Spring 2018’s 33 1/3s: the countdown begins!

With just weeks to go until the four latest 33 1/3s hit the shelves, we’ve put together this little round-up for you so that you know exactly what you’ve got to be excited for! This Spring’s batch are as eclectic a mix as you can expect from the series, but we think they complement one another really well and we hope that you’ll agree. First up, publishing on March 22 we have Merle Haggard’s Okie from Muskogee: Every now and then, a song inspires a cultural conversation that ends up…

Video Vault 110: Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde at 25

On the 25th anniversary of The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, 33 1/3 author Andrew Barker gives us a glimpse at the greatness of this hip-hop foursome and their debut album. Twenty five years ago today, Los Angeles’ inimitable oddballs The Pharcyde released Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, their first and unquestionably greatest album. There’s something bittersweet about watching such a touchstone of youthful exuberance and melancholy cross the quarter-century mark. Not only because the album was so pioneering that it would probably be an even bigger hit if it were…

Nothing Has Been Done Before, Day 5: Alternate Takes and Outtakes

For the portion of author Robert Loss’s guest spot, he takes us through the music and artists he could not quite fit into the book. You can read his more on his study of newness and popular music in Nothing Has Been Done Before: Seeking the New in 21st Century American Popular Music. Nothing Has Been Done Before is the second book in a new series from Bloomsbury, Alternate Takes: Critical Responses to Popular Music. The point of the series is “to examine popular music from critical perspectives that challenge the…

Nothing Has Been Done Before, Day 4: American Studies

Today guest blogger Robert Loss writes about the multifaceted notion of “American-ness” and how it unfolds across genres of popular music. Whether they mean to or not, every American artist tells his or her version of the American story. The “American” descriptor in the book’s subtitle (“Seeking the New in 21st-Century American Popular Music”) winds its way throughout the book as a constantly changing narrative, a set of beliefs, a place, a people, visions of the past, and visions of the future. Sometimes the American-ness is treated explicitly. In “Revivals…

Nothing Has Been Done Before, Day 3: Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize for Literature

We continue with guest blogger and author Robert Loss, whose new book Nothing Has Been Done Before explores the idea of newness in popular music. Today, read about how he wrote his Bob Dylan chapter and how Dylan’s Nobel Prize win changed the course of his writing. Plus, a Dylan playlist. The situation is always changing. The book you might have written five years ago about Prince would be very different from the book you’d write today. We could say the same about Taylor Swift, or retro music, or newness in general.…

Nothing Has Been Done Before, Day 2: An Extended Timeline

Even though Nothing Has Been Done Before centers on music made since 2000, it is, at times, intensely historical, tracing stories and ideas that reach back to more than a century ago. Author Robert Loss explores some of the defining moments in pop music history on that extended timeline.   1859—Let’s start in the year that minstrel-show innovator Dan Emmett debuts “I Wish I Was in the Land of Dixie,” a song he likely stole from Ellen Snowden, the matriarch of a Black American family of musicians who were his…

Nothing Has Been Done Before Day 1: ‘Newness’ and Popular Music

This week, we bring you posts from guest blogger Robert Loss, author of Nothing Has Been Done Before. Read on to learn what inspired him to write the book, why he thinks that there is room for newness in popular music, and how this newness can evade being defined by demands of consumerist culture in popular music. Plus! A bonus playlist to accompany the music covered in the book. “Britney Spears is constantly coming up with something new and innovative. Pere Ubu does the same old thing. ‘New’ is a trap and…

Björk Week: Day 1 – Why it had to be Homogenic

To celebrate this week’s release of Björk’s Homogenic, we’re pleased to bring you the first installment of Björk Week by author Emily Mackay! The same year I began writing this book, I finally took my old stereo back from my parents’ house. I’d got the system, a 5-CD changer with two cassette decks and a turntable, in 1997, the year Björk’s album Homogenic was released. I was 16. I can remember how it was when I first played Homogenic on that stereo, the great dizzying swoop and a fillip in the…

Video Vault Episode 51: D’Angelo And The Vanguard – ‘Sugah Daddy’

Last Week, D’Angelo brought the funk after 14 years  and it’s the godsend the album title implies (though, to be fair, Black Messiah offers political rather than religious messages.) Still, the nod to D’Angelo’s church roots is noted (and appreciated.) In the wake of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, the album offers a message that is lucid to its audience. “For me the title is about all of us. It’s about the world. It’s about an idea that we can all aspire to. We should all aspire to…

Bestsellers 2014 – Dilla is #1

DILLA

As 2014 draws to a close there are lots of lists floating around. The best album, the best song, the best restaurant, the best photo, the best moments…and here at 33 1/3 we had a wonderful year of bests. We saw the publication of FOURTEEN 33 1/3 volumes! #89 Andrew W.K.’s I Get Wet through #103 Hole’s Live Through This. We celebrated our 10th anniversary with our 100th volume! We released a complete set of all 100 books on our site for only $1,000!!!!! We held an open call for…