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Let It Be (33 1/3) Paperback – August 10, 2004
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"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
"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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
In a typical passage, Meloy spends several pages describing how, in the 7th grade, he went out for the basketball team even though he didn't really want to, then got put on the B team only to be picked on by other players. Meanwhile, his buddy competed for a spot on the starting roster. He concludes with a single paragraph about crying in his room after basketball practice while listening to Unsatisfied.
That is how the entire book unfolds. Stuff happens to Colin Meloy and sometimes he listens to a song from Let It Be.
I bought this hoping to learn more about the Replacements and Let It Be, but it was 95 percent (or more) about Colin Meloy's adolescence, and poorly written to boot. All in all, it's a deeply annoying book.
There is an excellent early moment in the book where he writes about the childish punk energy the album gives him and a friend who explode with the inclination to dance, mosh, and spray paint without a violence or destruction. It is the only great moment of the book with far too much of the rest meandering on disconnected stories before abruptly having a chapter looking back on the present and then a handful of sections fictionalizing a few moments between the member of The 'Mats themselves.
Not enough insight into the album, bland insight into Colin himself, and a failure to convey the excitement that this album can bring, it is a truly wonderful album so full of life, love, and even the silliness of children ("Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out", "Gary's Got A Boner") that would have been so easy to cover with a look back at one's childhood being affected by the album, but somehow Meloy misses it.
Not quite sure what he was aiming for with this one actually, or who he expected his audience to be; but this is clearly an early entry in the series written by a writer who (understandably) did not quite understand where the series was or would go. Which is too bad because there are very little written on The Replacements at this time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is an engaging coming of age story about how a musically astute uncle introduces a young man to indie rock. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Aaron Wallis
Enjoyable and insightful little memoir about growing up in the 1980s and how college music, culled only from distant cousins sending mix tapes and watching MTV, influenced a future... Read morePublished 13 months ago by AmityBoy
This short story-like book mentions The Replacements here and there but their record, "Let It Be", only serves as background music (along with other bands like Hüsker Dü,... Read morePublished on November 8, 2013 by Vegan Vampire
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... Read morePublished on October 2, 2011 by stephsco
I've read the other reviews and I noticed the poorer ones concerned the fact that this is not a typical 33 1/3 book -- it is mainly the coming-of-age musings of The Decemberists'... Read morePublished on August 13, 2010 by Damian Konopka
As someone who loves "Let It Be" and was quite the Decemberists fan, I was under the impression that this book might be a bit of a fun, yet brief read. And seeing that Mr. Read morePublished on February 9, 2010 by rabidantidentite
I have never heard the Decembrists. I bought this book because I love "Let it Be." I was disappointed at first to realize that it was not really a book about the album. Read morePublished on September 15, 2008 by Kevin Trapp
Colin Meloy's cronicle of The Replacement's, "Let It Be" tells his story of how the album impacted his life. Read morePublished on September 10, 2008 by Foch Beebe
I don't consider myself overly well-versed on the 33 1/3 series -- I've probably only read 6 or 7 titles at this point. Read morePublished on March 17, 2008 by herschel