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

2.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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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
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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

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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: 4.8 x 0.3 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,034,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to read an amateurish memoir by Colin Meloy, buy this book. If you want to read an insightful, professionally written book about Let It Be, do not buy this book.

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.
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I'm a big fan of the 33 1/3 series and love their aim to tackle a look at an album with whatever level of technical study or impressionism that the author feels is appropriate; however, this book seems ill-fit for the series with how little it touches on the band itself and really goes overboard into Colin Meloy's life. I can see this more fan service for Decemberists fans, but this is one of the shortest books in the series and with that has the lowest amount of interaction with the album itself, long stretches capture Meloy's childhood with details typical of a coming of age story without a real coming of age moment: just some moments flirting with the affects of music and how extravagant life is as a child.
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.
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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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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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