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33 1/3 series releases list of 2014 book/album proposals

March 14, 2014

This is “What’s Making Me Happy This Week,” a weekly feature inspired by the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

What’s Making Me Happy This Week is the list of book proposals received and released by the folks who put out my beloved 33-1/3 books. The complete list includes 410 proposals, though the actual number of albums is a little less than that because a few albums were submitted by more than one author. There are two reasons this list makes me happy: (1) it’s fun to just scroll through the list and smile or laugh at some of the albums that people want to write a book about, and (2) there’s the hope that some of these may make it into book form, which in many cases has me excited. Here a list of 20 proposals that, if done right, I’d almost certainly likely read if they were published as 33-1/3 books, and 10 that I would never ever consider. (Links to artists are generally to previous 2bitmonkey posts about the artist, unrelated to the specific record.)

33-1/3 proposals I hope are turned into books:

  • “Alligator” – The National. Yes, it’s true, I’d probably read anything written about the National. But I actually think this is a book that should be chosen. There isn’t any literature out there at all about these guys – I feel that despite their success, not much is really known about them at all. If the 33-1/3 team decides to green light one post-2000 indie album, this would be a great choice.
  • “Celebrity Skin” – Hole. This is tricky. A book about Celebrity Skin can be excellent or terrible, depending on the execution. It’s worth the 33-1-3 treatment.
  • “Cheap Thrills” – Big Brother & the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin).
  • “Combat Rock” – The Clash. London Calling is more obvious, but this is actually the first Clash album I owned and the one I wore out growing up.
  • “Dog Man Star” – Suede. Proposed by different authors. Suede is lost to the passage of time but this was a great album when it came out.
  • “Fever to Tell” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I’d read this in a heartbeat, though I think it’s a little too soon to look back on this one.
  • “God Shuffled His Feet” – Crash Test Dummies. There’s an argument that this should go in the next list, but I think curiosity would kill me here. What an one possibly write about this album? Mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm.
  • “Gossamer” – Passion Pit. I’m so happy that this was proposed. I suspect there’s zero chance it gets chosen due to its recency, but as someone who once wrote over 2000 words in reaction to Gossamer I am 100% behind it.
  • “LCD Soundsystem” – LCD Soundsystem. I know I said this about Alligator, but this would be the other great choice if the 33-1/3 team decides to green light one post-2000 indie album. “Losing My Edge” (which I once wrote about) deserves a chapter on its own and LCD Soundsystem was a (relatively) groundbreaking album.
  • “Like a Prayer” – Madonna. This one got 2 proposals. I wouldn’t mind reading 150 or so pages pages on this controversial record from the Material Girl.
  • “London Calling” – The Clash. Also 2 proposals. Seems like a given that this will get the 33-1/3 treatment eventually.
  • “Mutations” – Beck. Interesting choice for a Beck album. I like it.
  • “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” – The Sex Pistols. See “London Calling” – The Clash.
  • “Odelay” – Beck. More obvious Beck choice. As evidenced by the 3 proposing authors.
  • “Pinkerton” – Weezer. Two different authors proposed this, which is interesting considering what a polarizing album Pinkerton is. A relative commercial disappointment upon release, with luke-warm critical response at best (and some critics really hated it). Years later re-considered and now universally ranked one of the best albums of the ’90s. Pinkerton would make a fascinating case study.
  • “She’s So Unusual” –  Cyndi Lauper. I want to read about Captain Lou Albano.
  • “Stop Making Sense” – Talking Heads.
  • “Superfuzz Bigmuff” – Mudhoney. The forgotten grunge band with the excellent debut EP. Mudhoney deserves their due.
  • “The Monitor” – Titus Andronicus. The Monitor is a concept album based on the American Civil War. There’s a lot that can be done with this one.
  • “Theatre Is Evil” – Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra. The record financed by a Kickstarter campaign. At one point prior to the proposal deadline I was noodling about which non-obvious album would make for a great 33-1/3 book. This is the one I thought of.

33-1/3 proposals I would never ever EVER read:

  • “13 Songs”, “In on the Kill” or “The Argument Proposal” – Fugazi. Ian MacKaye’s holier than thou straight-edge dogma makes me want to hurl.
  • “Blackout” – Britney Spears. Aren’t her 15 minutes more than up?
  • “Hangin’ Tough” – New Kids on the Block. Who is the target audience here? Tweens in the late ’80s? Can you sell books in a time machine?
  • “Machina / the machines of God” or “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” – Smashing Pumpkins. Let the pretentious titles of these albums be an indication of why I wouldn’t read these. Machina got two proposals.
  • “No Code” – Pearl Jam. Not Ten? Not Vs.? Not Vitalogy? I’d think it was weird that this was the only Pearl Jam album proposed, but how about that it was proposed twice! This literally makes no sense.
  • “Sam’s Town” – The Killers. Try and find meaning in the vapid lyrics of Brandon Flowers. I like Sam’s Town, but it would make for an awful book subject.
  • “Shaq Fu: Da Return” – Shaquille O’Neal. Ha ha. This is really on the list.
  • “Songs of Faith and Devotion” – Depeche Mode. Violator was proposed twice, and while I wouldn’t rush to read that one I wouldn’t necessarily rule it out either. Songs of Faith and Devotion is so dated, so out of place in the Depeche Mode canon, I don’t know what the point of this book would be.

Notwithstanding my feelings towards Ian MacKaye, Billy Corgan and Brandon Flowers, this list was a pleasure to read through and has my hopes high for this already fantastic series.

And That’s What’s Making Me Happy This Week.

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