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Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste [Kindle Edition]

Carl Wilson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Non-fans regard C line Dion as ersatz and plastic, yet to those who love her, no one could be more real, with her impoverished childhood, her (creepy) manager-husband s struggle with cancer, her knack for howling out raw emotion. There is nothing cool about C line Dion, and nothing clever. That is part of her appeal as an object of love or hatred — with most critics and committed music fans taking pleasure (or at least geeky solace) in their lofty contempt. This book documents Carl Wilson s brave and unprecedented year-long quest to find his inner C line Dion fan, and explores how we define ourselves in the light of what we call good and bad, what we love and what we hate.

Editorial Reviews


"Brilliant." -- Alex Ross, author of The Rest is Noise


"It's fascinating stuff...By turns hilarious and heartwarming." -- Guardian Unlimited Arts blog, March 2008


"A wide-ranging book, one predicated on the possibility that what repels us may say more about us than what attracts us...[an] insightful, engaging, and unexpectedly moving book." -- The Globe and Mail, January 19, 2008


"An important study- not just of Dion and pop music but also of the changing nature of criticism in the popular realm." -- Bookforum, January 2008


"This could be the best book of the series...razor-sharp and unerringly intelligent." -- John Wenzel, The Denver Post


“The always critical and erudite Mr. Wilson actually approached Let's Talk About Love as a non-fan grappling with questions of "good" and "bad" taste... --


“a rigorous, perceptive and very funny meditation on what happens when you realize that there's more to life than being hip, and begin to grapple with just what that "more" might be.” -- Montreal Gazette


“A book pondering the aesthetics of Celine risks going wrong in about 3,000 different ways...Instead, this book goes very deeply right.” --Sam Anderson, New York Magazine



"Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste offersa rare combination of compelling research and enormously entertaining writing, a real find for students of popular culture. It's a compact little volumepacked with keen insights into the ideologies that have shaped music criticismand scholarship, thought-provoking commentary on problems of aesthetics, andsensitive reflexive analysis. That reflexivity, along with a carefulbalance of critical theory and field research, makes this work particularlyappropriate for courses with an ethnomusicological angle. And asethnomusicologists continue to cultivate a growing sub-field in popular musicstudies, Let's Talk About Love is a timely and valuable resource."-Katherine Meizel, Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, University of California, SantaBarbarast1: *{behavior: url(#ieooui) }! /* Style Definitions */p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal{mso-style-parent: "";margin:0in;margin-bottom: .0001pt;mso-pagination: widow-orphan;font-size:12.0pt;font-family: "Times New Roman";mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";}@page Section1{size:8.5in 11.0in;margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in;mso-header-margin: .5in;mso-footer-margin: .5in;mso-paper-source:0;}div.Section1{page: Section1;} >

Product Details

  • File Size: 1772 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum; 1 edition (November 23, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006H2R2C4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,521 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
When I took Introduction to Aesthetics in college, I wish we had a text as smart, accessible, funny, and just plain awesome as this little book on Celine Dion to introduce us to the material. What Wilson has done here with his approach to the subject of taste and tackiness is nothing less than stunning. It is a must read for people who write about music and those that love to read about it.

Nota bene: You need not be a fan of Celine Dion to love this book.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read! February 28, 2009
It took over a year of hearing about this book before I finally caved in and bought it, and now I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy the book when it first came out! It's hard to do Carl Wilson's book justice when it has so much to say, and says it so beautifully. So let's start with the obvious: DO NOT LET THE SUBJECT MATTER TURN YOU OFF! Yes, it's a book about Celine, but it's so much more than that. It's warm, erudite, smart, funny, insightful, provocative, kind, approachable, and ultimately moving. Sure, I can see the argument that the whole concept is a bit of a stunt ("Look, everyone, I'm going to write a book about something I hate!") but when it's done this brilliantly, who cares? This is the kind of book that should be a best seller, and I really hope the author publishes another book soon.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Highlight of the 33 1/3 Series! April 1, 2008
I've read all of the 33 1/3s, and most of them are great books, each in their own way. So when I say Let's Talk About Love is my new favorite, you should trust me, b/c I know what I'm talking about. And I don't care one whit for Celine Dion... can't stand her. But Carl Wilson is an amazing writer. Maybe the best music critic we've got (visit his blog, Zolius!) and this book is truly a brilliant piece of work that waaaaay exceeds the parameters of its subject.

Check it out - you'll be glad you did, I swear.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful discussion of taste and Céline Dion March 6, 2009
Why is someone like Céline Dion so popular? What does her popularity say about those who love her music, and more importantly, those who are critical of her career? Carl Wilson takes on these subjects and others in thoughtful, appreciative look at taste, criticism, and almost incidentally her 1997 best-selling release, featuring "My Heart Will Go On".

This is thoughtful, erudite reading, one of my favorite books I've read this year. I'd recommend it for anyone who is into music of whatever kind. Sure, Wilson throws big words around. If that bothers you, get a dictionary and look them up.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful, fun book on taste December 27, 2011
By Lee
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting, thoughtful, and humane book with a touch of humor by a prominent music critic. Carl Wilson takes his best shot at redeeming Celine Dion from the critical consensus that she is supremely kitsch and uncool. He does this as an exercise, in order to demonstrate how that seemingly solid judgment can actually rest on snobbery, nationalism, ignorance, and class anxiety. The details are very interesting: we learn about the political history of Quebec, the turn against sentimentality in art, and how improvements in microphone technology led to the denigration of "big voice" style.

Wilson's fresh summary of Pierre Bourdieu's *Distinction* and some more recent empirical work is very good and benefits greatly from his pop-culture examples. I was surprised to learn of the survey results demonstrating that people with greater musical tolerance easily learn to appreciate the music associated with racial minorities (jazz, latin, etc.), but only extremely tolerant listeners do not shun heavy metal, gospel, and other music associated with low education. I suspect Wilson is on to something when he suggests that critics' extreme distaste for Celion Dion is partly motivated by a desire to distance themselves from low education / "white trash" culture.

The author also name-checks Hume, Kant, and other deep thinkers on the nature of taste, but these philosophical parts of the book are the shortest and least enlightening.

Later in the book Wilson meets with some fans of Dion to discuss why they like her music and what she means to them. This section cashes out the more speculative, sociological/philosophical passages. Wilson displays a deep humanity in these chapters.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Conversational and contemplative, this book inspired so many wonderful conversations between me and my girlfriend that we fired our couples' therapist and became Carl Wilson's Facebook friends instead. With 'Let's Talk About Love', Wilson has brought me and my gal closer and helped me to better explain my soft spot for certain Celine Dion songs. Slightly embarrassing! Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let's talk criticism March 24, 2014
Celine Dion.

What’s your response? Like me, it’s probably: ick. Right?

Well, you’re not alone as nearly everyone seems to have this response to Dion mostly thanks to her obnoxious monster hit, My Heart Will Go On, from James Cameron’s Titanic that won an Oscar and sold bazillions of copies worldwide. But chances are you won’t have heard much of her music beyond that song, or know much about her as a person, and yet the response to Dion is still: ick. Why?

That’s what Carl Wilson sets out to discover in his look at Dion’s album Let’s Talk About Love. But unlike the other books in the 33 ⅓ series, Dion’s album is barely touched upon as Wilson chooses instead to examine what “taste” is and how people form critical opinions in culture.

What Wilson does in the book is definitely interesting and laudable but I found his conclusions to be a little obvious and his approach a bit too academic at times. He basically comes to chastise himself for being too much of a snob to exclude Dion and pop music in general because he perceives it to be schmaltzy and decides to be more inclusive of his cultural intake - which is fine, but isn’t an eye-opening revelation (not to me anyway as this is already my own personal approach to all things cultural) especially when that’s what you’d expect in a book that sets itself up the way it has.

I appreciate the extensive research Wilson’s put into his book like informing the reader of Dion’s life and background, and putting her personality into the context of her Quebec upbringing - if nothing else, you’ll come away knowing a lot about Dion as a person. But did we really need an entire chapter on schmaltz?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars For cynical elitists
There are cynics -- those who see the worst in people and their motives.
There are elitists -- those in search of ways to reinforce an egotistical notion that they are better... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Westwind7
1.0 out of 5 stars Cruel, mean, vacuous
I'm sorry I downloaded this book. I thought it would be good airplane reading. It was a cruel and opinionated attack.
Published 9 months ago by Mary B Olea
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent, albiet academic, analysis
I found this book to be as much of an author's self-reflection as to why he doesn't like something, as much as a look at a particular album and artist. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Eric
5.0 out of 5 stars if you hate Celine this book, Really
This book won't convince you to like Celine Dion but it will get you thinking about why you like certain things and hate other things and in the process you will learn tons and... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Karen M. Rudolph
5.0 out of 5 stars Celine Dion
The item shipped in the time agreed upon. It was as discussed in the description online. It was to my satisfaction.
Published 20 months ago by Amanda Manning
3.0 out of 5 stars This Is A Twisted Premise
Relative to the rest of this excellent series (just search "(33 1/3)") one thing screams out: Celine Dion simply does not belong in a list with U2, Public E. Read more
Published on November 6, 2011 by JM
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the best books ever written about popular music and its...
Carl Wilson's "Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste" is among the best books ever written about popular music and its aesthetics. Read more
Published on November 5, 2011 by kingsinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Music Critic Takes Honest Look at his Profession and Prejudices
This is a great book. Wilson calls himself out for being a snob and asks why Celine can't get the love, challenging his readers to open their minds. Read more
Published on October 14, 2011 by Shaun Tatarka
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read! (for anyone with a brain & sense of humor, at least)
This was a really great book - short, funny and I totally agree with the author. He starts on a bit of a rant about why Celine Dion sucks so bad - but if she's so bad, why does she... Read more
Published on September 21, 2011 by Jenn
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad, bad, bad!
Honestly, one of the worst books I've ever read. I had to read it for a class and I couldn't even finish it. Carl Wilson has no idea what he is talking about. Read more
Published on September 19, 2010 by aj4ever
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