by Matthew Freemantle
Robert Dimery - '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die'
It can be hugely annoying (even morose) to page through a book that aims to plot your listening roster from now until your death. And even if you were to heed this book’s advice, it’s unlikely that, come the deadline, the Grim Reaper will have time for your pleas for an extra few hours: “Not now, Reaper, I’m only halfway ‘Trout Mask Replica’, Captain Beefheart’s seminal 1969 matsterpiece!”. But while ‘1001 Albums’ has both disputable inclusions (Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child) and notable omissions (Louis Armstrong, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson), it is probably best to leave that sort of argument to nit-picking, anorak-wearing music snobs. For the rest of us, Dimery’s compilation, which features over 90 of the world’s top music writers, is both an excellent guide and a juicy resource for musical trivia. You might damage all your relationships by constantly demanding to play trivial pursuit after reading it, but who needs friends when you’ve got 463 more albums to get through?