Long Players: Writers on the Albums That Shaped Them

Tom Gatti. Bloomsbury, $22 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5266-2578-6
“We are certainly not ready to say goodbye to the album,” suggests New Statesman editor Gatti in this impassioned collection of writers’ love letters to the music that changed them. While the convenience of streaming has transformed the way songs are listened to, Gatti argues that “listeners are returning to the album as an unbroken artwork... to be played from start to finish without interruption.” For some writers, certain albums have been life-changing watersheds: by “embracing both happiness and catastrophe,” Marlon James writes, Björk’s Post helped him reconcile his identity and faith. Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star might have been a one-time collaboration, but to Teju Cole its “pure poetry... is permanently fresh and unflaggingly true.” In an essay on David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, Neil Gaiman posits that sometimes there is no rationale behind why some albums resonate more than others. In his case, Bowie’s album was his favorite “because it was mine.” From Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2 to hearing the Beatles’ Revolver for the first time, the revelations discussed brilliantly convey the power music has to shape individual lives. Music lovers will want to put this on repeat. Agent: Antony Harwood, Antony Harwood Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 07/22/2021
Release date: 08/03/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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