World Within a Song: Music That Changed My Life and Life That Changed My Music

Dutton. Nov. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9780593472521. $26. MUSIC
With three solid books under his belt, Grammy winner and Wilco front man Tweedy (How To Write One Song) may become as famous for his authorship as his musicianship. After writing about his own life and process in previous books, he has chosen this time to look at the songs of others through the lens of how they can absorb, enhance, and store listeners’ experiences and memories. In doing so, there is a fair amount of autobiography, along with the wonderful caveat that everyone’s choice of life-changing songs will be different. Tweedy himself states that he could have selected completely different tunes than these, and that’s part of the book’s magic. Music is love (and joy and sorrow and empathy and connection), and although there is a lot of inspiring music—perhaps readers will make some new discoveries—the choice of songs analyzed in this book matters less than what Tweedy has to say about them and the way the most beloved songs touch people.
VERDICT Another excellent work from an American treasure. Tweedy’s enthusiasm and exuberance does for readers what the best songs do for listeners: inspire, delight, connect, linger, and drive people back for more.
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