counter create hit Best Music Writing 2011 - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Best Music Writing 2011

Availability: Ready to download

Best Music Writing has become one of the most eagerly awaited annuals of them all. Celebrating the year in music writing by gathering a rich array of essays, missives, and musings on every style of music from rock to hip-hop to R&B to jazz to pop to blues, it is essential reading for anyone who loves great music and accomplished writing. Scribes of every imaginable sort—no Best Music Writing has become one of the most eagerly awaited annuals of them all. Celebrating the year in music writing by gathering a rich array of essays, missives, and musings on every style of music from rock to hip-hop to R&B to jazz to pop to blues, it is essential reading for anyone who loves great music and accomplished writing. 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.


Compare
Ads Banner

Best Music Writing has become one of the most eagerly awaited annuals of them all. Celebrating the year in music writing by gathering a rich array of essays, missives, and musings on every style of music from rock to hip-hop to R&B to jazz to pop to blues, it is essential reading for anyone who loves great music and accomplished writing. Scribes of every imaginable sort—no Best Music Writing has become one of the most eagerly awaited annuals of them all. Celebrating the year in music writing by gathering a rich array of essays, missives, and musings on every style of music from rock to hip-hop to R&B to jazz to pop to blues, it is essential reading for anyone who loves great music and accomplished writing. 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.

30 review for Best Music Writing 2011

  1. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    Guest editor Alex Ross (The New Yorker; author of The Rest Is Noise) does a fine job here assembling a omnivorous collection of pop, classical, and jazz essays. The most interesting pieces are the artist profiles, which include Ke$ha, Duke Ellington, Lady Gaga, Pantha Du Prince, Will.i.am (I daresay you'll respect him after reading "Will.i.am and the Science of Pop Domination" by Chris Norris), Nicki Minaj, Michael Jackson, The Runaways, and Nina Simone. If any or all of those sound boring, you' Guest editor Alex Ross (The New Yorker; author of The Rest Is Noise) does a fine job here assembling a omnivorous collection of pop, classical, and jazz essays. The most interesting pieces are the artist profiles, which include Ke$ha, Duke Ellington, Lady Gaga, Pantha Du Prince, Will.i.am (I daresay you'll respect him after reading "Will.i.am and the Science of Pop Domination" by Chris Norris), Nicki Minaj, Michael Jackson, The Runaways, and Nina Simone. If any or all of those sound boring, you're dead wrong. Each personality comes to life, almost becomes tangible. Their narratives are intoxicating. There's not a whole lot of playfulness here outside of a few essays. "The Mothership, lost in space" by Chris Richards is about the writer's quest to find Parliament Funkadelic's enormous space ship stage prop. "How To Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop" is a fun, surprising history of the vocoder. And "Word" by Kelefa Sanneh takes the semi-controversial stance that rap is poetry. The writing that left me unaffected, sad to say, was usually about jazz or classical music, with an exception or two ("Beethoven's Kapow" by Justin Davidson or "The Grandest Duke" by Geoffrey O'Brien). I read this one very fast, either because it was *that good* or because I had too much coffee and a long lay-over in the Atlanta airport.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stargyde

    Ok, I couldn't put this book down. This was great. While I occasionally write a blog about music, this is some of the best stuff I have seen from persons who love both the vocation and the industry. Great stuff. Really bummed out that therestisnoise.com is on hiatus, but it may come back again. It may be a little too high-brow for my admittedly pedestrian tastes, however I find it well written and appealing. Give this one a read if you like music and like well-thought critical analysis of curren Ok, I couldn't put this book down. This was great. While I occasionally write a blog about music, this is some of the best stuff I have seen from persons who love both the vocation and the industry. Great stuff. Really bummed out that therestisnoise.com is on hiatus, but it may come back again. It may be a little too high-brow for my admittedly pedestrian tastes, however I find it well written and appealing. Give this one a read if you like music and like well-thought critical analysis of current trends.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Well done, Alex Ross. You made me care about classical after all! A well-assembled collection of concert reviews, profiles, think pieces and Ke$ha analyses. Perfect for our modern musical landscape, in which the top indie arbiter of taste gives respect to pop, pop musicians sample indie stars and people genre-hop and iShuffle it up with little discrimination.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Arthur Cravan

    Justin Davidson - Beethoven's Kapow I really enjoyed this piece. I enjoy listening to classical music, but am not an aficionado, so just to be safe I usually stick to the big names. I got a big book on the best pieces, how to appreciate them which CDs the good versions are on, etc., but am yet to go through it & really gain that appreciation. So I love little pieces like this which really brings the character & passion out of - & into - music. As someone who knows nothing about what's going on, I Justin Davidson - Beethoven's Kapow I really enjoyed this piece. I enjoy listening to classical music, but am not an aficionado, so just to be safe I usually stick to the big names. I got a big book on the best pieces, how to appreciate them which CDs the good versions are on, etc., but am yet to go through it & really gain that appreciation. So I love little pieces like this which really brings the character & passion out of - & into - music. As someone who knows nothing about what's going on, I can recommend this piece as something that got me excited. Jonathan Bogart - Keep Tickin and Tockin Work It All Around the Clock I've not secretly always kind of admired Ke$ha. When she first came out, she struck me as some pop-based, female continuation of the Beastie Boys. I can't say I know more than three of her songs, but she seems cool, & I read that she worked to get where she is. She writes a lot of her own shit, she is not such a product. Anyway, I mostly liked this article, too. At times, it gets very music-journo. I often want to punch music-journos. I'm not sure I could spend too long around one at a party. But what should I expect opening a book like this? All the pieces suffer from it, to some extent. But this 5,000 word dissection of the Ke$ha phenomenon - I believe it was written at a time where she just had the one album out - does its job just fine. Again, read even if you don't like Ke$ha. Maybe it'll show you a lil' summat about her. Geoffrey O'Brien - The Grandest Duke I've always liked the idea of Duke Ellington, & throw on random records of his occasionally. But I couldn't name you anything he's done (an unfortunate fate most jazz musicians I listen to suffer from). This article was a nice way to get into him - I feel like I can trust the author, & he rattles off the names of classics from different eras, & seems to be one of those folk who understand when an artist has a bad time for real & when he is just getting bagged out for not doing more of the same. The tale of the Duke seems to be an interesting one - he seemed to have a great sense of integrity, & affected more change than I would have thought in culture as a whole. Nice read. Vanessa Grigoriadis - Growin Up Gaga I loved this. I took so many notes. I like Gaga a lot. It's sad at the end, if it's true, of her leaving some of her old friends behind. But I assume they weren't really that great a friend in the first place. Enlightening article into the world of Gaga. Chris Richard - The Mothership, lost in space This is kinda interesting. But not too much. & I love Parliament/Funkadelic. Dave Tompkins - Excerpt from How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop I guess it's just a snippet from a book, so I can't be hatin'. & I definitely didn't know a lot of this stuff. But it doesn't really interest me, either. Jace Clayton - Curiosity Slowdown I've known about chopped & screwed rap pretty much since I got into rap. I never really liked it. But this article is interesting, & a nice tribute to DJ Screw & the genre itself. The Justin Bieber thing at the end was incredible, as well. I'd never heard that. Marcia Adair - Meet Your #operaplot 2010 Winners *Nods... affects a Al Pacino-by-way-of-Kevin Spacey voice*... Funny. Ann Powers - A Pop Critic Takes on the Ring Short & sweet. I wish I could have seen the performance. Kelefa Sanneh - Word I have a hard time looking at rap lyrics as poetry & at rappers as poets. It's rare. 2Pac rarely strikes me as a poet. Eminem almost never. Nas is maybe a step or two ahead of Pac, but... & this is coming from a rapper who has dedicated over a decade to honing in my skills on the craft & studying & dissecting what's happened throughout the history of the genre. I have infinite respect for rap. That's the first thing a lot of people take away after we have a conversation on music. I have a very deep respect for it that most people don't understand. But it's different from poetry. It's more of a mix between poetry, sport, & vocals-as-an-instrument. The sport element is very important. At least Nas & Em & all the other rappers I consider as lyrical giants would undoubtedly tell you that. Kelefa uses a manifesto & then textbook (?) by Adam Bradley &, in the case of the latter, Andrew DuBois as jump-off point for the essay. Its focus is to touch on the validity of the lyricism & poetic rhythym of rap music. He seems passionate & intelligently opinionated on the genre, which is a big plus. Reading about rap & its world from outsiders can be a real exercise in temper-control. Having said that, I'd be interested in picking up the Bradley/DuBois book - The Anthology of Rap. (I only assume they're outsiders.) [Insert essay the next 'paragraph' ended up becoming. The takeaway is that rap is its own form & needn't fall under the umbrella of poetry. Just as Dylan is a great lyricist but walks away looking like a clumsy poet when his songs are held to that standard, even the greatest rappers will not be able to stand next to the respected practitioners of a field which is not technically their own. & that's fine.] Anyway, Sanneh brings up Jay-Z's Decoded, & the essay basically becomes his dialogue between the Anthology & the reality of an intelligent rapper's officially published breakdown. It's thought-provoking, & as with all good essays in this book, it comes recommended to everyone, including people not a fan of the genre. Nitsuh Abebe - Why We Fight #5: Why Risks Are Risky Praise be to Mr. Abebe & praise be to CocoRosie. I wasn't familiar with Abebe, but I liked the honest, open voice of this article & am now following his remarkably smile-worthy Twitter account. I haven't listened to CocoRosie in enough years to make me feel old, but this definitely made me want to blow the dust off some of those records & give them a closer listen (& see what they've been up to lately). Amy Klein - Tour Diary Day Four: Rock and Roll is Dead I hate to seem like one of those 'feminists need to shut up' people, because I'm not. I definitely roll my eyes at those overzealous ones who seem to be fighting for something a bit different from 'equality', but Amy seems to have her head screwed on pretty tightly. I just didn't take much interest in this article. Jeremy Denk - Jetlagged Manifesto Denk seems like a good guy, but he's not the greatest writer. On top of that, I don't really know what he wants. I mean, it's a manifesto - he kind of lays down what he wants. Kind of. He especially lays down what he doesn't want. It's all just complaining, really. I appreciate that it's only one article in a much larger book, but as an exaggerated statement, a whole book of this would be unreadable. It sounds a bit like a blog post (if I could be bothered checking the contents page, it might well be). It's kind of like... don't read program notes. Write your own. Do whatever, man. But why am I reading this? Jessica Hopper - Making Pop for Capitalist Pigs I believe this author knows what she's talking about. Morad Mansouri - The Underground Rises Forgive my shallowness, but I stopped reading this when he spelled 'Snoop Dogg' with just one 'g'. I know it's petty, & I'm only shooting my own foot, cuz it kinda seemed interesting, but this is a book of music journalism fer crissake. Philip Sherburne - Pantha du Prince I read the quote at the start & raised an eyebrow, suspicious as to how they were going to relate this to Prince. Heads up. This article is not about Prince. I'd never heard of Pantha du Prince, but like most reviews or articles I read on an artist or album, this piece made me interested in checking out his stuff. I don't think I'll like it, though. But the guy seems like an interesting artist. Mike Turbe - Wormrot, Defeatist, Mutant Supremacy,Psychic Limb and Curandera - October 3rd - The Acheron, Brooklyn I really don't know why this is in here. David Hajdu - Giant Steps Hey, this guy wrote that Dylan book. Fancy seeing a name I know in here. Anyway, the subject - Fred Hersch - seems like one of those generational-genre-genii. I don't know if he's underrated - it doesn't sound like it given who he performs with & where at - but I've never heard of him. Chalk it down to not knowing any modern names in jazz. Anyway, maybe I'm just tired, but the article didn't totally grab me. It was nice enough, though, & educational. Chris Norris - will.i.am and the Science of Global Pop Domination I never knew what to make of will.i.am. He certainly makes hits. He's got a bit of a midas touch. & he was signed to Ruthless & grew up, I assume, in some rough streets. But I see him now, & right upstairs I can hear the TV going, & he's a judge on the Australian version of The Voice. So, either he's super humble & doesn't think that kind of thing is below him, or he's just washed up or money-hungry. Or doing some sneaky manoeuvre that he thinks will ingratiate himself with the Australian public, which he might consider foreign somehow. But I'm beginning to think it's option A. This was a great article, & Will seems like a pretty great dude. I would recommend this article. Very informative. Lauren Wilcox Puchowski - Notes From a Wedding I'm happy for Kenney Holmes, I wish him the best. & there's nothing particularly wrong with the article... I guess I just miss the point to it all. Jason Cherkis - For the Record Hats off to folk like Ian Nagoski. An interesting read. Caryn Ganz - The Curious Case of Nicki Minaj She's no Lady Gaga, but you gotta give Nicki her props for doin' what she do. I think she's opened up doors for certain types of rappers (primarily female), & that's a great thing. This piece is a good advertisement for her & her message. Drew Daniel - "Gasping, But Somehow Still Alive" Geez, even reading the article gave me that empty emotion I get while listening to The Smiths. Daniel has a nice story, I guess. Chet Flippo - Nashville Skyline: Searching for the Heart of Country "Heart and soul of country, though? The listeners will decide that." Thanks Chet. Franklin Bruno - The Honeymooners For what it is, this is a rather lengthy history of Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, "Nashville's first full-time, non-performing songwriters". It sounds like they have an impressive history, though I haven't heard any of the songs mentioned, & the reprinted lyrics didn't seem anything above standard country-romance fare. I'm sure they're beautiful sounds, though. Sometimes I just wanna sit down & throw on a bunch of Bill Anderson records. If they make music like that, they must be worth checking out. Sasha Frere-Jones - The Long War Ohhhh that's how you pronounce Sade. I think because the name Sade always struck me as a reference to a certain author & historical sexual figure, I thought Sade was some sweaty underground noise band from the late 80s. I really have no idea how I came to this conclusion. This was a nice article, & I will be checking out Sade soon enough. Nancy Griffin - The "Thriller" Diaries A great peek into Michael's life at a certain point of time, & the craziness that surrounded it, including financial fallouts that still seem to be getting sorted out over 25 years later. This was a long article, & I loved every minute of it. A lot of people's points of view on what was going on. Evelyn McDonnell - The Runaways I first learned about The Runaways from the film, which I quite enjoyed. Sandy West's character didn't play that big a part in it. This article was good at illuminating a bit more of her character, which ended up being pretty hectic. James Wood - The Fun Stuff I have very little interest in playing the drums, & not too much more in drumming in general. But this article got me the most excited I've ever been about it. Bravo. Nate Chinen - Direction Nowhere I never knew Miles Davis opened up for Neil Young. First of all, I would have imagined it being the other way around if it were to happen, but really, I just never would have seen either show existing anyway. This is a nice piece on the two, drawing some loose parallels & offering interesting thoughts besides. Joe Hagan - I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free Wow. Nina Simone. What a woman. I never knew much about her. I know that when I went to check out her tracks, they weren't what I'd call soul or funk... not the ones I heard. Not like Aretha. But I really dug her powerful live version of George's 'My Sweet Lord'. That shit gave me goosebumps. I could tell she was a powerful woman with soul, but a lot of her music drove me away. But after reading this, & having been away from her for a number of years, I think it's time to dive in. Poor ol' Nina. She was very sad... she probably didn't deserve it. Let's pray for her. Wendy Lesser - Darkness Invisible This is a great concept. I wish I could have been there. Nicely written article. Short, sweet, nice closer to the book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike Balsom

    The last book in what was an annual series starting in 2000. The title says it all. I can't claim to have read all music writing from 2011, but it's pretty safe to say there couldn't have been much that was better than what was collected in this publication. Essays on new discoveries Pantha du Prince and Fred Hersch, early takes on now-huge stars Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha, pieces about jazz, classical and funk, stories about a search for the Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership and a record s The last book in what was an annual series starting in 2000. The title says it all. I can't claim to have read all music writing from 2011, but it's pretty safe to say there couldn't have been much that was better than what was collected in this publication. Essays on new discoveries Pantha du Prince and Fred Hersch, early takes on now-huge stars Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha, pieces about jazz, classical and funk, stories about a search for the Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership and a record store owner who discovered a 1920's Greek chanteuse, and probably the best take on the genius drumming of Keith Moon I have ever read make this a tough book for a music fan to put down. Writers here include the great Venessa Grigoriadis, Sasha Frere-Jones, David Hajdu, Chet Flippo and Caryn Ganz with works originally published in the New Yorker, LA Weekly and the Washington Post. It's a shame this series ended with this book. Sit by the fire, cue up each artist on Spotify and give this book a try.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Clark Isaacs

    “Best Music Writing 2011” is the twelfth in an acclaimed series of annual collections which celebrates the best writing on every style of music from rock to hop with all other long hair genres included. Short stories, which have appeared in various magazines and elsewhere, combine, giving insight into some of the backgrounds of artists who are still in the limelight, even though they may have left this earth. Alex Ross, guest editor, is a music critic for the “New Yorker” and is the author of a “Best Music Writing 2011” is the twelfth in an acclaimed series of annual collections which celebrates the best writing on every style of music from rock to hop with all other long hair genres included. Short stories, which have appeared in various magazines and elsewhere, combine, giving insight into some of the backgrounds of artists who are still in the limelight, even though they may have left this earth. Alex Ross, guest editor, is a music critic for the “New Yorker” and is the author of a best seller entitled “The Rest Is Noise.” Daphne Carr, series editor, has worked on this project for six volumes. They have both combined to bring some of the most interesting stories written by the top writers in the music industry for the 2011 edition. Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Duke Ellington, and even Beethoven emerge together in this delightful anthology. Readers who are not very familiar with Duke Ellington and the music he wrote and conducted will learn the legacy he left behind. When I asked several of my students what they knew of Duke, I was surprised how little this current generation knew about jazz greats of the past. It is easy to catch-up with this book, but at the same time become more aware of contemporary artists. Educational cutbacks have created voids in music, art, and food appreciation; these short stories are one way in which to fill that space. There is an interesting article, which delves into one musician’s specialty. Lauren Wilcox Puchowski’s article “Notes from a Wedding” describes Kenney Holmes in a riveting story of how he developed a small wedding musical group that played society weddings in the Washington, D. C. area. His upbringing and development as leader are fascinating. Current financial trends have affected his bookings so that even the societal weddings are turning to other entertainment and instead of being booked every weekend, his group plays once a month. Today’s music performers influence our lives by bringing us enjoyment, music appreciation, and when combined with a bird’s eye view what makes them tick, we can really appreciate how valuable this series of books is to our culture. Normally, a collection of short vignettes or stories will leave us wanting more, but in this case, each story is fully complete. Well done, and highly recommended is this 5 Star book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Patryk

    This book really delivers on the promise of its title. I was amazed at the scope of the music styles discussed and the variety of the voices used by its 30+ authors. Reading every one of those essays indeed makes you want to listen to the artists and songs they're about, whether you care any bit for Ke$ha, Richard Wagner and obscure early-20th century Greek singers or not. I especially liked Amy Klein's "Tour Diary Day Four: Rock and Roll is Dead", which makes one of the most straightforward and This book really delivers on the promise of its title. I was amazed at the scope of the music styles discussed and the variety of the voices used by its 30+ authors. Reading every one of those essays indeed makes you want to listen to the artists and songs they're about, whether you care any bit for Ke$ha, Richard Wagner and obscure early-20th century Greek singers or not. I especially liked Amy Klein's "Tour Diary Day Four: Rock and Roll is Dead", which makes one of the most straightforward and powerful cases for feminism I have ever seen in the realm of music journalism.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I enjoyed this book very much. The editor Alex Ross is one of favorite music writers, and he's ade some great eclectic choices. My favorites: The Grandest Duke, Why We Fight #5: Why Risks are Risky, Tour Diary Day Four: Rock and Roll is Dead, Jetlagged Manifesto (program note writers, observe!), Giant Steps: The Survival of a Great Jazz Pianist, The Honeymooners, The Fun Stuff. Honorable mention I would have like included: Gonzalo Ruiz, Oboist, Restoring Bach

  9. 5 out of 5

    C. Michael

    I am disappointed in this installment of Da Capo's Best Music Writing series. As Popular Music has atomized, so has the writing and writers are all too tempted to simply spill their seed on the ground as Jonathan Bogart does for 5,000 words about the marginal KE$HA. Justin Davidson's Beethoven article and Ann Power's thoughts on Wagner excepted, this book as a clotted snooze of hip writing that takes itself too seriously. I do not take is seriously enough for a full review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meg Cain

    Highlights for me were James Woods exuberant and percussive deification of Keith Moon in "The Fun Stuff", Nancy Griffin's "The Thriller Diaries", Amy Klein's "Tour Diary Day Four: Rock and Roll Is Dead", Vanessa Grigoridas's "Growing Up Gaga", and my personal favorite "For The Record" by Jason Cherkis.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Will

    Frankly, I knew almost nothing about much of the music that was discussed here. The most intriguing piece was the one about the making of Michael Jackson's Thriller video. There were only 2 or 3 pieces relating to classical music, which is my main area of interest and expertise. So while much of it was interesting, I had a hard time relating to the music or musicians that were under discussion.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Phil Overeem

    As always, thought-provoking, inspiring, hard on the wallet--these volumes always send me out for new music--and moving. This one's especially good as a result of Mr. Ross' balanced hand and ear.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Simon Sweetman

    Really great stuff in here - one of the best from the series; look forward to reading the 2012 edition.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Impressively varied collection of writing. Many strongly written pieces and high standard. The weaker pieces did add to the breadth of topics discussed.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Limeminearia

    I didn't read all the essays and a few were wanky, but several were great. I especially liked the one on michael jackson. worth a browse for sure.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Hodgson

    This is mostly great stuff -- I really loved the piece that shows the night when Neil Young and Miles Davis shared a bill together.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Travis Heller

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris Estey

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karl Nehring

  21. 5 out of 5

    Renee

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  24. 5 out of 5

    D.A.Calf

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wib

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  28. 5 out of 5

    Martyn Pepperell

  29. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brian Howell

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.