1000 Songs to Change Your Life

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The Independent Culture

As the introduction cheerfully admits, not all of the songs featured here will change your life, but given that there are not just 1,000 but 1,577 of them, there is a fair chance that one or two might. The book takes the form of a series of essays by Time Out contributors on various categories of song: songs about home, about travel, about food, about drugs, songs used in film soundtracks, English songs, gospel songs, comedy songs, miserabilist country songs and songs by gender-bending artists. Pop, rock, jazz, hip-hop and classical music are all represented, and the essays are intercut with reprinted TO interviews with such luminaries as Morrissey, Paul Simon, Burt Bacharach and Johnny Cash, plus various artists on their favourites. (Would you have guessed that David Byrne would opt for Missy Elliott's "Work It"? Or that one of Dizzee Rascal's faves is Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"?) And, of course, lists: the top 10 songs about London, the top 10 songs featuring the name Caroline.

This is hardly a book to read straight through from cover to cover – the clotted, over-adjectival journalese palls after a while – but it's diverting in small doses.

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