A blog about Bloomsbury Academic's 33 1/3 series, our other books about music, and the world of sound in general.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Colin Meloy soaked in Bacardi

I like this review of Colin Meloy's Let It Be book, from The Peak - Simon Fraser University's Independent Student Newspaper. We'd much rather get reviews in there than the NYTBR, any day.

Book Review: Let It Be read
Chelsea Mushaluk, The Peak

About a week ago, my roommate spilled her rum and Coke all over my copy of Colin Meloy’s Let It Be. So why does this matter, besides the devastating loss of cocktail? Well, I like my books. And I like to keep them in fairly good condition. But there I was, holding a rum-soaked copy of a book written by the lead singer of the Decemberists. After some loving care and clean up, the book has been restored (almost) to its former glory.

Looking at the ever-so-slightly discoloured pages left me thinking: this situation was very much like many of the experiences described in Let It Be, though none that I can recall involved rum-infused beverages of any kind. Meloy describes his experiences with childhood camping trips, growing up in Montana, and, as the title suggests, his connection to the Replacements’ 1984 classic, Let It Be.

Meloy’s musings on Let It Be were published by Continuum Books as book number 16 in the 33 1/3 series. This series of cute little books is written by musicians, music-industry types, and obscure rock critics about their favourite rock albums. Other titles in the series include OK Computer, London Calling, and In the Aeroplane over the Sea, with more to be released this year. It’s a great concept, especially for anyone who has an all-time favourite album. Besides, reading a book written by the lead singer of the Decemberists about one of the most famous records to be played on college radio is just so darned cool.

All of this leads me back to Let It Be. A quick note about the book: it’s really good. Meloy’s prose is engaging and funny, from starting a band but having no instruments to seeing MTV for the first time in his grandfather’s living room. There’s also a sense of nostalgia and sadness that the reader gets throughout the book. This shows Meloy’s versatility and talent as a writer: The ability to make you laugh and make you cry in the same paragraph. Considering it is a memoir, and memoirs can go either way, this one is fantastic.

I won’t give away details, but the ending is amazing. And for those of you worried about whether Meloy’s penchant for theatricality that we see in his songwriting is also part of his prose writing, it’s not. It’s simple and poignant, and the wordiness only works to the story’s advantage.

Let It Be is a book about how the Replacements influenced Colin Meloy growing up and also as a musician, and it’s well worth reading. As for the rum and Coke incident, it’s stories like that you can look forward to in Let It Be; stories that seem small but are part of a greater concept. While I’ll save that one for my own memoirs, go and find a copy of Let It Be. If you’ve ever been influenced by an album or love music, also check out the rest of the 33 1/3 series. Rock on.

1 comment:

Pete said...

Based on what I've heard about mid-1980s Replacements shows, the book getting rum-soaked is perfectly appropriate.