Marc Woodworth's audiobook covers the album's long and unorthodox period of writing, recording, sequencing, and editing. It includes interviews with members of the band, manager Pete Jamison, webmaster and GBV historian Rich Turiel, and Robert Griffin of Scat Records. At least 65 songs were recorded and considered for the album and five distinct concepts were rejected before the band hit upon the record's final form. One late version, very nearly released, contained only a few of Bee Thousand's definitive songs. The rest were left out and nearly ended up in the boxes of cassette out-takes cluttering up Robert Pollard's basement.
The story of Guided By Voices transformation from an occasional and revolving group of complete unknowns to indie-rock heroes is very much part of the story behind the making of Bee Thousand. In addition to providing a central account of how the record was made, Woodworth devotes a substantial chapter to the album's lyrics. Robert Pollard's lyrics are described by critics, when they're described at all, as a brand of tossed-off surrealism, as if his verbal sensibility is somehow incidental to the songs themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Woodworth offers a sustained discussion of Pollard's work as a writer of often sublime, beautiful, and very human lyrics.
The third key section of the book covers aesthetics. Woodworth considers the great appeal of the do-it-yourself nature of Bee Thousand and reflects on the larger importance of the strain of alternative rock for which this record is a touchstone.
Narrator Victor Bevine has a regular, guy-next-door voice that is wonderfully suited to the shambling, lo-fi aesthetic of indie-rock heroes Guided by Voices. Fans will enjoy his accessible performance as he narrates Marc Woodworth's chronicles of Bee Thousand's lengthy and unusual creative process. Woodworth interviews many of the individuals involved, and their reminiscences are often charming and insightful. Bevine highlights Woodworth's pleasure in teasing out the symbolism and meaning behind the lyrics of the album's songs, and fans will come away with an even greater appreciation for the band.
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