pretty highly regarded on release. But yeah I do agree that something like Ridin Dirty becomes a lot more like "oh this is the UGK record you must own" or whatever once they blow up.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Sunday, 3 June 2012 03:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah there's definitely some good albums in there that could inspire worthwhile books, but the spectrum of that selection is stiflingly "rap that rock critics like"

― kel ler/pharmacists (some dude), Saturday, June 2, 2012 3:16 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

to be fair that category probably has 90% overlap with "rap that corny indie fuxors will buy an entire book about"

know your audience i mean

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Sunday, 3 June 2012 07:17 (1 year ago) Permalink

whatever, guys. the point is there's a shit ton of great rap albums that don't already have 33 1/3 books that would sell as well as any other rap-themed entry in the series, and they're considering greenlighting shit about poorly aging mid-'00s heirlooms like The Documentary and The Grey Album.

kel ler/pharmacists (some dude), Sunday, 3 June 2012 10:33 (1 year ago) Permalink

The rap books (except Beasties) are some of the worst sellers for them

rock the swagon and g.o.a.t. it (Whiney G. Weingarten), Sunday, 3 June 2012 13:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

Actually pretty much any book about a black person who isn't Hendrix

rock the swagon and g.o.a.t. it (Whiney G. Weingarten), Sunday, 3 June 2012 13:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

Any 331/3 that is: check the stats, and that goes for the AWESOME James Brown book that everyone ( including me) loves, and the awesome sly stone book

rock the swagon and g.o.a.t. it (Whiney G. Weingarten), Sunday, 3 June 2012 13:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

the fact that the rap books sell bad no matter what doesn't change the fact that when they do them they should be as good as yours or the other worthwhile ones -- if anything that means why bother with fucking Thank Me Later

kel ler/pharmacists (some dude), Sunday, 3 June 2012 14:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

That league table goes to show that most people don't read reviews or recommendations. They love OK Computer and they're going to buy a shitty book about it no matter how many one-star Amazon reviews it gets. Meanwhile some of the best-loved ones - PE, James Brown, Prince, Sly, Throbbing Gristle - languish in the bottom half. Celine Dion looks like the only one in the Top 20 that's clearly selling off the back of its prose rather than the album.

Get wolves (DL), Monday, 4 June 2012 09:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

I would never avoid a book on the basis of a zillion one-star Amazon reviews. The 33 1/3 brand is supposed to be a guarantee of quality, so it makes sense that the best selling books will be about the best selling albums on the list. You'd expect to see a correlation there.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Monday, 4 June 2012 10:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah, that's why multi-platinum international superstars Neutral Milk Hotel are at the top of the chart

typhus in Corfu (Noodle Vague), Monday, 4 June 2012 10:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

if the 33 1/3 brand is a guarantee of quality, i'd like my money for the atcq book back.

The Reverend, Monday, 4 June 2012 10:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

xp It's not the best-selling albums - it's the most significant ones to a certain audience.

I've never seen this brand as a guarantee of quality. It's always been wildly variable.

Get wolves (DL), Monday, 4 June 2012 10:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

I see this brand as a guarantee that the odds are against you.

Lil' Kim Philby (Call the Cops), Monday, 4 June 2012 12:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

like American justice

go down on you in a thyatrr (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 4 June 2012 12:54 (1 year ago) Permalink

I've never seen this brand as a guarantee of quality. It's always been wildly variable

sure, you and I and ILM realize that but I'm not sure the casual browser in Waterstones or Amazon would.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Monday, 4 June 2012 13:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

personally i think one of the series' greatest strengths is that each volume is such a relatively small investment of time/money that it's not a huge disappointment if a book here or two misses the mark, if it enables them to take a risk on publishing so many (often great) little books by mostly unknown authors on pretty niche topics. consistency is sacrificed for the sake of other virtues.

kel ler/pharmacists (some dude), Monday, 4 June 2012 13:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

That league table goes to show that most people don't read reviews or recommendations the books that have been available for the longest amount of time have generally sold the most copies--with a few notable exceptions. The league table thing is more of an interesting thing to look at, sort of like amazon "sales ranks" (which may or may not have anything to do with sales), but as a piece of information it's not incredibly useful.

I agree that some are better than others, and the series IS wildly variable, but it's interesting to see how many people both love and hate the more outre books and how many people both love and hate the volumes that focus on mic placement and chord progressions, etc. So it boils down to different strokes/folks, really. I'm of the opinion that that variability is a big part of the reason the series has continued, where other similar projects have fizzled out.

JMB, Monday, 4 June 2012 14:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

Maybe. I'd be interested to know how many owners of the OK Computer book really rate it though - I haven't heard a good word about it. Even taking into account the obvious advantage of being published earlier (hey I noticed that too), sales suggest that a mediocre-to-bad book about a prestige album will sell more than a brilliant one about a more niche one. (Unfortunately for the purposes of 33 1/3 buyers albums by black artists, even when they're the biggest stars of their day, count as niche.) Unsurprising, perhaps, but discouraging. The good news coming out of the figures as that the books continue to sell, albeit modestly. A lot of music books published the same year as the first 33 1/3 batch are out of print by now.

Get wolves (DL), Monday, 4 June 2012 15:32 (1 year ago) Permalink

Let's just say that I agree that some are better than others and leave it at that... but your point about the books continuing to sell and stay in print is a good one.
It's also worth noting when looking at the league table that when the series began in 2003, the economy was strong, there were many more indie and chain bookshops, and e-books were more of a futuristic notion than a reality. Kindle sales aren't tallied into the league table list. I would venture to guess that it would look VERY different if so.

JMB, Monday, 4 June 2012 15:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

[Though I will also say that while publishing a not-good book about a prestige album may be a safer bet, the editor is in no way cynical enough to do that on purpose.]

JMB, Monday, 4 June 2012 15:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

Of course. Nobody publishes a bad book on purpose. They still have to pay the writer the same. And I haven't read anything unpublishably bad - dull or gimmicky seems to as bad as it gets.

Interesting that ebook sales aren't counted in that table.

Get wolves (DL), Monday, 4 June 2012 19:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

I didn't know you could even get these as eBooks. Are they Kindle only? Because they certainly aren't available for the Nook.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 4 June 2012 21:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

I got some Kindle ones during that sale and put them on my Nook. Problem solved.

EZ Snappin, Monday, 4 June 2012 21:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah, i missed out on that sale and i'm not sure i would have figured out how to transer them without screwing it all up

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 4 June 2012 21:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

I just googled how to remove it with Calibre plug-in and Voila!

EZ Snappin, Monday, 4 June 2012 21:56 (1 year ago) Permalink

Another review of Lethem's book, which I totally forgot about. Will Kindle it today: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/159606-fear-of-music/

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 14 June 2012 14:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

Portishead book is overlong and goes nowhere basically.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Thursday, 14 June 2012 14:42 (1 year ago) Permalink


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