Alison's Reviews > Songbook

Songbook by Nick Hornby
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's review
Jun 29, 2008

liked it
Recommended for: music lovers, Hornby lovers (is there a difference?)
Read on April 12, 2010

A couple of times a year I make myself a tape to play in the car, a tape full of all the new songs I've loved over the previous few months, and every time I finish one I can't believe they'll be another. Yet there always is, and I can't wait for the next one; you need only a few hundred more things like that, and you've got a life worth living.

I love Nick Hornby. I love his voice. And I love that he's so neurotically obsessive about the things that he loves.

Here he dissects 31 of his favorite songs. I have a hard time believing that these are his actual favorite 31 songs. I felt like they were 31 good lead-ins to 31 essays, in a way. He had some points to make about music, and these particular songs, or artists helped to illustrate them.

I was most intrigued by the song "notes." I looked up each one on You Tube so that I could hear them as I read. He listed pretty specific details on some, and it was fun to catch on to what he was talking about. I was introduced to some songs and artists I'd never heard. Some struck a chord with me, some didn't. I made a list of some I'd like to hear again. (OK music freaks, I know you want about Rufus Wainwright doing "One Man Guy"...or "Caravan" by Van Morrison?)

Hornby here writes like a magazine music critic. He likes to explain the "why" behind a song. He reminds me of a Biology professor, carefully dissecting a frog. There's a nerd, and a poet within him.

Only three stars because there were some uninteresting parts (did I really need a whole essay about why Los Lobos makes a good boxed set, but not Stevie Nicks? Aren't boxed sets already dated anyway, in this day of digital downloads?) But there were some highs, too, including Hornby devoting an essay to the musical interests of his autistic son--a very tender moment. Love you, Nick! You can make me a mix anyday.
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02/07/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Todd (new)

Todd not sure why I've never read this book. sounds right down my ali. nice review by you. fyi i've been listening to van morrison's "caravan" a lot lately.

Alison Here's the list of songs that made my cut...

your love is the place where i come from--Teenage Fanclub (Lost in Translation!!)
Led Zeppelin - Heartbreaker
Rufus Wainwright - One Man Guy
Santana. Samba Pa Ti
rain the beatles
Ani DiFranco "You Had Time"
i've had it aimee mann
Born for Me (Paul Westerberg)
A Minor Incident - Badly Drawn Boy
caravan van morrison
IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS Reasons To Be Cheerful (pt 3)
Richard Thompson Calvary Cross live
Rahsaan Patterson 'Stop Breaking My Heart'
O V WRIGHT Let's straighten it out

message 3: by Todd (new)

Todd ok. some surprises there. can you believe i'm not familiar with that paul westerberg song?

*sigh* aimee mann.. that's so "us."

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