Fifty Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives
What is it about that one stirring album that makes a home in us? Tom Gatti, deputy editor of the British political and cultural magazine The New Statesman, investigates the mystery of such beloved recordings in his new book Long Players: Writers on the Albums That Shaped Them (Bloomsbury). In it, he sets the stage by navigating the album’s material evolution, from the golden years of vinyl to the streaming age, then passes the mic to the book’s fifty contributors—novelists, poets, and critics among them—who describe their encounters with their favorite euphonic compilations via short-form personal essays. Readers learn how R.E.M.’s “Automatic for the People” transports Olivia Laing to her first love, why Yes’s “Fragile” prompted George Saunders to forge his own creative path, and how Björk’s “Post” helped a young Marlon James resolve a crisis of sexuality and faith. Each composition blurs the line between memoir and music writing while demonstrating a song’s ability to carry a listener to another place and time.