Best Music Writing 2008

Nelson George, editor

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Best Music Writing 2008 is like a well-thought-out mix burned by someone who doesn’t mind a little Britney with his black metal (and really, who doesn’t?). Short, pithy essays are balanced by longer, in-depth pieces. The ninth entry in the annual series pulls from the usuals (The New York Times, Spin, Slate, The New Yorker), but even the little guys who crank out copy for rags, zines and blogs get repped. Decibel Magazine’s J. Bennett explores Norwegian black metal bands that are waging war, not on Christianity, but on those they feel are tarnishing the blackness by selling out. Read about how a 33-year-old white kid from Riverside, Calif., had to dupe vinylphiles in order to sell the funk music he loved before forming Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Pitchfork’s Tom Ewing insists on analyzing ABBA’s lyrics. The comp also includes articles on the changing face of the music industry on the Internet, including a singer-songwriter who successfully quit his day job to make music full-time in “Sex, Drugs and Updating Your Blog.” In keeping with the mix analogy: Burn this book … wait, don’t set it on fire … just buy it.