Best Music Writing 2010
Ann Powers and Daphne Carr, eds.
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Buy *Best Music Writing 2010 (Da Capo Best Music Writing)* by Ann Powers and Daphne Carr, editors online

Best Music Writing 2010 (Da Capo Best Music Writing)
Ann Powers and Daphne Carr, editors
Da Capo Press
352 pages
November 2010
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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As the title suggests, this is an anthology of the most illuminating music writing from the past year. Guest edited by Ann Powers, chief pop critic for the Los Angeles Times, this edition brings together over 30 gifted journalists including Robert Christgau, Gregg Pratt, Nikki Darling, and Jody Rosen.

There are pieces here on everyone from 50 Cent and Merle Haggard to Lady Gaga, Phil Ochs and Kanye West. Here, an an example of music journalism at its finest, is Christgau's introduction to a piece on Brad Paisley.

Fifteen seconds of tune-up precede a partying rock riff tha's corny even by Nashville standards. But it sure does rock, and soon it takes on virtuoso flourishes. Finally, 40 seconds in, thee's a rather un-Nashville lyric: "She's got Brazilian leather boots on the pedal of her German car/Listenin' to the Beatles sisngin' 'Back in the U.S.S.R.'" Thus begins the lead and title cut of Brad Paisley's American Saturday Night. So optimistic it's intrepid and shameless at the same time, American Saturday Night rejects the anxious escapism and dark undercurrents of actually existing country, pop, and rock convention. As it strives to touch every human being in a nation Paisley knows is less unified and forward-looking than he pretends, the farthest it deviates from message is two breakup songs of uncommon tenderness and dignity. There's not a bum track on it - unless you're one of those sophisticates who's a priori nauseated by tunes more memorable than striking, lyrics that parse, pitch-corrected vocal harmonies, waveform compression, and strawberry ice cream.
This is high-brow writing, intellectual, deep-diving and thoughtful. You'll need to take time with these pieces, but once you wade through them, you'll come away with a much greater knowledge than you had going in.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2010

Also edited by Daphne Carr:

Also written and/or edited by Ann Powers:

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