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Book Review: The World is Going to Love This, Gordon Raphael

Last week, I completed the spectacular reading of Gordon Raphael's latest creation, not in the form of a song this time, but in the form of a novel. If you don't know who this man is, you should, especially if you're a fan at all of The Strokes. In their first album Is This It, you can pull out the booklet in the front of the CD, open it up, and turn it around to find a lovely portrait of him alongside the other creators of the album. Gordon is a wonderful producer, most well known for his work with The Strokes and Regina Spektor, but also for his personal music with Sky Cries Mary and Absinthee. His book was a deep dive into some of the very specific ins and outs of music, from the types of microphones and amps to the coolest name for a recording studio. You can tell he knows what he's talking about! His journey begins in Seattle, and lands in various places all over the world, from London, back to New York, Mexico, and so many more.


I haven't loved a biography as much as this one since I read The Storyteller by Dave Grohl, and that's saying something. Gordon has a way of explaining his life experiences that makes the reader feel open to mistakes, to see that something good always comes out of the rough patches. He had many losses, but even more gains throughout the story. It felt like a really wise uncle telling you about his wild days on the town, while simoultaneously teaching you a lesson about love and life, and how to stay afloat in a place like New York. That state was bustling with an upcoming wave of incredible talent, much of which Gordon discovered or encountered, including The Strokes.


One of the best moments for me was being introduced to Toby from Rockfeedback.com, I felt an instant connection with his personality. He's this high school-aged looking kid who abruptly approaches Gordon and asks to write a column about him. I felt deeply connected to him because he was doing exactly what I want to be doing, interviewing people, running a blog (specifically in the early 2000s, although that's no longer possible), and existing in the world of talented musicians, even if just as a spectator. Mad respect to this dude for putting himself out there and getting stuff done, you know? He's living my dream! (So is Lizzy Goodman for that matter).


I've heard a lot of horror stories come out from bands and musicians about their labels and how controlling they were (and are), especially to new artists coming into the picture, unknowingly signing away their freedom in the music realm. Gordon touched on this a little bit, but more just the label wanting The Strokes to work with a different, more experienced producer over him. They almost always came back though, Gordon gave their music an unrivaled sound that truly catapulted the world into the garage rock revival, per se. What I love about his experience in the industry is that he's handled everything, all different genres and types of musical approaches that may not be commonly sought out. Take Regina Spector, for example, she's an incredible artist, and part of what makes her music so unique is that she resembles nothing else that I've ever heard before, and I think Gordon felt the same way. He sees something in many artists that others don't, and I think taking risks is why he's been so successful.


Overall, I enjoyed this book so so much, and will definitely be a constant reread when I'm in need of a reminder of why the 2000s New York rock scene still matters today. Please go buy a copy if you can! (There's still some signed ones available here!). I encourage you to submerse yourself in this era as much as you can, your taste in music and view of the industry will change drastically. Excellent read!






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