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Let's Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste Paperback – March 13, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Here’s Wilson’s redo of his 2007 Celine Dion smearfest and smartly considered discussion of taste, good and bad (part of the 33 1/3 series), with two new sections added. This volume pulls out the original—12 ­multipronged chapters covering the vagaries and varieties of opinions on pop culture (the hell that is other people’s favorite music) and a vivid, bloody dissection of Dion the performer and her overbearingly popular Titanic hit, My Heart Will Go On, and adds a part 2, which brings in culture-related essays from such writers and performers as Nick Hornby, Mary Gaitskill, and James Franco (Franco noting, after discussing his General Hospital soap-opera stint, the difference in how critics employ context, whether they looked up to it, or down on it. Part 3, the smallest, offers Wilson’s updated reflections. The book is laugh-out-loud funny, whip-smart about contemporary thought, and fascinating in its many voices, but, readers, beware—you may wind up humming that song for days afterward. --Eloise Kinney

Review

Like the whole world, I'm a fan of Carl Wilson's Celine Dion book. (Jonathan Lethem)

An evergreen classic of music criticism a love letter from a cerebral pop aesthete to the music he sincerely, almost sentimentally hates. (Rob Sheffield)

Carl Wilson is a profound listener and an extraordinary writer. Along with being a tremendously important piece of criticism, Let's Talk About Love is an agile, moving, and generous exploration of the music that accompanies us, welcome or not, on the travels we all need to make on our own. It is a beautiful, funny, unerringly concise book that invites repeated readings, new conversations, and a thoughtful engagement with the culture of our time. (John K. Samson)

The book is laugh-out-loud funny, whip-smart about contemporary thought, and fascinating in its many voices, but, readers, beware you may wind up humming that song for days afterward. (Eloise Kinney, Booklist)

[I]t's a conversation worth having: as a dialogue between Wilson and his 13 disciples, with peers in social circles, and ultimately with oneself. Why we like what we like is always a fun topic to discuss, but it's often more challenging and more enlightening to discuss the converse: why we don't like what we don't like... Any investigation into cool is incomplete without due consideration of too-cool-for. Wilson has provided a primer for that discourse. (Kurtt Gottshalk, Brooklyn Rail)

Let's Talk About Love...is not just a critical study of one Céline Dion album, but an engaging discussion of pop criticism itself. (Elias Leight, LA Review of Books)

...the recently updated Let's Talk About Love--cheekily re-subtitled Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste and bundled with a host of excellent accompanying essays from the book's admirers including Krist Novoselic, Nick Hornby, Ann Powers, and James Franco is a welcome excuse to revisit the main text in light of our current state of hyperspeed discourse. It's also a good excuse to catch up with Wilson, who continues to be an essential voice in the rock writer community while serving as Slate's music critic. (Ryan Dombal, Pitchfork)

In this gnostic context, Carl Wilson's Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste, first published in 2007, was a counter-intuitive masterstroke. Wilson's gamble--that even people who hate Céline Dion would be curious to read an entire book about why they hate her, and what that hatred might mean paid off handsomely: Let's Talk About Love was widely and enthusiastically reviewed outside the usual music-geek circles, Wilson appeared on NPR and The Colbert Report, and last year he was hired as Slate's chief music critic, as plum a gig as a pop critic can expect in today's collapsing media economy. (Ellis Avery, Public Books)

Freaking brilliant. (Will Hermes, Hippies and Hipsters)

Carl Wilson's 2007 entry in the 33 1/3 library of pocket-sized books about classic albums is one of the most celebrated in the series. The author goes against the critical grain, not because he defends the music of this much-maligned international phenomenon. Wilson spends most of the book putting Dion into social and cultural context that in the end does not win him over to her kind of music. Wilson's book, unlike most criticism, openly invites dialogue, even providing an email contact for readers to beat their own breasts for and against Céline Dion. (Pat Padua, Spectrum Culture)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (March 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441166777
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441166777
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Pieters on June 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
LIke the rest of the world, I'm a huge fan of Carl Wilson's Celine Dion book, "Let's Talk About Love."

It's not really and totally about Celine Dion -- it's about how we develop taste, how we pretend to be cool, and how we miss out on a lot of our world by summarily dismissing things that we don't like, think are uncool.

The new edition includes Wilson's original book plus essays by excellent commentators, including the always-great Mary Gaitskill "The Easiest Thing To Forget," James Franco, and others.

Don't miss this book -- when I was done, I read it again. (That doesn't happen often for me.)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the great books on music and taste, smart analysis and application of academic theory yet also accessible. Highest recommendation.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Charon Dunn on June 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this! Best book about criticism ever, whether you love Celine Dion, hate her or have never heard of her.
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