It is often difficult to assess the many new emerging music genres without some guidance from a well-respected voice to help differentiate the good from the mediocre, the classic from the fleeting. THE NEW ROLLING STONE ALBUM GUIDE provides readers with such direction, categorising the new sounds with insightful analyses and critical judgement. The new guide celebrates rock's diversity and it's constant metamorphoses. Continuing the useful one-to-five-star ratings of THE ROLLING STONE ALBUM GUIDE, published in 1992, the new volume gets a fresh makeover with the addition of new artists, as well as updated entries, without compromising the indispensable material in the original guide. In addition, a new introduction addresses the changes in the music industry and explores the brouhaha surrounding internet music downloads. Rolling Stone editors Nathan Brackett, Joe Levy, Christian Hoard, and Jenny Eliscu write new entries and update existing material with flair and authority, making this volume the guide to own. With clarity and accuracy, the editors feature records from the seminal bands and DJs that epitomise the beats of the Nineties and the incipient sounds of the 21st century.
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Nathan Brackett is a senior editor at Rolling Stone, where he has edited the magazine's record reviews section since 1996.
Christian Hoard is a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone. He has also written for The Village Voice, Blender, Spin, and The Boston Globe.
"How do you make an album guide that fits in a book bag?" Bracket asks in the introduction to this door-stopping compendium. "Selectively," he answers. To trim down the possibilities, the editors of this book decided to limit their entries to domestically released recordings currently available through major online stores. This makes it easy for consumers to buy what they want, as long as they want the latest mainstream music. Roughly 70 percent of the writing in this guide is new; Brackett notes that the editors chose artists who "have made a lasting, undeniable contribution to pop music." There are extra-long entries for Miles Davis, Dion, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Elvis and Muddy Waters, but a few baffling oversights (e.g., George Harrison is missing while the maligned Paula Abdul remains). The Guide is not intended for popular music historians, but a comparison with earlier editions reveals much about trends in popular music commentary: Chicago’s recordings, once ahead of their time, are now "schlock;" a Rolling Stone reviewer has realized that Yes made some good records; and Tony Bennett merits triple the space he occupied in 1992. The new edition’s 72 authors (vs. the four in 1992) produce a tone and style less consistent than in past editions. Some things have not changed: the best-selling albums generally get the highest ratings, and punks and bluesmen are demigods. Often entertaining, the guide offers comprehensive album lists and usefully ranks the innumerable collections available for many artists. (Also welcome is the short section on anthologies and soundtracks.) However, readers seeking lengthy reviews of individual albums would probably be better off looking elsewhere.
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