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When you play a record, you alter its information. It degrades, decays, gradually and imperceptibly blurs. I've heard many apocryphal stories about used copies of David Bowie's 'Heroes', where the majority of the record would appear crisp and unplayed, while the title track would ebb through a veil of distortion, its grooves worn into unreadable whorls of static.

While in San Francisco recently, I discovered that my friend (and Maura Magazine contributor) Leah Reich had only heard the first Violent Femmes album as a warped cassette, an experience identical to the one my best friend in college, Carolina, shared with me. It seemed the intended way of hearing it, somewhat cooked, fluctuating with its own variable, frustrated songs.

This issue of Maura Magazine is a collection of individual albums and individual experiences; the idea behind it came from Thomas Inskeep, who suggested, after the most recent announcement of entries in Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series of books, that we gather together a few rejected proposals originally submitted to that series. (Inskeep's excellent, unusual proposal on A Very Special Christmas is included in this issue.)

The idea coincided with the first book proposal I've ever written (and had rejected), an extremely serious examination of the obscure forces that shaped Lou Reed and Metallica's Lulu. But what really drove this issue to (an incredibly delayed) print were the incredible proposals I received from writers of a variety of disciplines, whether fiction, journalism, or neither. Josh Langhoff and Anthony Easton's writing on Amy Grant's Heart in Motion suggests that not only is there a whole book in the inner and outer text of that album, but that they deserve to write it. Amanda Nazario generates a vivid image of Greenwich Village in the '60s from a single Lovin' Spoonful album. Zach Schonfeld gets as close to inhabiting the molten core of Slowdive's Souvlaki as I imag...