From the moment I picked up my first-ever copy of Rolling Stone in 1989 at the age of 15– with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on the cover–I knew I wanted to write about popular music. While in one way it was my compensating for the fact that I would never become a rock star, it was also an extension of something much deeper than just hearing and buying music: in my case, it was obsessively reading album liner notes, analyzing song lyrics, and poring endlessly through music encyclopedias and album guides.
Over the years, music journalism has become more than saying whether you love or hate an album. It is a serious and well-respected art form thanks to the practitioners who have made the profession what it was and still is: from the pioneers of criticism such as Greil Marcus, Robert Palmer, Ellen Willis, and Robert Christgau; to excellent features writers and reviewers like Anthony DeCurtis and David Fricke; and talented scribes such as Alan Light, Ann Powers, Evelyn McDonnell, and Maura Johnston who are keeping the tradition alive. And not only has music writing evolved over time but so has the medium for it: what once the sole domain of Rolling Stone and Spin in America, music journalism has exponentially expanded thanks to the Internet, especially the emergence of Pitchfork. Music writing still remains more popular than ever, as indicated by two newly published books that will be highlighted at separate events in Brooklyn. (more…)