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Best Music Writing 2010 (Da Capo Best Music Writing) Paperback – November 9, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This year’s collection of disparate commentary on current pop-music doings is guest-edited by Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times, who describes her current listening as “everything, that’s my job.” Her picks constitute a more general survey of the pop-music continuum than has been the case in previous installments. “This volume is chock-full of music writing from all over the stylistic spectrum; the selection is an argument that all of these approaches” merit attention. Familiar names return: Robert Christgau mulls Brad Paisley’s country stylings, though Greil Marcus (last year’s guest editor) is consigned to the “Other Notable Music Writing” bibliography. Jason Fine updates the Merle Haggard story, Greg Tate and Jason King contribute Michael Jackson retrospectives, Christopher R. Weingarten considers Twitter’s democratizing effect on rock criticism, and Michelle Tea ponders lunch with Stella McCartney’s dad, among a dizzying array of other music and celebrity matters, including the Muppets. Mary Gaitskill’s “Lady Gaga in Hell,” it should be noted, is neither a wish nor a curse, but an insightful if brief William Blake–inspired deconstruction of the Lady’s music video for “Poker Face.” Wide ranging and incisive, this collection merits consideration. --Mike Tribby


Village Voice’s music blog, October 2010
“Da Capo's annual Best Music Writing series is as close as rock scribes get to the Oscars.”

Vol 1 Brooklyn
, 10/14/10
“Best Music Writing…Ever…quite impressive."

USA Today’s “Pop Candy” blog, 11/4/10
“My annual favorite.”

Mogo Music Network, 11/15/10
“A holy grail for music nerds and writers alike, Da Capo’s Best Music Writing anthologies aren’t just required rock-critic reading—they’re a pedestal to which we all aspire.”
New York Journal of Books, 12/1/10
“These essays make the reader want to explore the music of these artists if they have not been fans before. That is what good music writing should do—it should pull the reader into the music.”
New York Amsterdam News, 11/24/10
“This year’s entry into the ‘Best Music Writing’ series touches on some of the biggest and most compelling stories of the past year…what Best Music Writing 2010 proves is that music journalism, as an industry, may be on its last legs, but music criticism itself isn’t dead.”
Library Journal, 12/3/10
“Most [essays] transcend the trends of the moment and will be appreciated by listeners with a range of tastes looking for new musical avenues to explore.”
Oxford American, 12/1/10
“Every year, without fail, Da Capo’s Best Music Writing anthology impresses… The collection remains a must-read for open-minded music fans… This volume makes for great reading.”
Austin Chronicle, 12/8/10
“Editor Ann Powers' thoughtful eye on contemporary rock writers avoids…fancy stepping, and many of the chapters are notably good.”
PopMatters.com, 12/6/10
Best Music Writing...continues to rebuke those academics and writerly peers who still question the legitimacy of pop music writing…What Best Music Writing 2010 does best is showcase the vast diversity of opinions, forms, styles and subjects at work in the music world.”
Slug, December 2010
“Beyond a collection of great articles about musicians, Best Music Writing has fantastic thoughts about how music reflects America’s changing cultural norms and vice versa.”
LA Weekly
One of the Top Ten Rock Books of 2010 (#6)
Pasadena Weekly, 12/23/10
“As the blogosphere continues to tilt the proper music press in unknown directions, this annual collection of profiles, op-eds, interviews and good old-fashioned think pieces from myriad magazines, newspapers and Web sites reminds that there’s still a place, and need, for knowledgeable and professional music writing—not just thumbnail-sized reviews, but significant essays exploring politics, society, race, self-identification and -expression through artists and songs.”

“This is one of the series’s best volumes. LA Times critic Powers’s wide taste and generous outlook means a collection that feels like a map while mostly reading like stories.”

Booklist, 12/9/10
“Wide ranging and incisive, this collection merits consideration.” 

The Stranger, 12/23/10
“Of all the best-of collections published at the end of every year, Da Capo Press’s Best Music Writing series is, well, one of the best.”
Philadelphia Tribune, 12/24/10
Da Capo’s ‘Best Music Writing 2010 has become one of the most eagerly awaited annuals out there with 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…The accomplished writing found within these pages cover a wealth of mediums and presentations…[and] allows readers a chance to discover journalists who delve deep into the corners of music culture—from rock to hip-hop to pop and country—and place not only their knowledge of music, but also their undying love for it, front and center.”

Publishers Weekly, web-exclusive, starred review, 4/11/11
“In the 11th installment, guest editor Powers and series editor Carr offer what could be one of the most prescient compilations of all…The compilation's breadth is its real appeal. While it functions as a snapshot of the events, trends, and personalities that made up 2010, it also works as a portrait of an industry and an art form in transition.”

USA Today’s Pop Candy blog, 12/2/11
“It's by far the best ‘best of 2011’ book of the year.”

Blogcritics.org, 12/2/11
“A fine collection of this year's finest essays from music critics…Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2011 is proof positive that good music journalism isn't dead.”

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Product Details

  • Series: Da Capo Best Music Writing
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306819252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306819254
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,338,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are many who bemoan the virtual disappearance of the rock-crit intelligencia from our cultural landscape. After all, newspapers are in decline and writing for the still proliferating web is often seen as too disperse - too everyman.

Hence, we look forward every year to the arrival of the latest edition of The Best Music Writing series from Da Capo Press. Each year, for the last decade, editors (in this case the return of Daphne Carr and the addition of L.A. Times music scribe, Ann Powers) scourer the music press landscape to assemble a disparate concoction of the best of a wide berth of music press. Articles from blogs to the standard bearers are considered for their variety of both format and subject and this year is no different.

The 2010 version is filled with works, long and short, covering a range of topics from pop (a Michael Jackson retrospect, the return of 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys "Empire State of Mind" as a single's review, and `Lady Gaga in Hell') to the more obscure (trekking to Burma with L.A.'s Ozomatli, a post-Katrina touch-base with cajun masters BeauSoleil, a look at Phil Ochs' Greatest Hits and a literary jam compliments of the Disco Biscuits). But the best moments are reserved for three articles in particular: Chris Willman's New York magazine piece on Dylan's Christmas album ("Going electric was one thing, but going Andy Williams?'), Too Much Joy's Tim Quirk's much circulated rant about his Warner Bros. Records royalty statement, and what reveals itself as the centerpiece of the book, Jason Fine's excellent extended opus from Rolling Stone, "The Fighter: The Life & Times of Merle Haggard.
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Well this was certainly disappointing. The writing was good enough, but it's my fault I didn't do my homework well enough to know that about three of the essays were relevant to music I listen to.
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By LD654321 on August 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
I love this series, I now own six of them. As a musician and writer, they've helped me understand what interests press, what makes interviews interesting, ways that music can be described. As a fan, they've turned me on to music I probably never would have encountered otherwise.
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