Monday, September 28, 2015

Review of 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die by Ricardo Cavolo

101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die
by Ricardo Cavolo
232 Pages
Publisher: Nobrow Press

A graphic novel in the form of Ricardo Cavolo’s personal diary, which follows the story of music through 101 essential artists; from Bach to Radiohead, to Amy Winehouse, Nirvana and Daft Punk. With over one hundred uniquely colorful illustrations and handwritten text, lists, notes, and personal anecdotes this is a book to delight in.

Like with just about every Nobrow book, this is not going to be a review as much as a rave session about how amazing this book is. What I don't get is how I have never disliked a book by this publisher, and I have read a good amount of books by them. No complaints though.

This is probably my favorite graphic novel (if it even counts as that) that I have ever read. It was just a diary about music. This book brought two of my favorite things, graphic novels and music, together into one amazing book. I cant even begin to fathom how much time and effort Cavolo spent writing this. I am honestly just blown away by it. 

The art in this was very stylized, but in a way I have never seen. It was like each drawing was a tattoo, and I appreciated it so much. Cavolo really captured the artists inside and out through one drawing, while still keeping his personal thoughts on them extremely apparent. 

The way that I would recommend reading this book is the way that I feel it should be read. Let me lay this down for you. You look at the page, and notice the artist. Then briefly scan the page for a song title that is mentioned. After that, go to Youtube, and find that song. Play it while you're reading the page, so you really understand what Cavolo was hears. Once you finish the page, don't move onto another artist until you have finished the song. It takes a lot longer to read the book this way, but a book like this doesn't come around too often, so it should be appreciated. 

I read the entire book this way, and I really fell in love with it. I felt really hip when I knew some of the more obscure artists (ANIMAL COLLECTIVE!!!), but I also found some artists that I never expected that I would like. After listening to "In the Port of Amsterdam" by Jacques Brel, I listened to him for like three days straight. I had no idea what he was saying, but I knew I liked it a lot. 

You really need to go into this book with a completely open mind. It has such a wide variety of genres that if you only listen to the music of one, you're really missing out. Cavolo mentions from classical to blue to garage to psychedelic; you need to go on the spiritual journey  through this book to truly appreciate what he is getting at.

The last thing I m going to rave about is the anecdotes about each artist. He is literally the cutest person ever. The little blurb for The Strokes is the most memorable one in this book, and it was the most adorable paragraph I've ever read. I'm not going to tell you what he said; you're going to have to pick this book up and see for yourself.

The [Redundant] Rating:

I'm going to start leaving a quote from a song I love instead of saying "XOXO." I think it's more me.

"Tables, they turn sometimes,"

Belle <3