When Frankie Shot Johnny

Image of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Santi Elijah Holley on the story of Allen Britt and Frankie Baker While most murder ballads traditionally center on the murder of a woman by a man, a few notable ballads flip the script. The most immediate one that comes to mind is, of course, the classic ballad of the spurned woman, “Henry Lee” (or “Love Henry,” as it’s also known), which Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds included on their album Murder Ballads. Though not referenced on Murder Ballads, one of the most popular and widely adapted ballads in…

Enjoy your Halloween with 33 1/3!

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Wherever you’re celebrating this year, whether you’re going all out in your favorite costume, planning a Halloween Zoom bash, or just chilling on the couch with a bowl of candy, you still need some spooky tunes to jam out to. Listen now by following our Halloween playlist on Spotify or using this compiled list, and be sure to click the links below to learn more about each artist and order your own 33 1/3.

Video Vault: Blondie, “Hanging On The Telephone”

Image of Blondie

With summer now a hazy memory and October dragging into its 17th week, it is fitting to reflect on the moody album once described by Rolling Stone’s Arion Berger as “romantic fatalism”: Blondie’s Parallel Lines. I have been pining for the glamorous while exclusively dressing in well-worn athletic wear and never leaving home. Debbie Harry’s vocals, accompanied by a reading of Kembrew McLeod’s “gloriously revisionist history” (MTV News) of this album, offer a refreshing dose of allure.

Virtual ‘Realities’ in The Velvet Rope

Janet Jackson records image

Ayanna Dozier on Janet Jackson, cyber culture, and more. Technophilia and Technophobia were the rage in the late 1990s. As the approaching new millennia loomed on the horizon, society was facing a technological expansion hitherto experienced before. The internet transformed not only our communicative habits but our awareness of space and time itself, producing what scholar John B. Thompson writes as a space-time distanciation (Thompson 1995). This concept refers to how time, regardless of geographic location, now feels as if it operates on a global simultaneity; we feel like we…

Announcement: New 33 1/3 books + upcoming author take-over!

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Grab your headphones and your reading glasses and settle into your favorite cushy chair, because today marks the publication of 3 new 33 1/3 titles—Suicides’s Suicide, Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope, and Various Artists’ I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen.

Playlist: Back-to-School in 2020

Back to school playlist cover image with album covers

Our own version of a 2020 playlist with a back-to-school twist! Whether you’re online or on campus, you’ll enjoy this mix of music while studying, planning or taking a well-deserved break. Follow our playlist on Spotify or check out this compiled list, and be sure to click the links below to learn more about each artist and order your own 33 1/3.

Video Vault: D’Angelo, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”

Photo of D’Angelo from his music video Untitled

Inspired by our interview on D’Angelo’s Voodoo with Faith Pennick, it’s time to take a closer look at his infamous music video. The video’s featured song “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”won a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 2001 and was named Rolling Stone’s fourth best single of 2000. There’s no denying the deep emotion that D’Angelo can’t contain when he croons this particular song, but I think we can all agree that it was the release of the music video that added new sexy, passionate, breathtaking layers and made his desire come alive.

A discussion on D‘Angelo’s Voodoo

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It’s here! The latest episode of the Bloomsbury Academic Podcast features Faith Pennick (@FaithPennick), author of D’Angelo’s Voodoo, discussing the legacy of the acclaimed 2000 album that skirts all definitive labels.  With not one song under four minutes in length, Voodoo takes its time. It is a leisurely paced work of art backed by a steady beat that does not waver, while lyrics like “And I hoped by chance I’d see you once again / I’d love to kiss your lips, baby, once again” (“One Mo’Gin”) and “I need someone to hold me / Bring me back to life before I’m dead” (“The Root”)…

Celebrating The Raincoats + New Podcast Episode!

The Raincoats’ The Raincoats album cover image

Last week marked the end of a particularly eventful Pride month, but that doesn’t mean the conversations, or celebrations, have to end. Today we are highlighting one of our favorite queer-rebellious-feminist-punk bands of all time: The Raincoats. That’s right, you can now listen to our newest episode of the Bloomsbury Academic Podcast, where we talk to 33 1/3 author Jenn Pelly about this spontaneous and captivating all-female group and the unapologetic music they created.

A Discussion on Tom Petty’s Southern Accents

Tom Petty’s Southern Accents Album cover

Check out the latest episode on the 33 1/3 podcast: Michael Washburn (@WhaleLines), author of Tom Petty’s Southern Accents, discusses Tom Petty’s attempt at a single-concept album on the American South. The 1985 album led to a fall from grace and a subsequent reinvention. Washburn’s book, and the case of Tom Petty, is an appealing study in celebrity, identity, and misrepresentation.   With the exception of the album’s opener “Rebels,” nothing about the album strikes as particularly southern. For reference, “Rebels” hits the listener over the head with a trite description of what it is to be a Rebel…