This book is a compilation of pieces by Jessica Hopper covering the period from 2003 to 2014 (the book came out in 2015) from a variety of American publications from SPIN and Punk Planet through to Village Voice and Chicago Reader.
It’s split into different sections and covers reviews of albums from Miley Cyrus through to St Vincent and Cat Power and events such as Coachella and the Vans Warped tour. It also has articles on subjects ranging from the Suicide Girls to deconstructing Lana Del Rey and an interview with Jim DeRogatis discussing the R. Kelly case. Most of the articles are brief - to be honest, a lot of them were about artists I’m not that interested in but there was enough to keep me interested especially as I thought JH was a really good writer, smart and incisive and entertaining.
For example, a discussion on emo turns into a wider debate about the role of women in music and how female fans/critics respond to the way women are often portrayed in music. - “Us girls deserve more than one song. We deserve more than one pledge of solidarity. We deserve better songs that any boy will ever write about us.”
At the start of the book, she admits the title is not entirely accurate but it is true that there are comparitively few books by female music critics. Hopefully this book goes some way to redressing that + as she says -
“The title of this book is about planting a flag; it is for those whose dreams (and manuscripts) languished due to lack of formal precedence, support and permission. This title is not meant to erase our history but rather to help mark the path.
This book is dedicated to those that came before, those that should have been first, and all the ones that will come after.”
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN MARCH 2016