Da Capo’s Second-Best Music Writing 2011: 112 Of Last Year’s Most Notable Music Stories


The 2011 edition of Da Capo’s annual anthology Best Music Writing— which this year was guest edited by The New Yorker classical writer and The Rest Is Noise author Alex Ross; Daphne Carr has been the series editor since 2006—contains 32 essays and is augmented by a a jumbo-sized “Other Notable Music Writing” section. This year’s honorable mentions list (or at least the galley for it, which sometimes differs from the final version) contains 129 further recommendations, for which we found links to 112, presented below. (All are from 2010.) Happy reading.

Stacey Anderson, “The Jazz Evangelism of Woody Allen” (Village Voice, July 1)

Noah Arjomand, “Rap in the Capital: Hip-Hop Tehran Style” (PBS Frontline, April 22)

Jake Austen, “The Woman on the Right” (Chicago Reader, Feb. 11)

Zach Baron, “Flux = Rad” (Slate, March 18)

Mike Barthel, “Scissor Sisters, ‘Night Work’: Yay for Sex and Drugs and Pleasure” (The Awl, June 28)

Angus Batey, “The Hip-Hop Heritage Society” (The Guardian, Oct. 7)

Trish Bendix, “The ‘If I Was a Boy’ Trend in Music” (After Ellen, Nov. 16)

Larry Bluemenfeld, “How Treme Can Get It Right” (Village Voice, March 30)

Jonathan Bradley, “Just Being Miley” (American Review, April 21)

Norman Brannon, “So, hey Nicki Minaj. It’s real talk time.” (Nervous Acid, Nov. 24)

Frank Bruni, “An Ageless Diva of a Certain Age” (New York Times, Nov. 21)

Brett Campbell, “Gonzalo Ruiz, Oboist, Restoring Bach” (Wall Street Journal, July 15)

Jon Caramanica, “Seeping Out of Houston, Slowly” (New York Times, Nov. 4)

Rodney Carmichael, “The Making of OutKast’s Aquemini” (Creative Loafing, June 24)

Conor Christofferson, “About a Grandson” (Seattle Weekly, Aug. 18)

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Travelling Music” (The Atlantic, Feb. 19)

John Colapinto, “New Note” (The New Yorker, March 15; subscribers only)

Alex V. Cook, “The Ozzy Osbourne T-Shirt” (Offbeat, Nov.)

Sergeant D, “The Final Word on Metal Drumming” (Metal Sucks, Dec. 3)

Jane Dark, “Vomiting Up Tequila & Glitter: Pop 2010” (Lana Turner, Dec.)

Dessa Darling, “Dessa Reflects on Her Artistic Journey” (City Pages, Aug. 18)

Jonathan Dee, “New Orleans’s Gender-Bending Rap” (New York Times, July 22)

David Dennis, “Curren$y: the new high life” (OffBeat, Sept.)

Rachel Devitt, “Justin Bieber Cracks Up” (Village Voice, Aug. 18)

Camille Dodero, “Live from Insane Clown Posse’s Gathering of the Juggalos” (Village Voice, Sept. 8)

Sady Doyle, “Rivers Cuomo Messes You Up Forever” (The Awl, April 27)

Baz Dreisinger, “Reggae’s Civil War” (Vilage Voice, March 2)

Andrew Earles, “Jay Reatard Remembered” (Spin, Jan. 28)

Chuck Eddy, Frank Kogan, Michaelangelo Matos, Katherine St. Asaph, John Seroff, Al Shipley, and Martin Skidmore, “Far East Movement ft. Cataracs & Dev–Like a G6” (The Singles Jukebox, Sept. 28)

Gavin Edwards, “Dr. Luke’s Awesomely Trashy Pop Sound Is Ruling the Airwaves” (Rolling Stone, April 29)

Jeremy Eichler, “There Is Magic in the Music” (Boston Globe, July 11)

Tom Ewing, “Shiny Shiny: A Future History of the CD Revival” (Pitchfork, March 5)

Jonathan L. Fischer, “Our Year in Moombahton” (Washington City Paper, Dec. 24)

Sidik Fofana, “Refugee for Prez” (Corner Boy Jazz, Nov. 7)

Mick Foley, “The Wrestler and the Cornflake Girl” (Slate, Sept. 28)

Tad Friend, “Sleeping with Weapons” (The New Yorker, Aug. 16)

Yoav Fromer, “Message” (Tablet, Nov. 23)

Leor Galil, “Everything’s Coming Up Kittens” (Chicago Reader, Oct. 14)

Luis-Manuel Garcia, “Showdown in Spreepark” (Resident Advisor, Nov. 26)

Gus Garcia-Roberts, “Scott Storch Raked in Hip-Hop Millions and Then Snorted His Way to Ruin” (Miami New Times, Aug. 22)

Rachel Kaazdi Ghansah, “He Shall Overcome” (New York Observer, Nov. 30)

Sarah Godfrey, “Private school go-go goes public” (, Aug. 12)

Thomas Golianopolous, “Jay Electronica: Man or Myth?” (Spin, July)

Peter Gordon, “Teenage Days with Captain Beefheart” (Nedslist/The Daily Swarm, Dec. 20)

Joe Gross, “In Praise of the Vuvuzela” (Austin American-Statesman, June 29)

Matthew Guerrieri, “Complexity Wars” (New Music Box, Sept. 8)

Jack Halberstam, “What’s Paglia Got to Do with It?” (Bullybloggers, Sept. 14)

Shirley Halperin, “Who Destroyed Epic Records?” (Hollywood Reporter, Nov. 18)

Steve Haruch, “Women Account for Less Than 5 Percent of Producers and Engineers” (Nashville Scene, June 3)

Eric Harvey, “This Is Not a Photograph” (Pitchfork, Sept. 13)

Dave Heaton, “A Mexico State of Mind” (PopMatters, Nov. 9)

Virginia Heffernan, “Sound Logic” (New York Times, Feb. 19)

David Hepworth, “When the Last Recording Studio Goes, What Will Go with It?” (The Word, March 13)

Monica Herrera, “The Year That Went Pop” (Billboard, Dec. 10)

Geoffrey Himes, “Hillbilly Heaven” (Baltimore City Paper, May 26)

Marc Hogan, “What’s the Matter with Sweden” (Pitchfork, March 29)

Hua Hsu, “The Passing of a Record Store” (The Atlantic, Sept. 7)

Steve Hyden, “Part 5: 1994: Kurt Cobain Is Dead! Long Live Soundgarden!” (The A.V. Club, Nov. 30)

Ethan Iverson, “Interview with Gunther Schuller” (Part 1; Part 2) (Do the Math, Sept. 19)

Vijay Iyer, “Theonious Monk: Ode to a Sphere” (JazzTimes, Jan./Feb.)

Maura Johnston, “Dirty Projectors, Solange Knowles, and the Perils of Music-Racism” (Village Voice, Jan. 19)

Maura Johnston and Christopher R. Weingarten, “The 20 Worst Songs of 2010, #1: Train, ‘Hey, Soul Sister'” (Village Voice, Dec. 22)

Rich Juzwiak, “A Collage for a Collage” (Four Four, July 15)

Aryan Kaganof, “Aryan Kaganof Interviews Johnny Mbizo Dyani” (Kagablog, April 7)

David Kastin, “Fred Ho and the Evolution of Afro-Asian New American Multicultural Music” (Popular Music and Society, April 7; paid .pdf)

Lenny Kaye, “Dennis Wilson: Like the River to the Sea” (eMusic, Sept. 3)

Frank Kogan, “Ke$ha Day 2” (Koganbot, March 4)

Dan Kois, “Tickets Out!” (The New Yorker, Sept. 20)

Toshitaka Kondo, “Making Minaj” (Complex, Oct./Nov.)

Chris Kornelis, “Marco Collins Picks Up the Pieces” (Seattle Weekly, Dec. 29)

Molly Lambert, “In Which John Mayer Is a Douchebag for Possibly the Last Time” (This Recording, Feb. 11)

David Lowery, selections from 300 Songs)

Fiona Maddocks, “Bayreuth Festival 2010” (The Guardian, Aug. 1)

Sharanya Manivannan, “The Venus Flytrap: In Song and in Silence” (Sharanya Manivannan’s WordPress, June 12)

Chris Martins, “Flying Lotus Rising” (L.A. Weekly, May 13)

Michaelangelo Matos, “Three Singles Featuring 3OH!3” (The Stranger, July 13)

Erik Maza, “Cuban Punk Rockers Gorki and Gil Used Music to Take on Castro” (Miami New Times, June 24)

Anne Midgette, “Is Anybody Listening? American Opera Faces Crossroads as Audiences for Performing Arts Slide” (Washington Post, June 27)

Barbara Mitchell, “December Boys Got It Bad” (Blurt, March 24)

Larry Mizell Jr., “Taste That Crown” (The Stranger, Jan. 5)

Evie Nagy, “Devo: How to Get Ahead with Advertising” (Billboard, July 11)

Tavia Nyong’o, “Lady Gaga’s Lesbian Phallus” (Bullybloggers, March 16)

Ben Patashnik, “A Day to Remember: The New Sound of Sacrifice Rock” (Rock Sound, Nov.)

David Peisner, “When the Bottom Fell Out” (Spin, July)

Matthew Perpetua, “At the End of the World with Gauntlet Hair” (The Awl, Dec. 28)

Chris Randle, “Curtis Jackson and the Jeweled Skull” (Social Text Journal, Oct. 1)

Gillian Reagan, “on Rap and Rape and Dudes in a Room” (Shield Your Eyes, Nov. 11)

Eugene Robinson, “Lena Horne: A glamorous revolutionary” (Washington Post, May 11)

Lisa Robinson, “Lady Gaga’s Cultural Revolution” (Vanity Fair, Sept.)

John Roderick, “Chucked Profit: Benefit Shows Can Be Bad Business” (Seattle Weekly, Nov. 23)

Jody Rosen, “Joanna Newsom, the Changeling” (New York Times, March 7)

Katrina Stuart Santiago, “The Charice Challenge” (GMA News, Sept. 20)

Scott Saul, “Off Minor” (Boston Review, Sept./Oct.)

Rebecca Schmid, “To Teach the World . . .” (BBC Music Magazine, Aug.; .pdf)

Solvej Schou, “Hanging at Lemmy’s Virtual Castle in ROCKTropia: Watch Out for the Demon Spawn” (L.A. Times, May 10)

Shea Serrano, “Out of the Box” (Houston Press, June 24)

Ben Sisario, “Looking to a Sneaker for a Band’s Big Break” (New York Times, Oct. 6)

RJ Smith, “Debasement Tapes” (Spin, Nov.)

Deborah Solomon, “Straight Outta Wesleyan” (New York Times, Dec. 5)

Sam Stephenson, “Dorrie Glenn Woodson” (The Paris Review, Dec. 22)

Lisa Taddeo, “The Ke$ha-Loving, Command-Defying Army Auteur” (New York, Aug. 1)

Stephen Titmus, “Boy’s Own: A History” (Resident Advisor, Jan. 12)

Aidin Vaziri, “Big Stage Exposes Justin Bieber’s Limitations” (San Francisco Chronicle, July 19)

Gabe Vodicka, “Why the Caged King Sings” (Creative Loafing, Dec. 13)

Jesse Walker, “2010: The Year John Cage Broke” (Reason, Dec. 30)

Theon Weber, “The Iceberg Songs of Taylor Swift” (Village Voice, Nov. 3)

Christopher Weingarten, “The Life and Death of Alan Carton” (Village Voice, Jan. 22)

Jeff Weiss, “The Madlib Mystique” (L.A. Weekly, June 24)

Carl Wilson, “Busby Madoff Dreams” (Back to the World, Aug. 26)

Zach Woolfe and Seth Colter Walls, “Renee Fleming’s ‘Dark Hope’: June Cleaver Does Muse” (The Awl, June 16)

Bill Wyman, “Please Allow Me to Correct a Few Things” (Slate, Nov. 5)

Rob Young, “Cloud of Knowing” (The Guardian, June 12)