A small update

Just a quick one… This has come up a few times in the comments to the previous post – while we love reading the requests, shout-outs, wishlists, plugs, and Foxisms, they don’t influence the decision-making process in any way. (OK maybe they do, but only very very slightly!)

The whole shebang would be an awful lot simpler if all of the proposals had the exact same level of quality, but they don’t. They vary, a lot. So are we going purely on quality, then? Well, no. Because if the 20 most brilliant proposals are all for indie-rock albums of the last decade, that would throw the series off balance. There are compromises involved, and trade-offs. You can’t please everyone all of the time. Life isn’t fair. Etc, etc.

Anyhow, the main thing is, it’s fun! I read the first 25 proposals last night, and just want to thank everyone, again, for sending these in.

FURTHER UPDATE: Of the 597 proposals, 75 were written by women – 12.5%, pretty much.

FURTHER FURTHER UPDATE: I’ve read 90 of the proposals so far, and 24 have made their way into my “shortlist” file. If the quality keeps going at this rate, that list won’t be quite as short as I’d hoped…(Note: we’re not informing anyone of any decisions yet, as I’ll have one more trawl through the entire lot before finalising the shortlist, just to make sure nothing gets missed.)


  1. Will you publish the shortlist of 100, once you’ve whittled the proposals down that far? Or will you just write to the unsuccessful proposers, once the final choice of 20 has been made?

  2. Anon #1 – yes, we’ll publish the shortlist, when we get to that point. (Having emailed the unsuccessful proposers first.)Anon #2 – I was thinking about doing that this evening, counting up the number of proposals from women, so we’ll see if I can get that done. (With the slight caveat, of course, that not everybody’s name is 100% gender-specific…)

  3. Please see my blog post, David, on women. I’m Brian m and I really think it is important that women are bettwr represented this time.Good luck with reading through this lot and well done!Brian.

  4. What?! I’m not a sexist pig, but it makes no difference to me whether a man or woman writes about a Beatles or Radiohead record. True, a female perspective may come in handy when examining something like the Liz Phair record, but otherwise, this shouldn’t be about gender politics; it should be about MUSIC.

  5. Sorry to upset anyone – all I wanted to point out in the original comment was that in the first 60-odd books published, only 5 or 6 were by female authors. It’s about books and publishing as well as music. Of course, it doesn’t matter whether a male/ female writes a book, but when the overall representation of female authors is around the 10% mark, I just feel – along with others on this blog – that it needed highlighting, that’s all! Sorry – I honestly didn’t mean to get political! :-X:)b

  6. Remember, commenters — our ‘investment’ is only in the time and effort to draft a proposal and/or our interest in (and purchase of!!!) titles in the 33.3 series. We all want this series to be as good as it possibly can, but David and Continuum have the largest share of the risk. In trying to compile a (wish) list of the titles I’d like to read, a lot of my choices came from a desire to read a great book about the subject — even if I didn’t like that particular album or even listen to much of their music. It’s the story, and the telling of it. (And right now I’m totally enjoying the new Flying Burrito Brothers book.)So ultimately, if YOU were choosing, no matter HOW much you personally love the Starland Vocal Band or whatever, if the proposal about said love object lacks beauty, clarity and strength of purpose, then it should be on to the next one…33.3 has at least succeeded where other ‘small books about music’ have come out, with big plans for more, then fizzled.cheers and happy chilly new year,D

  7. Anonymous said… What?! I’m not a sexist pig, but it makes no difference to me whether a man or woman writes about a Beatles or Radiohead record. True, a female perspective may come in handy when examining something like the Liz Phair record, but otherwise, this shouldn’t be about gender politics; it should be about MUSIC.With all due respect “Anonymous” (if that is your real name) the 33.3 project is a successful one because it is NOT just about music, it is about PERSPECTIVE. As a middle-aged white American male, I would INFINITELY rather read an African American, or foreign, or female take on my favorite records. I am well aware that I am oversimplifying, but I already know what people like me think of Pet Sounds. I want to see what a 20-something year-old woman thinks about Pet Sounds. I want to read a Hip Hop fan’s thoughts on Pet Sounds. I want to see someone who was raised in Japan hears when they listen to Pet Sounds. I want to read about Pet Sounds from a gay perpective, or a teen perspective or a deaf perspective … anything but the same old white male perspective.I would really like it if this wave of books did more to broaden the perspective of the authors.

  8. affirmative to know there were so many proposals submitted. encouraging folks to leave hints supporting their proposals seems wasteful energy-wise. the proposals should speak, read, feel for themselves. you are knowing enough to decide on proposals without tidbits of self-promotion.

  9. Started with the Zombies and working my way back up the alphabet, but might switch around at some point and maybe meet in the middle, somewhere around Mary Margaret O’Hara.

  10. 597 yes! this is a community. a tribe. there would seem to be enough humyn passion around the series to have a conference, convention, gathering. my sense is that there will be more good to great proposals than you are able to publish. maybe such an event could be a forum for 1) unpublished but worthy works 2) updates on existing works 3) anything and everything you and the 33 1/3 tribe want it to be. sounds and visions in love of music abounding…

  11. Anon: don’t mean to be weird or anal about this, but I’d rather not comment on any specific proposals on here – hope you understand. But no, it wasn’t sent in by Tweedy 🙂

  12. David: just wonder…. have proposals either current ones or past ones caused you to go and pull an album off the shelf (or pick up a copy) and maybe connect or reconnect with them? any that you care to mention (maybe from past proposal lots so as to not say anything about the current batch)…

  13. Iren – it happens a lot, and it’s one of the best things for me (selfishly) about this process. Just from the proposals I’ve read so far (and this has no relation to whether or not they’ll make the shortlist – they just reminded me of how much I loved these albums years ago, or suggested how much I might love an album I’ve never heard), I’ve been re/connecting with “Colossal Youth”, “Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol 2)”, “Dust Bowl Ballads”, “Chocolate and Cheese”, “Warren Zevon”, “Something/Anything”, and “Songs from the Big Chair”.

  14. When noting the percentage of titles in the series written by women, it might also be pertinent to note the number of past submissions by women, a factor we know nothing of. May the best proposals win, regardless of gender.

  15. It's fun to read these posts, but I sure hope the series doesn't go too far down the path of small, indie cult bands that most people haven't even heard of. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it…For what it's worth, I like the idea of a book on S&G's Bridge Over Troubled Water or Cat Stevens' Tea for the Tillerman. I'd also like to see a Motorhead book, but surprisingly there doesn't seem to be a proposal for one.

  16. “It’s fun to read these posts, but I sure hope the series doesn’t go too far down the path of small, indie cult bands that most people haven’t even heard of.If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it…”But this is changing though — there’s been a lot of discussion around the internet about us internet types confusing what’s big in our world with what’s big in the ‘real world.’ Most of this discussion, lately, has been revolving around the new Animal Collective album. Here’s the thing though — the people who run real world media outlets start to see enough internet buzz, albums spill over into the ‘real world.’ The new Animal Collective album doesn’t sound too much like a popular album (though it’s a fantastic album) but here it is, getting glowing reviews from some of the world’s biggest newspapers and, lo and behold, it debuted at number 26 on the UK album charts. I guess what I’m getting at, basically, is that the idea of indie cult bands is becoming less relevant as the mainstream gradually pays more and more attention to what the trendsetter types on the internet are listening to…

  17. If we apply the aesthetic criteria of modernist avant-gardes that Animal Collective rubbish would have to count as art … Philip Jeck – there’s a dude who knows his rubbish. Artfully.

  18. Here’s a question for David, if he feels like responding to it: what books in the series were most mentioned as ‘models’ for the proposed book?My guess would be Carl Wilson’s Celine Dion book as the most-mentioned, but maybe not?

  19. Pseudo: Good question, and sorry for the delay in responding. Yes, the 33 1/3 cited as an influence / model by most has been Carl Wilson’s book. Behind that, strong showings by the volumes on the Beastie Boys, Bowie, Led Zeppelin, James Brown, and the Kinks.

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