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IS IT STILL GOOD TO YA?

FIFTY YEARS OF ROCK CRITICISM, 1967-2017

A vital chronicler of rock’s story, several decades on.

A robust compendium of work by the “Dean” of rock criticism.

Christgau (Going into the City: Portrait of the Critic as a Young Man, 2015, etc.) positions his familiar critical voice to take the long view regarding his lifelong dialogue with music and youth culture, noting, “one does become more weathered as one ages, which is quite different from knowing that getting weathered is in the cards.” Thus, the book is organized into sections that broadly reflect developmental stages over a century of American pop as well as his own maturing perspective—e.g., “A Great Tradition,” “Postmodern Times,” and “Got to Be Driftin’ Along.” The most powerful selections appear first, in “History in the Making.” These longer essays, which deal with the social underpinnings of popular music and the strange machinations of the music business, include a prescient report on the long-term prospects of British punk, published in 1978 in the Village Voice: “I consider their hostility healthy, especially given how much they’ve been maligned.” Later, the author immerses himself in malaise-filled 1990s spectacles like Woodstock ’94 and Lollapalooza, noting that at earlier festivals, “going for the music meant going for the culture in a way it no longer can.” Otherwise, Christgau remains focused on the output of specific artists. This often entails discussions of significant creators he considers misunderstood, including remembrances of (among others) Chuck Berry and Prince, “the most gifted artist of the rock era.” Other rock personages to receive in-depth consideration in multiple pieces include Sonic Youth, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, M.I.A., and the Ramones (“they did conquer the world, if changing rock and roll utterly counts”). At a moment when music criticism seems less empowered for being more fragmented, Christgau still offers an informed, authoritative perspective, self-aware regarding cultural aging and mortality, not stodgy but wry.

A vital chronicler of rock’s story, several decades on.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4780-0022-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Duke Univ.

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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