PERFORMING ARTS

On the Record: Music Journalists on Their Lives, Craft, and Careers

Univ. of Massachusetts. Sept. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781625345370. $90. MUSIC
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Freelance journalist Hilleary presents an eclectic mix of interviews with more than 50 music writers, among them seasoned veterans of the pop/rock scene as well as newcomers to the field. He casts a wide net, featuring diverse voices including women, people of color, and immigrants. In seven themed chapters, he frames the discussion, then lets the journalists expound on music’s effect on their early lives, how they got into the business, the nuts and bolts of conducting interviews and writing criticism, how they matured and raised families while following a challenging career path, and what has changed given the seismic shift from all-print to mostly digital formats within recent years. Poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib, Rolling Stone writer Andy Greene, Atlantic writer Hannah Giorgis, and others eagerly share the triumphs and tribulations of their chosen profession, and their honesty and sometimes dark humor will enthrall readers.
VERDICT There’s much to ponder here for a variety of readers, from nostalgia buffs to those seeking exciting new discoveries.

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