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KLIATTAGERANGE: Ages 15 to adult.
Robert Christgau, often called the dean of American rock critics, claims that he’s the first professional critic to edit one of these Da Capo year-end collections, and he writes that he was determined to focus on writing first. He also tilts the collection almost completely toward rock/pop music, making this a less diverse collection (but with more depth, perhaps) than in previous years. There are 32 entries, from a few web publications, some hip journals, and some mainstream publications. Christgau has long believed that writing about rock captures much of the qualities that good writing about anything does, and his collection covers quickie reviews, profane parodies, and deeper reflections and profiles. Topics include Latino takes on Neil Diamond, being James Brown, Barbra Streisand (yes, that’s right--in two pieces yet!), New Orleans hip-hop and much more. My favorite, which illustrates Christgau’s belief that music touches lives in many deep ways, is Michaelangelo Matos’s moving account/analysis of why the Supremes’ “Love Child” was significant in the history of music and in his and his mother’s life. Reviewer: Daniel Levinson
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)