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Perfect Sound Whatever

Written by: James Acaster
Narrated by: James Acaster
Length: 6 hrs and 55 mins
5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The brand-new memoir from James Acaster: cult comedian, best-selling author of Classic Scrapes, undercover cop, receiver of cabbages.

Perfect Sound Whatever is a love letter to the healing power of music and how one man's obsessive quest saw him defeat the bullshit of one year with the beauty of another. Because that one man is James Acaster, it also includes tales of befouling himself in a Los Angeles steakhouse, stealing a cookie from Clint Eastwood and giving drunk, unsolicited pep talks to urinating strangers. 

January 2017

James Acaster wakes up heartbroken and alone in New York, his relationship over, a day of disastrous meetings leading him to wonder if comedy is really what he wants to be doing anymore. 

A constant comfort in James' life has been music, but he's not listened to anything new for a very long time. Idly browsing 'best of the year' lists, it dawns on him that 2016 may have been a grim year for a lot of reasons, but that it seemed to be an iconic year for music. And so begins a life-changing musical odyssey, as James finds himself desperately seeking solace in the music of 2016, setting himself the task of listening only to music released that year, ending up with 500 albums in his collection. 

Looking back on this yearlong obsession, parallels begin to grow between the music and James' own life: his relationship history, the highs and lows of human connection, residual Christian guilt, and mental health issues that have been bubbling under the surface for years. Some albums are life-changing masterpieces, others are 'Howdilly Doodilly' by Okilly Dokilly, a metalcore album devoted to The Simpsons' character Ned Flanders, but all of them play a part the year that helped James Acaster get his life back on track.

©2019 James Acaster (P)2019 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

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  • Leo
  • 2019-12-19

brilliant.

this is a gold mine for interesting and tastebreaking music recommendations. if you are looking for an entertaining life story filled with interludes of brilliant album descriptions; this is the one.

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  • sophie
  • 2019-08-29

BEST BOOK ABOUT 2016 IN 2019

I bought the book the minute audible emailed me that it was available. I stayed up until 1:45am determined to finish it the same day. Should I have spaced it out to enjoy it more? No. One day.

2017 was also the worst year ever for me, and I deeply appreciated hearing James’ chronological account of the project he immersed himself in to get through his year. I googled album covers, became an immediate fan of Laura Mvula, and reminisced over my own projects from that year. James, if you ever need an indie apparel designer to collaborate with on a project, I’ll meet you at the South Pole.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Vanda Livingston
  • 2019-12-11

Best comedian currently working

This book is a hilarious account of one man’s odyssey to find meaning in a depressing world by listening to music made by artists who were also trying to find meaning in a depressing world. It genuinely gave me a feeling of being connected to humanity, which I don’t feel too often these days. Knowing that so many musicians recorded albums to deal with feelings of isolation, despair, and heartbreak made me feel much less alone. Also, James Acaster is a brilliant storyteller. If you haven’t seen his four standup specials on Netflix, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Watch them immediately. He instantly became my favorite comedian when I saw them, edging out John Mulaney. Sorry, John. I still love you.

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  • Alena
  • 2019-12-06

No more sadness!

Not to make any big announcements, but I feel like this book cured my depression.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-09-10

Thrilling

Not only tells the story of 2016's music, but is also incredibly relatable. An honest look at Acaster's emotions, psychology and life in general. If I could give him 10 I would.

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  • Jeremy Poon
  • 2019-11-17

The one and only James Acaster...

James has surely gone out of the league of comedians' biographies with Perfect Sound Whatever - he has intertwined a snippet of his story and description of a specific piece of music from 2017, which mix together surprisingly well. A good listen if you are into James' kind of comedy.

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  • Radiah Vera
  • 2019-11-16

James Acaster is my soulmate

Be prepared to take notes and open your mind. Feels and awkward public Audiobook chuckles are abundant.

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  • lserver362
  • 2019-08-27

Touching and resonate

This book is a homerun and connected with me on a deep level. Plus James Acasters reading is stellar.

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  • M. Pettis
  • 2019-08-25

I’m convinced

I am a big fan of James Acaster, loved his first book and his comedy specials and was so excited when this came out. Love the personal stories and that his through line is supported by the anecdotes about the musicians and the music making of these records. He casts a very wide net as far as music goes-which is great. I have already found two albums that I like from his recommendation, for which I am grateful. Aside from Acaster not mentioning two superb albums from 2016 specifically (Tegan & Sara’s Love You to Death and Francis & the Lights Farewell, Starlight!) he makes his case for 2016 being the best year for music, and I’m buying it.