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…

Video Vault Episode 50: “Violet”

To celebrate the release of our 103rd 33 1/3 on  Live Through This by Anwen Crawford, we bring you the fifth and final installment of Hole week: the video vault edition. “We invented rock ‘n’ roll so that we could sexualise men, so that we could go and scream over these unatainable football captains…Do not hurt yourself, destroy yourself, mangle yourself, to get the football captain. BE the football captain.” – Courtney Love [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ljFNN4iRao]

Hole Week – Day 4: Symbolism

To celebrate the release of our 103rd 33 1/3 on  Live Through This by Anwen Crawford, we bring you the fourth installment of Hole week. Here is an excerpt from the chapter “Softer, Softest.” SYMBOLISM There are precious few records in the rock canon about motherhood. The very spirit of rock music—bound up as it is with a celebration of the unfettered, sexually voracious masculine ego—seems opposed to it. ‘The rebel is always running away from home,’ observe Simon Reynolds and Joy Press in The Sex Revolts. ‘He defines himself…

Hole Week – Day 3: Groupie

To celebrate the release of our 103rd 33 1/3 on  Live Through This by Anwen Crawford, we bring you the third installment of Hole week. Here is an excerpt from the chapter “Asking for It.” GROUPIE Underlying public antagonism towards Courtney Love is the same suspicion that has dogged female participants in rock ’n’ roll for decades: that, in the end, she is merely a groupie, and fucking is her talent. Groupies reaffirm the phallus worship that lies at the heart of rock culture; they make literal the fantasy of…

Hole Week – Day 2: Injuries

To celebrate the release of our 103rd 33 1/3 on  Live Through This by Anwen Crawford, we bring you the second installment of Hole week. Here is an excerpt from the chapter “Violet.” INJURIES And all the stars were just like little fish. Did you know that amethyst is the birthstone for February? And Kurt Cobain was born on February 20. Pisces, Jesus man: the punk- rock messiah crucified upon his own fame. Yeah, yeah. ‘This is for Kurt, and Kristen, and River, and Joe, and Rob and, today, Joni…