Is It Still Good to Ya?: Fifty Years of Rock Criticism, 1967-2017


Product Details

Duke University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 0.9 X 9.0 inches | 1.3 pounds
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About the Author

Robert Christgau currently contributes a weekly record column to Noisey. In addition to four dozen Village Voice selections, Is It Still Good to Ya? collects pieces from the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Spin, Billboard, and many other venues, including a hundred-word squib from the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. The most recent of Christgau's six previous books is the 2015 memoir Going into the City: Portrait of the Critic as a Young Man. He taught music history and writing at New York University from 2005 to 2016.


"You either love Christgau or you don't, but his cantankerous, affectionate, cut-to-the chase reviews and essays over the past 50 years have defined music journalism, and this collection offers an opportunity to re-read the best of the self-proclaimed Dean of American Rock Critics."--Henry Carrigan"No Depression" (07/02/2018)
"Christgau is . . . one of America's sharper public intellectuals of the past half century, and certainly one of its most influential--not to mention one of the better stylists in that cohort. Fun is a big part of why."-- (05/22/2019)
"A treasure trove of the most incisive, witty pop music reviews and commentary ever committed to print."--Ken Tucker"Fresh Air" (12/18/2018)
"These pieces from a preeminent critic will reward a wide swath of music fans who will perhaps be provoked to discuss the mosaic that is popular music in the 20th and early 21st centuries."--James Collins"Library Journal" (09/21/2018)
"Though Christgau is best known for his pithy, graded Consumer Guide blurbs, this monumental tome collects his longer essays on both essential figures in popular music and his own pet favorites, at least a few of which he'll convince you deserve to be considered essential themselves. Buy two copies--one to throw angrily across the room, one as a reference."-- (11/28/2018)
"This is complicated work, but for a dean it's plenty fun, and joy to dip into or explore in depth, both for full appreciations and single lines. Offering some tips for 'growing better ears' on the book's first page, he suggests you 'spend a week listening to James Brown's Star Time.' The ensuing pages will keep you listening and thinking for many, many more weeks besides."
-- (02/15/2019)
"The self-proclaimed dean of rock criticism is now in his 70s, and his ongoing influence is felt wherever thoughtful music writing is valued. This collection of work spanning 1967-2017 highlights his omnivorous taste, showing Christgau to be just as comfortable reflecting on Woody Guthrie, Sam Cooke, and the Spice Girls as he is on Radiohead, Mary J. Blige, or Youssou N'Dour."-- (09/07/2018)
"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."
-- (07/30/2018)
"Gleeful flurries of verbal shadow-boxing make this a book which can be enjoyed for the writing alone. . . . His curiosity and sass remain un-diminished at the age of seventy-six and his own musical preferences acknowledge no frontiers."-- (10/09/2018)
"If the New Journalism movement of the early '60s sought to remove the never-wholly-real concept of objectivity from news reporting, so too did Christgau and his Village voice colleagues remove it from music writing. In fact, that's why this collection is such a worthy read even for those who haven't read much Christgau over the years. You may or may not be compelled to seek out the music he writes about, or you may wholeheartedly disagree with his assessment of that music, but you will enjoy the way he writes about it. Music is personal for him--it's personal for all of us, really--and he writes like it is, only with way more erudition than a common Facebook post."-- (12/11/2018)