Best Music Writing 2011 [NOOK Book]

Overview

Best Music Writing has become one of the most eagerly awaited annuals of them all. Celebrating the year in music writing by gathering a rich array of essays, missives, and musings on every style of music from rock to hip-hop to R&B to jazz to pop to blues, it is essential reading for anyone who loves great music and accomplished writing. Scribes of every imaginable sort?novelists, poets, journalists, musicians? are gathered to create a multi-voiced snapshot of the year in music writing that, like the music it...
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Best Music Writing 2011

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Overview

Best Music Writing has become one of the most eagerly awaited annuals of them all. Celebrating the year in music writing by gathering a rich array of essays, missives, and musings on every style of music from rock to hip-hop to R&B to jazz to pop to blues, it is essential reading for anyone who loves great music and accomplished writing. Scribes of every imaginable sort—novelists, poets, journalists, musicians— are gathered to create a multi-voiced snapshot of the year in music writing that, like the music it illuminates, is every bit as thrilling as it is riveting.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As Ross, New Yorker music critic, points out in his introduction, all music is subcultural and no music is everywhere beloved; thus, he and Carr chose pieces that lead the reader into an unfamiliar realm or mark new paths on well-trod ground—pieces that assume no prior knowledge, only a spark of curiosity. Written by both well-known critics like Geoffrey O’Brien, Wendy Lesser, and Kelefa Sanneh as well as by lesser-known writers such as Morad Mansouri, Jessica Hopper, and Amy Klein, the pieces range widely over classical, jazz, rock, and country music and often challenge boundaries of traditional genres. In his search for the heart of country music in “Nashville Skyline,” CMT editorial director Chet Flippo dryly remarks that looking for the heart and soul of country music these days is like studying a tornado’s path; the music, the artists, and the audience are all over the map. NPR’s music critic Ann Powers elegantly mines Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold for its similarities to pop music in “A Pop Music Critic Takes on the Ring,” while New Yorker critic James Wood offers a paean to the Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, and Moon’s disregard for the principles of drumming—“The first principle of Moon’s drumming was that drummers do not exist to keep the beat.” These collected pieces offer a soulful anthem to the vibrancy of music writing today. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

Kirkus Reviews, 10/15/11
“Maintaining the series’ high standard…A great incentive to fire up Spotify, or even the old stereo.”

Publishers Weekly, 10/3/11
“These collected pieces offer a soulful anthem to the vibrancy of music writing today.”
 
Booklist, starred review, 11/1/11
“This terrific collection…includes an eclectic bunch of long-form articles and very short pieces…The types of music covered are impressive: classical (Beethoven, Wagner, European avant-garde); jazz (Duke Ellington; and pop (Lady Gaga) as well as country, metal and hip-hop. The selections even transcend borders: a piece on the underground music scene in Tehran is especially insightful…A bracing collection.”

Kingman Daily Miner, 10/21/11
“Well done, and highly recommended is this 5 Star book.”

Curled Up With a Good Book
“This is music journalism at its finest.”

Library Journal, 11/15/11
“Aficionados of music and illuminating critical writing will find much to savor in this collection, which exemplifies Ross’s assertion that music can ‘reach across the human universe with astonishing ease.’ Recommended."

PhiladelphiaInquirer, 1/15/12
“As Ross states in his introduction, he and series editor Daphne Carr looked for ‘pieces that led the reader into an unfamiliar realm or marked new paths on well-trod ground—pieces that assumed no prior knowledge, only a spark of curiosity.’ They definitely succeeded with this anthology…Ross' choices for Best Music Writing 2011 make us think more about what we're putting into our ears.”
 
Tucson Citizen, 12/12/11
“An anthology that is must reading for anyone who truly loves music. This collection of essays, profiles, interviews, news articles, and blogs from important observers in the industry is, simply put, sheer joy.”

Buffalo News, 1/1/12
“[Alex Ross is] the first indentured classical critic to edit one of these annual beauties and he's responsible for this one being the most brilliant and far-ranging and revelatory that the series is ever likely to have…Which is why if you read only one music book in 2012, you ought to make it this one.”

MidwestBook Review, February 2012
“An outstanding collection very highly recommended for any general or music library.”

San FranciscoBook Review, 3/6/12
“This is some fearless writing by America’s best writers…During and after reading, you’ll listen anew.”

MusicMediaMonthly.com, 3/13/12
Best Music Writing 2011’s landscape is vast… Ross writes that ‘We didn’t look for articles by and of insiders; we wanted writerly seductions.’ Count me among the seduced.”

John Sheltan Ivany Top 21, 4/8
“Essential reading for anyone who loves great music and accomplished writing. Scribes of every imaginable sort—novelists, poets, journalists, musicians—are gathered to create a multi-voiced snapshot of the year in music writing that, like the music it illuminates, is every bit as thrilling as it is riveting.”
 

Smooth Jazz News, May 2012
“The annual collection of the past year’s best music writing is always a journalistic treat…The contributors to this book are passionate music lovers and talented writers.”

Library Journal
After his acclaimed The Rest Is Noise, New Yorker music critic Ross edits this year's edition of the annual, genre-spanning series of notable music writing from both print and Internet publications. In his introduction, he writes that among his goals are to lead readers "into an unfamiliar realm" and to illuminate "new paths on well-trod ground"; with the range of topics and personalities represented in these selections and the angles they explore, he has succeeded. The book touches on pop, rock, classical, country, and jazz and includes writing about both well-known musicians and more esoteric figures and topics. The pieces range from profiles of Lady Gaga, will.i.am, and jazz pianist Fred Hersch and appreciations of Sade, the Smiths, and Beethoven to articles about underground music in Iran, the fate of the wedding singer in the digital age, and the making of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. VERDICT Aficionados of music and illuminating critical writing will find much to savor in this collection, which exemplifies Ross's assertion that music can "reach across the human universe with astonishing ease." Recommended.—Jim Collins, Morristown-Morris Twp. Lib., NJ
Kirkus Reviews
New Yorker music editor Ross (Listen to This, 2010, etc.) curates the year's finest scribbling about sound. The latest entry in the annual anthology of music journalism draws on a breadth of sources, from metro dailies and national magazines to websites, blogs and even Twitter. Ross brings in lively pieces from his primary discipline, classical music: Justin Davidson offers a measured contemplation of Beethoven's contemporary interpreters, and online contest winners risibly summarize opera librettos in 140-character tweets. Befitting the times, pop mega-stars are the focus of several penetrating profiles: Vanessa Grigoriadis on Lady Gaga, Chris Norris on Will.i.am, Caryn Ganz on Nicki Minaj. Jonathan Bogart's critical take on Ke$ha tells you more than you may ever want to know about pop's trollop of the moment, but does it hilariously. Rock gets comparatively short shrift, and the top selections are backward-looking: James Wood on the Who's maniacal drummer Keith Moon, Evelyn McDonnell on '70s femme rockers the Runaways, Nate Chinen on the unlikely yet apt onstage confluence in 1970 of Miles Davis and Neil Young. The writing about contemporary rock--Titus Andronicus bassist Amy Klein's hyper-feminist tour diary entry, blogger Mike Turbé's review of a metal show in a Brooklyn basement--never rises above the jejune. The most startling stuff drives boldly into new territory: Lauren Wilcox Puchowski's profile of a Washington, D.C., wedding band at work, Jason Cherkis on a Baltimore record collector's life-changing obsession with an early-20th-century Greek vocalist, Chris Richards' search for Parliament-Funkadelic's Mothership stage prop and Joe Hagan on the profound darkness revealed in Nina Simone's hitherto unpublished diaries. There is also a dizzying chapter from Dave Tompkins' book How to Wreck a Nice Beach, excerpted by NPR.org, about the vocoder's passage from cryptography to music. Though country and various roots styles are half-heartedly represented and a handful of solipsistic pieces tax the reader's patience, this edition mainly sidesteps the usual suspects while maintaining the series' high standard. A great incentive to fire up Spotify, or even the old stereo.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306820571
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 11/29/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,325,701
  • File size: 493 KB

Meet the Author

Alex Ross is a music critic for the New Yorker and the author of the acclaimed bestseller The Rest Is Noise. He lives in New York City.

Daphne Carr is a music scholar and the author of Pretty Hate Machine. She lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Alex Ross xi

"Beethoven's Kapow" New York Magazine Justin Davidson 1

"Keep Tickin and Tockin Work It All Around the Clock"Exist Yesterday Jonathan Bogart 6

"The Grandest Duke" New York Review of Books Geoffrey O'brien 20

"Growing Up Gaga" New York Magazine Vanessa Grigoriadis 34

"The Mothership, lost in space" Washington Post Chris Richards 53

"Excerpt from How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop" NPR.org Dave Tompkins 61

"Curiosity Slowdown" Frieze Jaceclayton 70

"Meet Your #operaplot 2010 Winners" The Omniscient Mussel Marcia Adair Micaela Baranello Ralph Graves Josiah Gulden James Harrington Bryan Johnson Daniel Kelley Stephen Llewellyn Sam Neuman 74

"A Pop Critic Takes on the Ring: Part 1, Das Rheingold" Los Angeles Times Ann Powers 77

"Word" The New Yorker Kelefa Sanneh 80

"Why We Fight #5: Why Risks are Risky" Pitchfork Media Nitsuh Abebe 92

"Tour Diary Day Four: Rock and Roll is Dead" Amyandronicus.tumblr.com Amy Klein 100

"Jetlagged Manifesto" Think Denk Jeremy Denk 108

"Making Pop for Capitalist Pigs" Chicago Reader Jessica Hopper 115

"The Underground Rises" Frontline's Tehran Bureau Morad Mansouri 119

"Pantha du Prince" Groove Magazine Philip Sherburne 126

"Wormrot, Defeatist, Mutant Supremacy, Psychic Limb and Curandera-October 3rd-The Acheron, Brooklyn" Sunyata: Mindful of Metal Mike Turbe 134

"Giant Steps: The Survival of a Great Jazz Pianist" The New York Times David Hajdu 137

"William and the Science of Global Pop Domination" Rolling Stone Chris Norris 150

"Notes from a Wedding" Washington Post Lauren Wilcox Puchowski 161

"For the Record" Washington Post Jason Cherkis 173

"The Curious Case of Nicki Minaj" Out Caryn Ganz 183

"Gasping, But Somehow Still Alive': The Persistence of Meat Is Murder" Stereogum Drew Daniel 190

"Nashville Skyline: Searching for the Heart of Country CMT News Chetflippo 194

"The Honeymooners" Oxford American Franklin Bruno 197

"The Long War" The New Yorker Sasha Frere-Jones 210

"The 'Thriller' Diaries" Vanity Fair Nancy Griffin 215

"The Runaways: Wild Thing" LA Weekly Evelyn Mcdonnell 237

"The Fun Stuff" The New Yorker James Wood 250

"Direction Nowhere" At Length Nate Chinen 265

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free: The Secret Diary of Nina Simone" The Believer Joe Hagan 272

"Darkness Invisible" The Threepenny Review Wendy Lesser 291

Other Notable Music Writing of 2010 297

List of Contributors 303

Credits 309

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    Jade

    Walks in

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2014

    A random girl

    Walks in wearing a lacy black skirt and shirt. She laughs at Fred. "Looks like youve got a problem on your hands!" She saysm

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2014

    Fred

    Okay. Goodnight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    Felicia

    Hey kevin.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    Trent

    Chief*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    R'Lyeh

    "Nooooo. Gemmeh promion first."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    Hanna

    "How?" She smiles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2014

    Anna

    She poked her head in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    Party! ~ Amber

    Check out my post at the next result

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    Shayne

    Ahem..cough. cough. "Ceara, res 4?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2014

    Carly

    Turns up the music and dances.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    Saphire

    "You wish Tony. I aint here for sex. Im here for a whole different reason" saphire said warningly and walked out

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    Rebecca

    She watched.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    Tony

    Ges in deeper, and harder. Stops for a second, to shoot Sapphire in the fuking face. "I'll fuk your dead body later, bi.tch" he says to Sapphire.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    I had sex with Cleverbot

    I did. But she just kept asking to talk to Alex.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    Roxy

    Hey Kevin

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    Kevin

    Ok....post your bio at res 10

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    The Wolf by Kamara

    I was bored one day so o was looking around and found a nice place to rest. I layed down and i was drifting off to sleep when i heard these voices. I was curious so i followed the sound. I came to a clearing where a couple of wolves were sitting an talking. I walked up and said "Umm, hi my name is Kamara. Do you knw where I could find a pack?" The wolves looked at me and then one of the wolves Katrose said "you may join my pack." She told e the packs history and we became great friends. Her sister primrose went missing so she went of to look for her. She was hurt many times so i secretly followed her. After padding through the woods for days on end we came to a clearing in the middle of it was an evil wolf named Clovoe from Katroses childhood. Clovoe was in human form and had primrose with a knife to her throat. While Katrose questioned Clovoe i snuck up behind her and stole the knife Clovoe shifted to wolf and lunged for me but Katrose blocked her. They started to fight and i pulled primrose out of the way. Once i was sure she was ok i joined in on the fight. One we had Clovoe pinned and captured she was sent home. A couple days later we were at our den and we heard a howl. We ran outside and Clovoe and her pack were ready for battle. Our pack quickly got ready for battle. When the fight started it was me versus Clovoe. We rolled and bit snarled and scrtched. But after a while i finally pinned her. As i looked up to see how everyone else was doing i realized we were winning. Katrose came up and Clovoe killed herself in pure rage for the battle being losr. Ecer since then i havent heard from anyone no one ever returned to the pack. I decided to come and tell my story so maybe if you see my friends (Katrose Whitfang Moonlily Sarah Lutta Shadow and Slasher) you can tell them i miss them. Thanks for reading i hope this wasnt a total waste of your time. Kamara the wolf.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    Penny's Secret Part One By Jaysoar

    "Watch where you're going, Mitten!" A voice, high-pitched and sounds like shattered ice, snapped. "What about you, Penny?" Another voice growled. "Shut up, both of you!" A third voice urged.<br>
    "Fine fine...but Penny started it!" Mitten's voice echoed through the attic. "No, I didn't!" Penny retorted. "Kits! Calm down!" The third voice begged. Immidiently, both of the kits calm down.<br>
    "You two can share." The voice murmured, handing them a bowl full of white water. "Thanks, mom!" Penny meowed and dunk his muzzle into the bowl. He came up with white water clinged onto his face. "I love milk!" He exclaimed.<br>
    "Thanks, Gizmo!" Mitten curled her tail around her mother's paw. "Call me mom, Mitten." Gizmo urged. "I'm going outside!" Penny, a light ginger tom with blue eyes, told her.<br>
    "Just let the tall twoleg kits know that." Gizmo, a light gray she-cat with white paws and muzzle and dazzling green eyes, warned.<br>
    "I'll do it!" Mitten, a black she-kit with white paws and muzzle and dark green eyes, exclaimed. "I'll see you at dinner!" Penny called to her as he and Mitten scurried off down a couple of stairs.<br>
    Gizmo's eyes shine in joy and padded towards a window to jump on. When that happens, she sees a ginger tom with light blue eyes standing on the side of the door, licking his paw.<br>
    Gizmo banged the window with a paw roughly. The ginger tom looked up to see Gizmo on the window. "Orange, I missed you so much." Gizmo whispered, letting her eyes get locked into his.<br>
    "I always know that our kits will live happy lives, but what is so strange to find a new housefolk to take care of you instead of mine?" Gizmo continued. "Don't you like being with these sweet creatures? W-will you ever come back?"<br>

    <p>Mitten scrambled next to his brother when they reach a nice twoleg kit. The kit crouched and rubed her hairless paw across the top of Penny's head softly.<br>
    Mitten put her front paws onto the arm and mewled, her tail lashing from side to side. Once the twoleg kit noticed her, she raced to the front door and banged on the door with her paws.<br>
    The twoleg kit followed her and opened the door for them to play. "Yay!" Mitten exclaimed before racing out, letting the whole outside world open in front of her. Penny crouched low and pounced on his sister gently, suddenly making a play-fight.<br>
    "Wait." Penny mumured and walked on the green grass and looked up at the whole pile of trees looming in front of him. "Is that the forest?" Mitten budged in.<br>
    "I think so." Penny meowed. "Let's go in and see what's there!" He meowed and raced towards the trees. "No! Penny, come back!" Mitten called to him, but Penny didn't even slow down. Mitten, her eyes filled with worry, raced after her brother.<br>
    "Woah!" Penny's voice filled the air. "Yep. You'll never find anyone of those kittypets do that!" A voice came in. "Let me try!" Penny urged.<br>
    Mitten leaped towards a couple of bushes to see Penny and a bigger cat, a dusty brown she-cat. "Mitten!" Penny's voice was filled with glee. "This is Mousepaw. She's showing me a couple of moves from Clans!" He meowed.<br>
    "MousePAW? What a wierd name!" Mitten mewed. "That's how they live! They have wierd names!" Penny meowed.<br>
    "PENNY?! MITTEN!?" A twoleg voice came in. "I'll see you later!" Penny called over his shoulder to Mousepaw before he and Mitten raced off.<br>

    <p>"Penny's Secret Part One By Jaysoar"------ 'I guess I did a good job but it is your opinion...'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    The Clan~By Piper

    (Ok this is a story about a real wolf, Im just narratoring from her piont of view, cause im not actually her) I sat at westward point looking at the night sky. It was a sea of navy blue with tiny twinkling stars. The sky was forever rolling off into the distance. My white fur and dark blue eyes could not be seen in the darkness. A she-wolf with gray fur, green eyes, and a helmet approached me. "Mother," she said. "Yes Daina?" I asked. "A lone-wolf just entered the territory" she warned. "Bring this lone-wolf to me" I commanded. Daina nodded then pad off. A wolf had strayed onto my territory. I sighed then continued to stare at the night sky. I then heard a howl. "Mother please forgive me, for I have lost the wolf. Mother oh please forgive me" it sang. "Its ok dear. I got this" I howled back. A blck wolf then pad up to me. "May I join?" He asked. I cocked my head wondering why. "I come from a savage clan.. everyday we would fighr. With blood everywhere in our territory. We lived to kill and fight. But I hated that way of life. Its like everytime I looked at night sky i would see a bloody moon." He explained. I felt bad for this wolf. He wa scarred and bloody. He had wounds and wa skiiny from blood lose. "How did you escape?" I asked. "Last night, everyone was watching the cheiftan fight an omga. I snook off to the side and went into the woods. Eventually I made it here, to wolf mountain." He replied. I sat in thought then aske one last question. "What is your name?"I Asked. "Abaan, and you?" He replied. "Sarah McDonagan" i said. I then took a step twards him. "You can join, but you need to take the oath" I said. He nodded then asked, "what oath?" I shook my head. "Just repeat after me. I Abaan" I began. "I Abaan" he copied. "Swear to never betray, kill, or harm any of my clan members" I continued. "Swear never to betray, kill, or harm any of my clan memebrrs" he said. "And to never break clan law" I said. "And to never break clan law" He repeated. "And if I do I will face the punishments" I finished. "And if I do I will face the punishments." He said. "Congrats you are now in my clan" I said happily. "Thank you, Sarah" he said thankfully. "Come I going to heal those wounds of yours" she ordered. He nodded and followed. We came to my den. A large cave with a fire pit in the center. Surrounding it was 5 animal pelts. Off to the sde there were pots filled with herds. Then in a plie off in the corner were bones with stories carved in them. Abaan sat down on a pelt. I gather up some herbs. I took an empty pot and began to mix the herbs. I then adde some caribou meat and put it over the fire. "Im making you some soup but now I must heal you. Dont tell anyone of this" I warned. He nodded. I placed my paw on him then closed my eyes. A glowing blue circle and a cross then appeared on my forehead. "Sark u vu la" I chanted in old wolf. I then openedmy eyes. He lay there with no wounds. "That was.... interesting" he said. He then noticed my pile of bones. "Why do you have so many story bones?" He asked. "Becase I have a dissorder where I forget thigs sometimes" I said. He nodded. Then picked up a bone. "This one says 'my puphood'" he said. I nodded. "This is the only way I can remember" I said sadly. He placed it back in the pile. He then found one. "'The maldch' my favorite" h said. "I wrote that story ya know" I said. "Immpossible, the wolf ho wrote this lived thousands of years ago.... wait who is your da?" He asked. "The wolf god lupus" I said.

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