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Heavy Rotation: Twenty Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives Paperback – June 23, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Edition edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061579742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061579745
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,231,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Mapping out a space between criticism and personal essay, writer and music fan Terzian has invited a double handful of contemporary writers to expound on the albums that they love. Benjamin Kunkel covers the Smiths, John Haskell discusses the Talking Heads, Joshua Ferris remembers Pearl Jam's debut, Sheila Heti considers the Annie soundtrack; their stories take readers to India, Ireland, Haiti, the Upper East Side of New York and beyond with consistently thoughtful, but wildly variant results. These love letters to albums also examine the inextricable connection between art forms; of particular note are essays by Mark Greif (Fugazi's Fugazi), Lisa Dierbeck (Pretenders' Pretenders), Asali Solomon (Gloria Estefan's Mi Tierra), Martha Southgate (The Jackson 5's Greatest Hits), Clifford Chase (The B-52's self-titled album) and editor Terzian (Miaow's Priceless Innuendo). Almost without fail, these essays exhibit a perfect blend of respect and irreverence, with an intoxicating intimacy; readers who love music will devour this collection, and beg for a second volume.

From Booklist

A particular subset of people, including editor Terzian, play the same pop records over and over, listening so closely that they internalize the lyrics until it seems the songs were written specifically about and for them. As a suburban adolescent hearing Joni Mitchell’s Hejira (about a woman in her thirties), Terzian felt he “was learning about what it meant to be an adult, about the many different ways of living a life.” Among the contemporary writers he asked to comment on songs or albums that similarly moved or inspired them, Benjamin Kunkel writes about the Smiths’ The Queen Is Dead, Alice Elliott Dark chooses Meet the Beatles!, and John Haskell offers his take on Talking Heads’ Remain in Light. Augmented by Joshua Ferris on Pearl Jam’s Ten, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) on the Eurythmics’ Savage, Lisa Dierbeck on Pretenders, Colm Tóíbín on Joni Mitchell’s Blue, James Wood on the Who’s Quadrophenia, and Claire Dederer on the original cast recording of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, they create a must for literary-minded pop fans. --June Sawyers

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Henry Alford on June 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a terrific collection, full of gorgeous writing and well-observed reporting. Sheila Heti's account of being hyper-obsessed with the soundtrack of "Annie" as a child is worth the price of admission (Heti became so convinced that she herself was an orphan that she asked her parents to show her her own birth certificate), and there are solid, artful contributions from Benjamin Kunkel, Stacey D'Erasmo, and Claire Dederer, among others. This is a surefire read or gift for anyone who is interested in music or grew up misunderstood.
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I got this for my husband who likes to read music reviews and history and, being a compilation of short "stories", it was a good bedtime book. I liked being able to sample different styles of writing by each of the authors. I mainly got it because I saw that Joshua Ferris contributed and we have liked his fiction.
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Format: Paperback
"One of my favorite essays was Terzian's contribution "Nine Lives," about the British punks Miaow and their never-released album Priceless Innuendo. I looked up Miaow ([...]) on the internet and couldn't even stand listening to an entire song. Terzian was obsessed with them, though, to the point of tracking down vocalist Cath Carroll, developing a friendship with her, and begging her to send him his Holy Grail: unreleased Priceless Innuendo tracks." -- From Alternative Control
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