The best audio guides of 2023, from Bob Dylan to Britney Spears

Tambourine guy: Bob Dylan’s songwriting is explored in two new books – Bettmann

The year’s most riveting tunes ebook came from a stunning resource. ­Britney Spears: The Female in Me ­(Gallery, £25) permits the ­embattled celebrity to inform her possess tale, and it is not a very one particular. Related by Spears with a diploma of understatement that belies her fury, it details how her innocently joyous intuition for pop songs was exploited by both the market and her loved ones to flip her into a funds cow with no manage in excess of her possess life.

Modern fame has claimed numerous victims, but what sets this tragedy apart is that it ends on a notice of redemption, as the victim of cruel abuse receives the closing word. ­Ultimately, it is a tale not so much about new music but of how women are routinely mistreated by the tunes business and the media.

There is a a lot more good narrative in Mary Gabriel’s exhaustive 800-in addition-website page biography Madonna: A Rebel Everyday living (Coronet, £35), which contextualises the reigning female pop superstar in up to date social history, arguing the case for Madonna as a person of the most ­influential feminists of our occasions. A worthy task, albeit academically dry and fawning, it belongs to a wider craze for the more ephemeral features of well known music to be addressed with severe essential fascination. Michael Cragg normally takes a additional light-hearted method to just this kind of subject matter make a difference in Achieve for the Stars (9 Eight Guides, £25), an amusing and ­surprisingly poignant oral ­history of write-up-Britpop bubblegum pop, from the Spice Ladies to S Club 7.

Clinton Heylin adds to the ­countless guides on Bob Dylan previously out there with the ­completion of his mammoth ­revisionist biography The Double Daily life of Bob Dylan: Vol. 2 1996-2021 (Bodley Head, £35). An eccentric, rambling, terrible-tempered e book – as if the writer has been driven half-mad by his issue – it is packed with attention-grabbing facts for rabid Dylanologists. The even heftier Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medication (Callaway, £80), curates extra than 1,000 images and objects from the Bob Dylan Centre in Tulsa. If you want to take a look at the 1st draft of Tangled Up in Blue in Dylan’s little handwriting in a battered old ­notepad, this is the e book for you.

Paul McCartney's photography

Pop artwork: Paul McCartney’s images showcased in an exhibition accompanying the e book 1964: Eyes of the Storm – Paul Grover

The unadorned intimacy of Paul McCartney’s photobook 1964: Eyes of the Storm (Allen Lane, £60) helps make it a handle for Beatles fans. ­Taking a more tangential vacation through pop record, in Residing the Beatles Legend (Mudlark, £25), writer Kenneth Womack dives into the intriguing life of their long-­serving and in the end tragic highway manager Mal Evans. Musician and writer Bob Stanley, in the meantime, usually takes on the endeavor of supplying another typical pop combo the vital biography they ought to have with Bee Gees: Small children of the World (9 8 Guides, £22). He helps make a potent case for the brothers Gibb as pop’s best ever misfits, a band everyone listened to but no a person recognized.

One particular of the year’s most intriguing musical autobiographies is Thurston Moore’s Sonic Daily life (Faber, £20, which skimps on individual perception but dives deep into his obsessional desire in underground audio that in the long run fed into Moore’s have groundbreaking guitar parts for Sonic Youth. An additional fascinating musical outsider, Sly Stone, tells his hair-increasing story in Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) (White Rabbit, £25), but there are also many excuses and not more than enough musical revelation in this glib tale of wasted talent.

Sly Stone

Feeling funky: Sly Stone (pictured in 1969) tells his story in Thank You – Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photographs

Johnny Hard cash is handsomely ­celebrated in The Lifestyle in Lyrics (White Rabbit, £40), but the Man in Black’s profoundly outstanding ­character is far better revealed in its songsheets and pictures than in the hagiographic commentary from authors Mark Stielper and John Carter Hard cash. His previous comrade Willie Nelson proves very great ­company in his very own lyric e-book, Electrical power Follows Considered (William Morrow, £40), giving sharp, humorous, philosophical ­observations on his art. “If partners treatment had been well known when I was coming up as a songwriter, I could not have a profession,” notes the now 90-year-outdated composer of Mad and Funny How Time Slips Absent.

Eventually, for people of an obsessive history collector bent, I advise The Island E book of Data ­Volume 1: 1959-68 by Neil Storey (Manchester University Push, £85), an impressively curated, forensically detailed collection of history sleeves, recording data and eccentric recollections from the great independent British label in its ska and soul infancy. I loved it immensely, even although the tale finishes before Island reached its finest heights in the 1970s. I appear forward to Quantity 2.


Neil McCormick is main audio critic of The Telegraph. To buy these publications (with a price cut on any titles over £9.99) call 0844 871 1514 or take a look at publications.telegraph.co.uk/xmas

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