The best contemporary music books on this list are specific and sweeping, creating new narratives that challenge dominant orthodoxy on music and its histories.
The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds is not a racist text, but its impact was racist because it further encoded rock as a white genre, perpetuating the institutionalized prejudice that relegated African Americans to the margins of rock.
Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life is 45 years old. It’s a towering masterpiece in the histories of soul, pop, American music, and Black music worldwide.
Joni Mitchell’s Blue and Carole King’s Tapestry were fueled by petroculture, which powered the rise of feminism in music. How? Read on.
Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.
Say what you will about Matchbox Twenty – I know I once did. But during this COVID-19 pandemic, we're all going "crazy" and feeling "a little unwell" in this time of isolation, and I'm turning to their music.
Though called "The First Lady of Song", Ella Fitzgerald is more lauded for her spectacular vocal sound than for her interpretations of lyrics, but a new reissue should help correct that understanding of her art.
Recorded in late 1993 and achieving notoriety as leader Kurt Cobain's epitaph, Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York is back for a 25th anniversary reissue. Are the new rehearsal tracks enough to justify buying the album again?
Viewing Aretha Franklin's work through a focus on race, gender, and other categories of analysis can challenge us to do the same with all music, acknowledging how multiple points of oppression and privilege impact the production, consumption, and reception of a wide range of music.
These are multiple works of genre history and works tackling important issues of race, class, and gender. All challenge dominant narratives of music.