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Best Music Writing 2010
December 16, 2010 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Best Music Writing 2010 - Links inside!

I recently picked up a copy of Best New Music Writing 2010 (ed. Ann Powers / Daphne Carr) and I quickly got deja vu - a lot of the pieces originally appeared online, and I read several of them for the first time via links here on the blue. Below is a roundup of those articles I could find still up around the web - so here's a partial look back at the year in music.

Greg Tate on Michael Jackson

Jason King on Michael Jackson


Sasha Frere-Jones on Tricky and The-Dream


Christopher Wiengarten on Twitter (video)

Hua Hsu on the end of White America

Robert Christgau on Brad Paisley

Josh Kun on Mexican cellphones

Geoffery Himes on BeauSoleil

Randall Roberts on Burma

Jessica Hopper on David Bazan

Nitsuh Abebe on Indie Rock

Timothy Quirk on his digital royalty statement


Evie Nagy on the Disco Biscuits


Barry Walters on Wendy and Lisa

Aaron Leitko on D.C. punk houses

Eugene Holley Jr. on Maria Schneider

Mark Swed on Gustavo Dudamel


Gregg Pratt on the NKOTB reunion

Chris Willman on Dylan's Christmas record

Nikki Darling on Guns N' Roses

Joe Caramanica on Chris Brown

Raquel Cepeda on Rihanna

Sean Nelson on the 1990s

Mary Gaitskill on Lady Gaga
posted by chaff (15 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Das Racist on noted asshat Sasha Frere-Jones
posted by docgonzo at 2:56 PM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Dave Zahl on Axl Rose
(confession: I know Dave)
posted by jefficator at 3:07 PM on December 16, 2010


Wow. Wendy and Lisa did an album with Trevor Horn that's never been released? I'd love to hear that.

(Thanks for this post. Great stuff, and most of it I'd missed first time around.)
posted by hippybear at 3:16 PM on December 16, 2010


Excuse me, is this the right door for the Architecture Ballet?
posted by Herodios at 3:16 PM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Great work putting this together! I have some reading to do.

That Nitsuh Abebe article on indie rock should be mandatory reading.
posted by naju at 3:16 PM on December 16, 2010


So much interesting! Will take me some time to read all these, but thanks for separating out the links and for the post! So great to see someone writing about Maria Schneider as well. An under-rated composer.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:20 PM on December 16, 2010


There's a new Tricky?
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on December 16, 2010


Excuse me, is this the right door for the Architecture Ballet?

Funny, I just saw Alex Ross speak, picked up his new book Listen To This and the opening paragraph of the preface is about the "writing about music is like dancing about architecture" thing:

Writing about music isn't especially difficult. Whoever coined the epigram "Writing about music is like dancing about architeture" -- the statement has been attributed variously to Martin Mull, Steve Martin, and Elvis Costello -- was muddying the waters. Certainly, music criticism is a curious and dubious science, its jargon ranging from the wooden...to the purple...But it is no more dubious than any other kind of criticism. Every art form fights the noose of verbal description. Writing about dance is like singing about architecture; writing about writing is like making buildings about ballet. There is a fog-enshrouded border past which language cannot go...

So why has the idea taken hold that there is something peculiarly inexpressible about music?

posted by mediareport at 4:30 PM on December 16, 2010


I agree with Alex Ross' take on the "dancing about architecture" quote, mediareport.

But I also agree with Zappa's assessment that most rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read.
posted by The World Famous at 4:36 PM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


He admits that although the lyric I mentioned is not a good example, there are plenty of “goofball lyrics” on the disc. It’s something he feels the band didn’t really think about: people might not want to hear a 39-year-old man singing about being “your boyfriend.”

That is so funny. I have to find NKOTB comeback lyrics now.
posted by anniecat at 4:41 PM on December 16, 2010


My Instapaper was already overfull. Thank you for adding to my backlog.
posted by immlass at 6:55 PM on December 16, 2010


So why has the idea taken hold that there is something peculiarly inexpressible about music?

Mu.
posted by Herodios at 7:27 PM on December 16, 2010


Fantastic post, much to read. I've gotten through a few so far - liked the Indie rock article but my favorite at this point is the Mexican Cellphones piece.

"“Feeling like you’re close to home is so important for Mexican audiences,” said Leila Cobo, Billboard’s executive director for Latin content. “In recent years it’s stopped being taboo to be Latin or Mexican. Assimilation is not the only option. For the younger fans it’s cool to like these artists and be proud of where you’re from.”

That phone companies and ring-tone providers are paying attention to this trend is a change from what many in the Mexican music industry characterize as years of willful, often culturally biased neglect from marketing and advertising agencies. Despite their commercial success, few norteño or banda artists — with their cowboy hats, horses, accordions and tubas — typically end up with the kind of major marketing and advertising deals that go to artists like Shakira or Enrique Iglesias, who embrace a more cross-cultural look and sound."

posted by mannequito at 9:44 PM on December 16, 2010


But I also agree with Zappa's assessment that most rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read.

As a former rock journalist, it is my sad duty to report that this is 100% true.
posted by Rangeboy at 9:53 PM on December 16, 2010


Pointless? Maybe. But there's some damn fine writin' up there.
posted by alvarete at 2:35 AM on December 17, 2010


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