Author(s): Ben Ratliff
The most significant revolution in the recent history of music has to do with listening: it is now possible to listen to nearly anything at any time, to ignore albums, and to instantly flit across genres and generations, from 1980s Detroit techno to 1890s Viennese neo-romanticism. Yet music criticism has historically focused on the musician's intent, not the listener's experience. Every Song Ever is therefore the definitive field guide to listening in an age of glorious, overwhelming abundance. By revealing the essential similarities between wildly different kinds of music, Ben Ratliff shows how we listen to music now, and suggests how we can listen better.
A music appreciation guide for our era ... Brilliant -- Dan Chiasson New York Review of Books A remarkable new book ... [Ratliff] goes leaping from Beethoven to Big Black, from Morton Feldman to Curtis Mayfield, identifying continuities while delighting in contrasts -- Alex Ross New Yorker The spectacle of an active mind processing a world in constant flux ... Maybe, as Ratliff beautifully argues, the brooding aggression of metal obscures a deeper melancholy -- Hua Hsu New Yorker Incisive ... Thanks to Ratliff's vast knowledge, what could have been a dry academic exercise is more like a trip into the world's coolest record store -- David Browne Rolling Stone
Ben Ratliff has been a music critic for The New York Times since 1996. His book Coltrane: The Story of a Sound was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Bronx.