Review: ‘Song Stories’ Offers Unique Take on Music in Our Lives

KYLE BYLIN | PHOTO COURTESY
North Dakota native Kyle Bylin decided to compile the stories that contributed to people’s love for music.

This is the first part in a two-part series about “Song Stories” and author Kyle Bylin.

The first song I ever bought on iTunes was Kristinia DeBarge’s 2009 hit “Goodbye.” This song was definitely a one-hit wonder and I haven’t listened to since 2009. That song marked the beginning of my musical independence.

In his newest release, author and music industry veteran Kyle Bylin decided to compile the stories of music professionals to create a collection of songs from a variety of genres and times that document the beginning of a love for music.

The stories are short, usually just two to three pages of the moment when these professionals heard the song that would forever change their lives, whether they realized it in the moment or later down the line.

The book contains 30 songs and accompanying stories at around 100 pages total. Short and sweet, the stories are each a glimpse into a different moment in each writer’s life.

It is split up into three different parts, the first centering on youth and how music shapes identity. These stories focus on key moments in the early lives of the people featured in the novel.

The second part, “Music and Memories,” follows the contributors through key moments in their lives, including job changes or the beginnings of a passion.

The final part is all about love — one of the key topics of music and a feature of many people’s lives. As a hopeless romantic, the last part of the book was my favorite feature.

While each part of the life — from discovering your identity to making your own decisions — is beautiful in it’s own way, the way each writer spoke about their love, whether a successful love or not, is incredibly poetic.

Since the book is comprised entirely of different authors, there is no central voice. This made it a little hard to distinguish between speakers, especially since each chapter was so brief.

The writing, considering it isn’t necessarily the contributor’s profession, wasn’t always the best. However, the writers made up for this fault with how genuine their stories were.

Like I said before, while I appreciated the stories about love and heartbreak the most, each story is incredibly unique and beautiful.

One of the best parts of this book is that the author, Bylin, let the stories move beyond the pages of his book. Bylin created a website, songstories.org, to allow others to share their songs and their respective stories. He also created a playlist for all the songs featured in the book.

This aspect makes this book stand out from others that may focus on the same topic.

“Song Stories” is available for purchase at Amazon or through the book’s website.

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