Customer Reviews


31 Reviews
5 star:
 (9)
4 star:
 (12)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Does Music Mean To You?
What a great book. I cant explain how much it means to read honest, insightful and funny thoughts about music. But if music is your bread & butter (& jam) then you'll read it and just get it.
The chapters are song titles, but Hornby’s book is less like 31 song reviews, and more like a collection of essays about what music means and has meant to him, and how he...
Published on 7 Jan 2004 by N. Connor

versus
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment..
After the music content and opinions expressed in the fantastic High Fidelity I was expecting great things from this, but unfortunately was left feeling rather let down. My main gripe being that he appears to have given up the ghost and rather than attempt to keep up with new music/bands, uses that terrible 'I'm too old to listen to this type of music' cliche, beloved of...
Published on 3 Mar 2004 by Dave High


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Does Music Mean To You?, 7 Jan 2004
By 
N. Connor "Polythene P" (Seattle) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 31 Songs (Paperback)
What a great book. I cant explain how much it means to read honest, insightful and funny thoughts about music. But if music is your bread & butter (& jam) then you'll read it and just get it.
The chapters are song titles, but Hornby’s book is less like 31 song reviews, and more like a collection of essays about what music means and has meant to him, and how he has evolved musically. This is a passionate man who makes a lot of sense. As well as exploring a big bag of beautiful, personal, classic tunes that have shaped his musical development & generally made life more enjoyable, he talks about the value of a good pop song, puts musical intellectuals in their place, and admits to all kinds of uncool favourites. Cant really say more except, read it. If you're a happy music addict, you look back fondly at all the stuff you used to like, the stuff you didn’t used to like but now do, and now look forward to all the great stuff you’ve yet to hear and love - this book is for you. Thank you NH.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Singin' Him His Song..., 22 Jan 2004
By 
Jenni Doherty (Derry, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 31 Songs (Paperback)
“Songs are what I listen to, almost to the exclusion of everything else. I don’t listen to classical music or jazz very often, and when people ask me what music I like, I find it very difficult to reply, because they usually want names of people, and I can only give them song titles”.
So began the illustrious gathering of 31 songs – most of them loved, some of them once loved and all of them significant to Nick Hornby. They begin with Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Your Love Is In The Place Where I Come From’, ending with Patti Smith’s ‘Pissing In A River’, and encompassing singers as varied as Van Morrison and Nelly Furtado, songs as different as ‘Thunder Road’ and ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’ (reggae style). He discusses, among other things, guitar solos and singers whose teeth whistle, and the sort of music you hear in ‘The Body Shop’.
The mind of a musician is a difficult one to fathom, that of a music fan is even more so. Hornby lists his favourite songs and albums, by way of anecdotal explanation, and describes just what it is about music that stirs the blood in his trademark succinct and sparse fashion. He reveals intimate details about his family with touching references to his autistic son and his hope and fears for his future.
We might not agree with Hornby’s eclectic song choices, but will be more likely to side with his topography of the musical mind. He is unashamed in his adulation of songwriters, and admits that he writes books because he cannot write music: “Maybe it’s only songwriters who have ever had any inkling of what Jesus felt like on a bad day”. Hornby loves the relationship that anyone has with music: “because there’s something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out”. This is as good an attempt as you’re likely to get. It is at best interesting and informative, as well as entertaining, and will have you humming by the final page. I have to admit I knew only of half the musical material written about. Maybe, and if it ever goes into reprint, a complimentary CD will be supplied. Apparently, some National Sunday newspapers are doing this already…
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What music means to Nick Hornby..., 15 Jan 2004
By 
Peter Fenelon - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 31 Songs (Paperback)
We already know Hornby's a music obsessive - it would've been impossible to write High Fidelity otherwise - but rather than Rob's obsessive cataloguing, this book presents Hornby's own reactions to some of his favourite songs.
It's not really a music book, as such - although he says a fair bit about the artists and the songs, what Hornby's really exploring in this book is how particular songs have influenced, evoked and helped him remember particular parts of his life - it's about the assocations music makes with his memories and emotions, and as such is actually more of an autobiography.
The style is light and readable, as you'd expect from Hornby, and the choice of tracks just surprising enough to keep you reading.
There are few shocking insights here, quite a few laughs and a few poignant moments, and a good slice of pop-cultural memories. It's fun, nostalgic, entertaining, and you'll have lots of fun arguing over which tracks you would've put into your own version!
Solid entertainment from a writer who understands just how music can take you back to a particular time, place and mood.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A kinder, gentler Fever Pitch, 5 Dec 2003
By 
HifiGuy (North Andover, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 31 Songs (Paperback)
I read Songbook (the US version of 31 Songs) before a trip to the UK, and Fever Pitch (that I picked up at Harrod's) on the flight home. It's a similarly personal, almost autobiographical, book, but 31 Songs is obviously a more mature work, at least in tone. He's now ten years on from the man he was when he wrote Fever Pitch, and the depth of feeling about the songs, his experiences (particularly when writing about his son, and his friend the record store owner) is far more profound than his description of his football mania. But no less hilarious, frequently. Another fine work from one of my favorite contemporary writers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest, unpretentious book about music and life, 23 May 2004
This review is from: 31 Songs (Paperback)
Half of the songs in this book I'd never heard of, but it didn't matter. These are 31 songs that Nick Hornby wanted to tell us about, and I'm glad he did. For anyone that has loved any kind of music this wont disappoint. It feels very personal as he talks about why he's loved music through his life, from the songs he listened to as a boy to the songs his autistic son listens to now. It's also very funny in parts, have a read of 'Needle In A Haystack' by The Velvelettes.

When I used to read the NME in the eighties, I always enjoyed when the reviewer would stop talking about the band or singer and talk about the emotion and feeling that their music stirred up. 31 songs does this beautifully. I started by reading the artists I liked first, thinking I'll save The J. Geills Band for another time (all I knew by them was 'Centrefold'). After a few of the songs though, you dont really care what music it is to a certain degree, he writes so well.

I was becoming too busy to listen to the music I loved, but after reading this I'm going to find a bit more time. It is as engaging as his novels, I found it quite inspiring in parts, 31 musical 'thought for the days' that can be as meaningful or as meaningless as you like, but always passionate and entertaining.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good read, 1 Dec 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: 31 Songs (Paperback)
31 Songs consists of essays about songs that Nick Hornby loves. As always he is an easy read. He and I are the same age, so its fascinating to find out what he listened to growing up. He has listened to a lot of music and he writes about English middle class life in a blokish way that seems both recognisable and true.
His selections from the ‘60s and ‘70s includes tracks by the Beatles, Zeppelin, Rod Stewart, Jackson Browne, Springsteen, Richard Thompson, J. Geils Band, Santana, Van Morrison and Dylan. From the punk era he selects Patti Smith and Ian Dury. He also name checks REM, Clash, Costello and The Smiths. It’s stuff that rock critics are supposed to like. He has no embarrassing duds in his selection.
As he explains in the book, in the early 1970s rock music in the UK was an underground music and difficult to hear. The BBC had two DJs who were meant to play cutting edge stuff in the early 1970s, John Peel and Bob Harris. Although highly regarded today, they seemed at the time to be a pair of out-of-touch stoners. Most of us learned about new music by word of mouth, the NME, Melody Maker and by swapping albums.
He claims to have never liked prog-rock which is surprising. Although they may deny it now, between 1971 and 1975 everybody seemed fond of either Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, Tangerine Dream, King Crimson or Caravan.
He notes that not many people of his age are still listening to rock music. For many rock music stopped evolving in the late 1970s and numerous heavily hyped British bands since then have seemed like false prophets regurgitating old licks.
His recent favourites include Aimee Mann, Ben Folds Five, Rufus Wainwright and Badly Drawn Boy. It is music I also like, own and enjoy. But it is also gentle, safe and rather low key. He seems more interested in the words than the music.
Hornby is an intelligent writer and this is a very enjoyable book. He has lots of opinions, he made me think about music and how my taste has evolved over time. He also includes essays on artists I knew nothing about, who are probably worth checking out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment.., 3 Mar 2004
By 
Dave High (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 31 Songs (Paperback)
After the music content and opinions expressed in the fantastic High Fidelity I was expecting great things from this, but unfortunately was left feeling rather let down. My main gripe being that he appears to have given up the ghost and rather than attempt to keep up with new music/bands, uses that terrible 'I'm too old to listen to this type of music' cliche, beloved of far too many over 40's. As someone fast approaching 40 myself, and still buying and enjoying anything and everything, I found it all sadly predictable. His dismissal of loving songs because of the memories they evoke as well, I found hard to agree with.One of the great things about listening to music is the way that a particular song can instantly transport you back to a certain moment in your life, sometimes with startling clarity. The songs he picked I can't fault, as I myself am guilty of a few secret, embarrassing favourites (Theme from 'White Horses' by Jackie Lee, anybody!)and obviously this is all about personal taste. Overall, it proves that Nick Hornby is a great writer, but by allowing his musical tastes to become so predictably middle aged, is not much of a music scribe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 Mar 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: 31 Songs (Hardcover)
A very disappointing book. Extremely short (I read it in a couple of hours) it also doesn't actually contain much about the songs themselves, only a series of diatribes by Nick Hornby about stuff that annoys him. This should have been a magazine article, not a book. Avoid.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 31 Songs: A Book That Could Change The Way You Look At Music, 3 Mar 2003
This review is from: 31 Songs (Hardcover)
I've always been a firm believer in the fact that you can tell a lot about a person by their record collection, and my beliefs have been affirmed in this book. In '31 Songs', Nick Hornby (Author of Fever Pitch, High Fidelity and About a Boy) opens himself up to the reader in a frank and honest way. The book chronicles 31 Songs that have inspired him over the years and why they mean so much to him, from a particularly special book launch through to a love of incurable and relentless bohemianism, with the perfect song to lose one's virginity to and a film soundtrack in between. It is not only funny, as we have come to expect from Hornby's work and his particular take on life, but also touching in places. This is a lovely and insightful glimpse into the very soul of a writer, and although these would not be my 31 songs, it has made me want to go and listen to every one of his songs, just so that i know.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun, 15 Mar 2007
By 
This review is from: 31 Songs (Paperback)
I enjoyed this light hearted review of 31 Songs that had touched the life of Nick Hornby who is obviously a very talented writer and a knowledgeable music fan. The section on Santana's "Samba Pa Ti" is particularly amusing, as is the essay on Bob Dylan where the author begins by stating that he is not a big fan, but then realises that he has 20 of his albums (sound familiar?). But there is a sadder tone too with the references to Hornby's son and his moving attempts to communicate through music.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xaf60315c)

This product

31 Songs
31 Songs by Nick Hornby (Hardcover - 27 Feb 2003)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews