Synopses & Reviews
Thirty-Three and a Third is a series of short books about critically acclaimed
and much-loved albums of the past 40 years. Over 50,000 copies have been sold!
"Passionate, obsessive, and smart." —Nylon
"...an inspired new series of short books about beloved works of vinyl." —Details
Nicholas Rombes is an English professor at the
University of Detroit Mercy, where he teaches and
writes about film, music, and pop culture. His writing
has appeared in a range of journals and magazines,
including Exquisite Corpse (edited by Andrei Codrescu)
and McSweeney's. He is also the editor of the
forthcoming book Post-Punk Cinema.
What could be more punk rock than a band that never changed, a band that for decades punched out three-minute powerhouses in the style that made them famous? The Ramones' repetition and attitude inspired a genre, and Ramones set its tone. Nicholas Rombes examines punk history, with the recording of Ramones at its core, in this inspiring and thoroughly researched justification of his obsession with the album.
When I sat down to write about the album's opening song, "Blitzkreig Bop," my first line was "This is the best opening song to any rock album." Then I decided that sounded too creepily fanatic and more than a little disingenuous, since I haven't heard every rock album ever made, and I took it out. But then I went downstairs to the turntable and played it and midway through ran back upstairs and put the line back in even before the screensaver clicked in. Here's why: "Blitzkrieg Bop" succeeds not only as a song in its own right, but also as a promise kept. The songs that follow live up to the speed, humor, menace, absurdity, and mystery of that first song, whose opening lines "Hey ho, let's go" offer not so much a warning as an invitation to the listener, an invitation and a threat that the song isn't a fluke or a one-off, but that it sets the stage for an entire album that will be fast and loud.
"It was only a matter of time before a clever publisher realized that there is an audience for whom Exile on Main Street or Electric Ladyland are as significant and worthy of study as The Catcher in the Rye or Middlemarch. The series... is freewheeling and eclectic, ranging from minute rock-geek analysis to idiosyncratic personal celebration." The New York Times Book Review
"Ideal for the rock geek who thinks liner notes just aren't enough." Rolling Stone
"One of the coolest publishing imprints on the planet." Bookslut
"These are for the insane collectors out there who appreciate fantastic design, well-executed thinking, and things that make your house look cool. Each volume in this series takes a seminal album and breaks it down in startling minutiae. We love these. We are huge nerds." Vice
"A brilliant series... each one a word of real love." NME
"Passionate, obsessive, and smart." Nylon
"Religious tracts for the rock 'n' roll faithful." Uncut
"We... aren't naive enough to think that we're your only source for reading about music (but if we had our way... watch out). For those of you who really like to know everything there is to know about an album, you'd do well to check out Continuum's 33 1/3 series of books." Pitchfork
Thirty-Three and a Third is a series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the past 40 years. Over 50,000 copies have been sold.
33 1/3 is a series of short books about a wide variety of albums, by artists ranging from James Brown to the Beastie Boys. Launched in September 2003, the series now contains over 50 titles and is acclaimed and loved by fans, musicians and scholars alike.
About the Author
Nicholas Rombes is an English professor at the University of Detroit Mercy, where he teaches and writes about film, music, and pop culture. His writing has appeared in a range of journals and magazines, including Exquisite Corpse, (edited by Andrei Codrescu) and McSweeney's. He is also the editor of the forthcoming book Post-Punk Cinema.