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Let It Be (33 1/3) Paperback – August 10, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 118 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (August 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826416330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826416339
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 5.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #640,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Frontman for the band the Decembrists, Meloy reflects on his teenage discovery of the rock ethos and early appreciation of the Replacements, to whose work he was introduced by his uncle. Oddly, Meloy doesn't go into much detail about the recording of the album Let It Be. Instead, he offers an interesting coming-of-age story as an appropriate salute to an album and a band that were a consuming passion for him at an impressionable age. A nice period piece. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Willed or not, Meloy seems vulnerable in Let It Be, the 16th entry of 33 1/3's essays on really important albums series. The books typically boast chip-on-shoulder critical rigor; by contrast, Meloy reduces Let It Be to a small but crucial role in his own coming-of-age memoir. First reounting his purchase of the album as a grade-schooler, Meloy then concentrates on his punky, homoerotic adolescence in cornfed, homophobic Montana. In each anecdote, Let It Be plays deus ex machina, swooping down to rescue the young Meloy from his identity crises. These are solid short-short stories with bona fide epiphanies—that they shed light on Meloy's past only makes them more engaging." —Nick Sylvester, Village Voice, 1/11/05 (Nick Sylvester)

"Meloy is a student of fiction and his imaginative songs for The Decemberists document just that. But here, Meloy treats his affiliation with Let It Be as a metaphor for youth, his experience surrounding it almost a bildungsroman-all through the use of memoir. Meloy's voice is similar to that of David Sedaris, finding comedy in small things, finding uplift in sadness. In Meloy's remembrances we recall what it is to discover music, to fall in love with it (as many of us did before we fell in love with people, leaving the music of our youth our only true first love). This one's a keeper. —Zack Adcock, The Hub Weekly, 1/13/05

"Meloy skirts any sort of criticism or analysis of the Replacements' Let It Be, focusing instead on how the album fueled his love for music and performance in a memoir of his Montana childhood—guaranteeing frustration for Mats fans and glee for Decemberists fans." —Mark Baumgarten, Willamette Week, 1/5/05

"Growing up incultural isolation in Montanameans that whatever creative influences you encounter are ones you foundyourself. For a young music fan, it'sfrustrating: no one tours there, cool people leave, etc. So when you run into something like TheReplacements' seminal Let It Be, it'sakin to water in the desert. If you're Meloy,leader of the Decembrists, it can change the direction of your life. This book won't tell you much about Let it Be or The Replacements, but itwell conveys the grip that something like "Sixteen Blue" can have on a person-and why. When Paul Westerberg singe "Meetme anyplace or anywhere or anytime" in "I Will Dare," it can resonate like acall in the dark. Meloy recounts findinga shrine in the band at the 400 Club in Minneapolisin 2003, and his reaction is priceless. A great record becomes an active, emotional experience that stays withyou forever. For Meloy, it helped insetting the course of his future, and he expresses how and why in a compelling,engaging style." The Big Takeover



"Willed or not, Meloy seems vulnerable in Let It Be, the 16th entry of 33 1/3's essays on really important albums series. The books typically boast chip-on-shoulder critical rigor; by contrast, Meloy reduces Let It Be to a small but crucial role in his own coming-of-age memoir. First reounting his purchase of the album as a grade-schooler, Meloy then concentrates on his punky, homoerotic adolescence in cornfed, homophobic Montana. In each anecdote, Let It Be plays deus ex machina, swooping down to rescue the young Meloy from his identity crises. These are solid short-short stories with bona fide epiphanies—that they shed light on Meloy's past only makes them more engaging." —Nick Sylvester, Village Voice, 1/11/05 (Sanford Lakoff)

“Growing up incultural isolation in Montanameans that whatever creative influences you encounter are ones you foundyourself. For a young music fan, it’sfrustrating: no one tours there, cool people leave, etc. So when you run into something like TheReplacements’ seminal Let It Be, it’sakin to water in the desert. If you’re Meloy,leader of the Decembrists, it can change the direction of your life. This book won’t tell you much about Let it Be or The Replacements, but itwell conveys the grip that something like “Sixteen Blue” can have on a person-and why. When Paul Westerberg singe “Meetme anyplace or anywhere or anytime” in “I Will Dare,” it can resonate like acall in the dark. Meloy recounts findinga shrine in the band at the 400 Club in Minneapolisin 2003, and his reaction is priceless. A great record becomes an active, emotional experience that stays withyou forever. For Meloy, it helped insetting the course of his future, and he expresses how and why in a compelling,engaging style.” The Big Takeover


More About the Author

Colin Meloy is the charismatic lead singer and songwriter of The Decemberists, a highly celebrated (and uncommonly literary) band that has sold in excess of 1 million records. Colin has been recognized as much for his musical abilities--his ear for inventive and timeless melodies and his lilting vocals--as he has been for his unmatched lyrical prowess. Crafting each song as a vivid, imaginative story unto itself, he's become one of the most distinctive and appreciated voices of our time. WILDWOOD marks Colin's debut as children's author. Follow Colin on Twitter, @colinmeloy.

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Caleb Boyd on January 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
I ordered this book because I am taking a class in Pop Music. Our instructor asked us to read one book from the 33 1/3 series and to prepare a short presentation on the book. I chose this book on The Replacements "Let It Be" album.

I expected the book to be a schematic on each of the album's tracks. I was happy that the book was small (just slightly over 100 pages), because I didn't feel ready to read a huge tome deconstructing one Replacements record. I was surprised to find that this book is written by Colin Meloy, lead singer of the Decemberists, a band that I had decided I liked around the same time that I had discovered the Replacements.

This book does not deconstruct each lyric of the album and explain any kind of broad sociological or musicological meaning. This book is more a short autobiography of Meloy himself, but he never strays from explaining the soundtrack of his life as he ages from middle school to high school. And the Replacements were always a big part of his adolescence to early adulthood. Meloy explains how the album affected his own life: how he came to discover the Replacements, how he took the album with him on bus trips with his basketball team, how he shut out the world during play practices and listened to "Androgynous" while others rehearsed, how he cried while feeling rejected by his classmates and listening to "Unsatisfied."

Meloy writes the book from the perspective of a listener, not a musician, journalist or amateur musicologist. His style makes this book appropriate for any reader, because all readers are also listeners.

I highly recommend this book to any music lover, whatever your tastes may be. Listeners from every niche of the music matrix can glean something from this.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By harold 77 on May 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Colin Melroy writes off discovering the Replacements through a mix tape made by his Uncle. If you are looking for a breakdown of the albumn Let It Be this book is not for you. What this book did for me is bring back the joy of discovering a new song on a cassete mix tape made by someone. Then going out and trying to find the whole albumn. This book is great for discribing how amazing it is to find a new artist when you are stuck in a small town where the artist will never get airplay. Meloys discovery of the Replacements by way of his Uncles' tape is parelell to how the early 80's indie bands gained thier fans. Someone who heard them on a college stations passes along the music to a friend who would never get the chance to her them without the mix tape. Very good book about the joy of dicovering music in your early teen years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lucas on March 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
If there's one thing I don't like with music fans writing books, its that they have the wrong impression that they're a cut above everyone else when it comes to talking about how they got into it. Im not sure if it waas his intention, but the beginning pages just talks of him buying "Let It Be", then going on an self indulgent and unnecessary tangent about how he got into music and how special he is in getting into the "cool" groups. no matter my opinions on the bands he mentions, i dont like when someone writes about how they listen to awesome music when it seems like theyre bragging or they think theyre self fulfilled because theyve mentioned it. it doesnt develop a character. the autobiographical elements wouldve been fine if, oh i dont know, the focus shifted to The album this books about. because I dont want to read about Colin Meloy. I want to hear about the replacements, about the album, because thats what im more interested in. I know who he is, and I thought he would realize what this pocket book would need to keep the reader informed on what the book entailed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By stephsco on October 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
The back cover summary was an instant sell for me; singer from a band I like writing about the influence of a band I like, with the added depth of adolescent discovery of music in a time before the internet made indie rock accessible to anyone. Being a music nerd, I wanted to read some hardcore fandom over The Replacements. I learned nothing about the band that I didn't already know. This is more of a musing of Colin Meloy's coming-of-age with music in general. It doesn't seem to fit with the 33 1/3 series.

Also, I wanted to see more of a voice in the writing. It's not bad, and there were snippets where I thought, Yes! This is what this book should be! But too much of it meanders in a very basic fashion that feels more like a book report than an inspired memoir.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The Missing Ramone on September 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Meloy's book is a decent autobiographical look at his experiences discovering music as a child, but it really tells you nothing about the making of (or meaning of) the Replacements' most famous album.

After reading the incredible 33 1/3 book on Paul's Boutique, I was expecting to actually learn about the Replacements, or about the creation of Let It Be. Instead, I learned about Meloy's childhood buddy and hiship uncle who introduced him to music. The book was indeed well-written, but not at all what I was expecting.

If you want to learn about the making of Let it be, STAY AWAY!
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Davidson on January 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yesterday, a box of (expected) goodies from Amazon.com came in the mail for me. I ripped it open with glee and my eyes fell upon Colin Meloy's book (above). About an hour later I had finished reading it and was off to The Decemberists message board (where I heard about it) to post my delight.

I don't know if you guys have heard of the 33 1/3 series... I had, but only vaguely. Basically its a series of short books written by artists about the most important album in their life- or something to that effect. Colin wrote about The Replacements' album "Let It Be."

It reminded me a bit of the Aerosmith autobiography "Walk This Way" in its narration and stylings... although MUCH shorter. It is a great, fun little read.

I'm sure many of you would also see the similarities between yourselves and Colin's touching and freshly honest account of childhood and music appreciation. From his discovery of bands, to first record purchases, its a story any true music fan can identify with. Like Colin, I too have a box of old cassette tapes under my bed... I used to make mix tapes religiously. I remember seeing the skater kids and wanting to be hardcore like that, but I just wasn't and couldn't swallow that fakeness of pretending to be.

Anyhow, if you're a real music fan or have an interest in getting to better know any of the specific people who wrote books for 33 1/3, its a GREAT series and I can't wait to read some more of them. If you're a Decemberists fan, you have to read Let It Be.
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