''No writer on music has as keen a mind or as great a heart as Ann Powers. Sex is the subject, but Good Booty is really a tour-de-force history of an entire century of pop, rich in feeling and fierce in insight. It's a dazzling achievement.'' (Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise)
''A revelatory road trip through the erotic fever dreams of American culture . . . tells the whole epic saga of how music became the confessional where we go to share our deepest secrets and desires . . . Only Ann Powers could make this story so head-spinning -- and often heartbreaking.'' (Rob Sheffield, author of Dreaming the Beatles)
''A fearless and often funny, feminist work. I feel like I have been waiting my whole life for this book -- Good Booty is glorious!'' (Jessica Hopper, author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic)
''An instant, indispensable classic, for a culture that always needs sexual healing.'' (Carl Wilson, author of Let's Talk About Love)
''A major, original, comprehensive piece of rock history and analysis.'' --(Robert Christgau, author of Going Into the City)
''With precision and wit, and across multiple musical genres, Powers contextualizes the complicated interplay of gender, sex, and race inherent in popular music within and against the backdrop of America's puritanical founding.'' --(Library Journal, starred review)
''Fascinating. . . . readers won't look at Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj the same way.'' --(Kirkus)
From the Back Cover
In this sweeping history of popular music in the United States, NPR’s acclaimed music critic examines how popular music shapes fundamental American ideas and beliefs, allowing us to communicate both emotionally and truthfully about our most fraught social issues, sex and race.
In Good Booty, Ann Powers explores how popular music became America’s primary erotic art form. She takes us from nineteenth-century New Orleans through dance-crazed Jazz Age New York to the teen scream years of mid-twentieth-century rock and roll and the cutting-edge adventures of today’s viral pop stars. Drawing on her deep knowledge of gender and sexuality, Powers recounts stories of forbidden lovers, wild shimmy-shakers, orgasmic gospel singers, countercultural perverts, soft-rock sensitivos, punk Puritans, and the cyborg known as Britney Spears to illuminate how eroticism—not merely sex, but love, bodily freedom, and liberating joy—became entwined within the rhythms and melodies of American song. This cohesion, she reveals, touches the heart of America’s anxieties and hopes about race, feminism, marriage, youth, and freedom.
Spanning more than a century of music, Powers both heralds little-known artists—such as Florence Mills, a contemporary of Josephine Baker, and gospel queen Dorothy Love Coates—and sheds new light on artists we think we know well, from the Beatles and Jim Morrison to Madonna and Beyoncé. In telling the history of how American popular music and sexuality intersect, Good Booty—Powers’s magnum opus over two decades in the making—offers new insights into our national psyche and our soul.