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Way back in 1979, noted pop music critic Greil Marcus put together the classic book Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island. Music critic Freeman (Running the Voodoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis) has asked today's generation of music critics the same question: "What album would you bring to a desert island, and why?" Not surprisingly, the essays Freeman collects emphasize heavy metal, punk, and hip-hop much more than Marcus's book did; however, there is still a rich diversity, with essays on the Cars, Sonny Rollins, Dionne Warwick, and Elton John interspersed among those on heavier albums. While some readers may focus on the specifics of particular essays, the most valuable things to be learned from this book are how critics think and what educated listeners respond to intellectually, emotionally, and viscerally. It is also an interesting read for the diversity of writing styles represented. Highly recommended for all public libraries; academic libraries with collections in popular music criticism will surely want to add as well.
—James E. Perone