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Our Pride Month Reading List

Celebrate this Pride Month with some of our favorite queer icons in music! We’ve picked out four classic 33 1/3s for you, including a behind-the-scenes look at The Raincoats with Jenn Pelly. Browse our full Pride Month Reading List for free digital resources and more discounted books, and check out these featured episodes of the Bloomsbury Academic Podcast for more conversations on gender, sexuality, and identity.

Get 35% off when you use code Pride21 at checkout, offer available on bloomsbury.com through the end of June.

In this short book – the first on the Raincoats – author Jenn Pelly tells the story of the group’s audacious debut album, which Kurt Cobain once called “wonderfully classic scripture.” Pelly builds on rare archival materials and extensive interviews with members of the Raincoats, Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, Hole, Scritti Politti, Gang of Four, and more. She draws formal inspiration from the collage-like The Raincoats itself to explore this album’s magic, vulnerability, and strength.

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Transformer, Lou Reed’s most enduringly popular album, is described with varying labels: it’s often called a glam rock album, a proto-punk album, a commercial breakthrough for Lou Reed, and an album about being gay. And yet, it doesn’t neatly fit into any of these descriptors. Buried underneath the radio-friendly exterior lie coded confessions of the subversive, wounded intelligence that gives this album its staying power as a work of art. 

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Can one album shoot down a star? No, argues Matthew Restall; Blue Moves is a four-sided masterpiece, as fantastic as Captain Fantastic, as colorful as Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, a showcase for the three elements–piano-playing troubadour, full orchestra, rock band–with which Elton John and his collaborators redirected the evolution of popular music. Instead, both album and career were derailed by a perfect storm of circumstances: Elton’s decisions to stop touring and start his own label; the turbulent shiftings of popular culture in the punk era; the minefield of attitudes toward celebrity and sexuality. The closer we get to Blue Moves, the better we understand the world into which it was born.

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This book sets out to study this mid-90s crossover phenomenon-a moment of cultural convergence between Christian and secular music and an era of particular political importance for American evangelicalism. Written by two queer scholars with evangelical pasts, Jesus Freak explores the importance of a multifarious album with complex ideas about race, sexuality, gender, and politics-an album where dc Talk wonders, “What will people do when they hear that I’m a Jesus freak?” and evangelical fans stake a claim for Christ-like coolness in a secular musical world.

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