Books

Continuum's Cover Lit: The 33 1/3 Series

Anne K. Yoder

Continuum pays homage to some the most significant albums in pop and rock history with its 33 1/3 series, a thoughtfully curated collection of books about these albums. PopMatters responds to the 33 1/3 series with a set of reviews, essays, and interviews that considers the proper role of music criticism, the vitality of the album, and books written about some smoking good music.

Edited by Anne K. Yoder

Continuum pays homage to some the most significant albums in pop and rock history with its 33 1/3 series, a thoughtfully curated collection of books about these albums. Treated as part museum piece, part sacred altar, the albums are venerated in the form of rock star histories, musical analyses, and personal accounts. PopMatters responds to the 33 1/3 series with a set of reviews, essays, and interviews that considers the proper role of music criticism, the vitality of the album, and books written about some smoking good music. Our writers perused some of their favorite titles covered in the collection, and respond here with how the books measure up: Bill Gibron discusses Pet Sounds, Anne Yoder looks at In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Dante Ciampaglia looks at Sign 'O' the Times and Born in the U.S.A., and Steven Horowitz reviews Kick out the Jams. Series authors Kim Cooper and Jim Fusilli, of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and Pet Sounds, respectively, speak in separate interviews about the difficulties of writing about music and the minds behind these two remarkable albums. In his essay, Rob Horning critiques the series, wondering to what extent the books are self-serving pieces of music criticism and if a critic's intercession can enhance the listener's experience, while Anne K. Yoder gives an overview of the series and speaks to series editor David Barker about how it all came to be.

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