Book Review || Long Players by Tom Gatti

Friday, October 15, 2021


Long Players
Writers on the Albums that Shaped Them
Tom Gatti
3rd August 2021

This was actually a really lovely read, not just because of getting to read the reminiscences of others about their lives and the music that has influenced them, but because it encouraged my own nostalgia to the fore. I haven't been very heavily into music for a few years now - for a few reasons, the predominant one being the death of one of my favourite artists, others being things like my health and brain not seeming to process music in the same way to other people (or so it seemed to me), and then finally, just not often having the patience for much more than the lofi mixes you can find on YouTube.

When I think about the music that shines out from my own timeline, I can't help but start with Savage Garden. I was still just a kid - seven years old - when their self-titled album came out, and I was immediately hooked. I still have memories of dancing around my living room and singing along to all the lyrics (an act which, 20-something years later, I am somewhat shocked by). Both of their albums stayed with me for years - I can picture both now, even the fact that one has a huge crack along the plastic cover from some misadventure or another. My love of their music has always remained, and I still go through periods of time where I listen to 'I Want You', 'Break Me Shake Me', and 'Tears of Pearls'. My Mum holds onto the discs now - she was always a fan, too, though she didn't get into Darren Hayes' (Savage Garden's lead singer) later works as much as I did. I even still own the vinyl of Hayes' Secret Codes and Battleships, despite not currently owning a turntable.

Anyway, back to the book. Though you can kind of see how much this book made me think. I felt like I was sitting down with a bunch of people, each who were politely taking their turn to talk to me about music, and it was fascinating to listen to. Some of the pieces I just read straight through without stopping; others I would need to pause and consider for a while before moving on. When David Mitchell spoke about 'A Case of You' from Joni Mitchell's Blue, I suddenly remembered k.d. lang's cover on Hymns of the 49th Parallel, and how much I adored it. I then had to take a break to listen to lang's cover, and then go back and listen to Mitchell's, and the difference is amazing. I was left quite emotional by the experience, and I lack the words really to describe it.

Ultimately, this book is quite a small one, which you can choose to spend a lot of time with, or just a little. But, at least in my experience of it, it leaves you with a sense of thoughtfulness and nostalgia, which I am actually just really enjoying right now. I might have to go back and listen to some more things from my past. This book might have nudged me a little further back into the musical world.

7/10 turntables a-spinnin'.

{I received a review copy of this book from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own. Thank you!!}

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