Best Music Writing 2011

Best Music Writing 2011

4.6 18
by Alex Ross
     
 

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Twelfth in the acclaimed series of annual collections celebrating the best writing on every style of music, from rock to hip-hop, R&B to jazz, pop to blues, and moreSee more details below

Overview

Twelfth in the acclaimed series of annual collections celebrating the best writing on every style of music, from rock to hip-hop, R&B to jazz, pop to blues, and more

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."

Philadelphia Inquirer, 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.”

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

San Francisco Book 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:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
File size:
1 MB

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