I read the 33 1/3 Series book on Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea on an airplane over the – uh – dirt (and some sea) recently.
To say that the record is significant is an understatement. No more needs to be written on it; it needs to be listened to. (I will add, very briefly, that when in the process of unsuccessfully attempting to license the record for release in the UK, I got to know Jeff Mangum a bit – many phone calls, a few in-persons – and he was one of the more self-effacing, genuinely kind geniuses I’ve had the pleasure of meeting).
In any case, while nothing more really does need to be written on the record, the above-referenced book is good. The author, Kim Cooper, wisely doesn’t attempt too much exegesis on the record. Instead, he focuses on the circumstances leading up to the record, the furor around the release/tour, and a bit (just a bit, thankfully) on Jeff’s “disappearance” post-tour.
If you’re a fan, you’ll like it (or hate it).
What hit me the hardest was the quote from band-member, Julian Koster, below.