Da Capo Best Music Writing 2001: The Year's Finest...

Editor's Choice

March 10, 2002|By Michael Pakenham

Da Capo Best Music Writing 2001: The Year's Finest Writing on Rock, Pop, Jazz, County and More, edited by Nick Hornby and Ben Schafer (Da Capo Press, 337 pages, $14).

This is the second of what I hope will be sustained as annual collections of pop music writing. There are marvelously written pieces that are in the main delightful even if you are not fond of the music. Greil Marcus, Whitney Baliett, Nick Toches, David Rakoff, Rian Malan all have fine articles. If you have ever wondered about the meanings of the culture that has produced rap music, N. R. Klein-field's "Guarding the Borders of the Hip-Hop Nation" will set you straight and entertain -- superb reporting. Bill Buford's "Delta Nights" lovingly probes Dixie with sensitivities like: "The South has a history of mythmakers, and at the heart of the Southern myth is a love affair with loss." There are a few weak bits, but the bulk of the articles -- all previously printed in magazines or newspapers -- is first rate.

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