This Is What We Talk About...

... When We Talk About Carl Wilson's Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste. News, events and links to reviews and interviews. Discussion welcome!
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

2014: New Edition Rants and Raves

In the spring of 2014, a new expanded edition of the book, Let's Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste, was issued by Bloomsbury, with a new afterword by Carl Wilson and 13 essays by other writers. Here is some of the press coverage for the new edition.

A very fine review by Ian Crouch for The New Yorker. (May 8/14)
Tom Shone reviews in The Guardian: "Why do we feel the need to apologize for mainstream tastes?"(May 10/14)
Review by Drew Nelles in The Globe and Mail. (April 11/14)
Review by Kurt Gottschalk for The Brooklyn Rail. (March 4/14)
"Experiments in taste": Elias Leight reviews LTAL for LARB, the Los Angeles Review of Books. (May 1/14)
"An astute exploration of why we like the silly things that we do," a review by Aishwarya Subramanian in the Sunday Guardian from New Delhi. (May 11/14)
Vish Khanna discusses LTAL on CBC's The Next Chapter. (April 28/14)

Interviews, etc.
"Why We Fight About Pop Music": An extended dialogue between Carl Wilson and Ann Powers on the NPR Music website. (April 15/14)
I discuss the book with the sharpies of the Slate Culture Gabfest at a live podcast taping at the Blue Metropolitan literary festival in Montreal. (May 7/14)
I am interviewed by the cosmopolites at the Monocle Weekly radio show. (May 11/14)
An interview by Ryan Dombal in Pitchfork. (May 6/14)
An interview with Aviel Kanter for Bookforum. (April 23/14)
An interview with Max Mertens for VICE. (April 17/14)
An interview with Jillian Mapes of Flavorwire. (April 9/14)
Vish Khanna interviews Sean Michaels and Carl Wilson on the eve of their tandem book launch in Toronto. (April 8/14)
Interview with Music Tomes website. (March 24/14)
Interview in The Listener, New Zealand (April 3/14) (paywall). 

Slate excerpts Mary Gaitskill's essay "The Easiest Thing to Forget" from the new edition. (April 23/14)
The Financial Times publishes an excerpt from the new Afterword. (May 5/14)
Graham Wright of Tokyo Police Club challenges fans to a LTAL-inspired exercise in taste-expansion in Chart Attack. (Mar. 26/14)
Tom Ewing refers to LTAL in the "My Heart Will Go On" entry of his ongoing series "Popular." (Feb. 21/14)
A reference by Tom Shone in the New Statesman as part of a review of Peter Ackroyd's biography of Charlie Chaplin. (May 8/14)

Older things I hadn't gotten around to putting up
Nick Hornby reviews LTAL in his column for The Believer, reprinted in his book More Baths Less Talking and excerpted here on the McSweenys website. (Feb, 2011)
"Let's Talk About Taste": Philip Nel discusses LTAL on his blog, "Nine Kinds of Pie." (June 22/12)
A review from the Literary Omnivore website. (Oct, 2013)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Links Roundup

All the reviews, interviews and other media I know of about Let's Talk About Love, to be updated regular-like. I'm quoting some of the "blurb"-ish things that can be pulled from them, but there are more substantial discussions amid them.
(New additions starred.)

Colbert Report interview
* Ogre Milk! Carl Wilson on The Colbert Report (Comedy Central/The Comedy Network)(view in Canada or view in the U.S.) (March 4/09)
* Post-show coverage on, on Tina Brown's The Daily Beast, on Idolator, on, on Latinteach, on The Dead Girls Project, etc. (March 5/09)
* Post-Colbert interview on CBC Radio 1's Q (March 6/09; full program podcast, interview is around the 45-minute mark)
* Zoilus post on the Colbert experience (March 15/09)
(for pre-show coverage see the next section)

At the Oscars

* Touted on the red carpet by James Franco (Sean Penn's boyfriend in Milk, the Green Goblin/Harry Osborne in Spider-Man, Daniel Desario in Freaks and Geeks, MFA student at Columbia & NYU) (MTV: Feb. 22, 2009)
* Covered in Shinan Govani's gossip column in the National Post (Feb 24/09: "Oh, He Talked About Love! Franco is frank about his affection for Torontonian Carl Wilson's book")
* The Globe & Mail: "The Franco Incident" (Feb 25/09, including the news that this has led to an invitation to appear on The Colbert Report)
* Sasha Frere-Jones's blog for The New Yorker (Feb 26/09)
* Also on Idolator, Pitchfork, NY Mag's Vulture blog, The Village Voice (Sound of the City blog), Torontoist, Quill & Quire, Limewire, Eye daily and Eye daily again, CBC Radio 3, Moonraking, My Hogtown, Living in Stereo

2008 Year End
Number 4 in Top 10 Books of the year in New York Magazine, in between Richard Price and Roberto Bolano(!). (Dec 7/08: "a slim masterpiece of stunt criticism")
Among the "Globe 100" books of the year. (Nov 29/08: "a wide-ranging book predicated on the possibility that what repels us may say more about us than what attracts us")
The UK Telegraph calls LTAL "the year's most essential book on music." (Dec 2/08)
* Ann Powers, Los Angeles Times, "on pop music in 2008" (Dec 18, 2008: "Lavinia Greenlaw, The Importance of Music to Girls, and Carl Wilson, Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste: The year's two outstanding music books.")
* No. 25 in Idolator's 80 of '08 (Dec 23/08: "He doesn't simply hold Dion up to the light — among many things, he also holds up the mass audience, the idea of schmaltz (that chapter alone ought to be required reading for anyone who purports to write criticism, of pop music or anything else), and the effect of set and setting on an artist's works.")
* KEXP best music books of the year (Dec 30/08: "Wilson’s ... may be my favorite book of the year, period, in its cold-stare reckoning of how we judge others by what they (and we) enjoy.")
* Onion AV Club, "Our favorite books of 2008" ("Carl Wilson’s startlingly good entry in the 33 1/3 music-book series surveys the work of Celine Dion and functions as an uncommonly honest, unerringly rigorous inquisition into the vagaries of 'taste,' and how they manifest in ways we seldom acknowledge.")
* Papermag, "Who's Reading What? The Best of 2008" (Jan 5/09: "When I was three pages in, I decided I had a crush on this book. Now, I just want to marry it.")
* Eye Weekly's top authors of 2008 pick their faves (Dec 17/08)

New York magazine, Dec 17/07 ("this book goes very deeply right")
The New Yorker's Alex Ross recommends LTAL to the National Book Critics' Circle, Feb 14/08 ("I finished the book with the feeling that the mystery of music had deepened just a little more")
Bookforum (Feb/Mar 2008 issue; "an important study — not just of Dion and pop music but also of the changing nature of criticism in the popular realm")
The Telegraph (UK) ("intelligent and often moving")
Montreal Gazette ("rigorous, perceptive and very funny")
* Miami New Times, Randall Roberts, Jan. 14 2009 ("In terms of staring into the belly of the beast and finding peace and joy within - or at least tolerant understanding -- this book stands alongside such classic aesthetic/cultural examinations as Dave Hickey's treatise Liberace: A Rhinestone as Big as the Ritz, and David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. A perfect little book about a 'perfect' singer.")
Flavorpill NYC (Alex Abramovich, Jan 22/08: "Despite the abundant preconceptions surrounding Wilson’s ostensible subject (or, perhaps, because of them), the results are subtle, and startling enough to give the most jaded of readers pause.")
Heather Mallick for (Feb 25/08; scroll to end of column) ("Wilson has written an elegant, informed, witty essay ostensibly about the awfulness of Dion but in fact about snobbery, inconspicuous consumption, subversion, schmaltz, the power ballad, coolness, the globalization of pop music and the skinny woman herself. ... Music criticism is often just guy-world. Wilson's the real thing. I can't praise this small book enough. Smart, but humane")
The Glasgow Herald, "The Titanic Struggle Between Love and Hate" (Keith Bruce, Sat March 8/08, review not online) ("Wilson packs an enormous amount into what is one of the longer books in the series... Clever and witty, it almost made me seek out the album. But not quite.")
* Expressen (one of Sweden's largest newspapers) (Magnus Haglund, April 30/08: "Det är detta som gör Carl Wilsons studie epokgörande, förmågan att avläsa en samhällelig komplexitet genom att sätta den egna ambivalensen på spel.")
Portland Phoenix (Christopher Gray, March 19/08) (as well as the Phoenix blog) ("it makes a convincing (and, to my mind, pretty harrowing) argument")
Douglas Wolk/Savage ("excellent book")
The Globe and Mail ("insightful, engaging and unexpectedly moving" - spoiler alert here: the review quotes a few crucial passages that you might prefer to read in context)
* St. Petersburg Times (Dec. 7, 2008: "a great idea for an extended riff on pop culture")
Exclaim! (Cross-Canada music monthly) ("Balancing theoretical analysis with deeply personal asides and entertaining colloquial anecdotes")
Eye Weekly (Toronto) ("the work of a cultural warrior gone soft")
Denver Post (reprinted in the Providence Journal and the Hudson Valley Times Herald Record) ("razor-sharp and unerringly intelligent")
Amanda Stern ("a truly thoughtful, engaging and surprisingly funny book")
Conscientious (Jorg Colberg) ("very well written and full of surprises") (later ran a giveaway of the book as a contest)
The Uncut blog (UK) (John Mulvey, March 7/08) ("constantly interesting and thought-provoking... a sophisticated polemic")
Hipster Book Club ("one of the most interesting and erudite books on why people love and hate certain kinds of art")
Zigzigger ("Wilson is a critic in the best sense") ("digs up all kinds of fascinating issues about the nature of taste and the hierarchy of pop culture")
Erasing Clouds ("an illustration of the best side of music criticism")
Moot Point (Feb 6/08: "I’m really thrilled to report that the book ... lived up to the hype")
The Moviegoer ("I'll never look at Céline the same way again")
Bricolage ("This may be my favorite book ever written about music, at least one of my favorites. Carl Wilson manages to drop Fanon and Kant all over the place and not be remotely pretentious")
Christopher Pratt ("You owe it to yourself to pick up a copy if you're at all interested in aesthetics, culture, taste, or music. This is the best book I've read in months.")
* Jacob Wren on Lemonhound (Feb 13/09: "[What] struck me most upon re-reading the book (in order to write this text) was how deeply moving I often found it.")

Interviews (text)
The Montreal Gazette (T'Cha Dunleavy, Aug. 8/08)
The Onion AV Club (Steven Hyden, March 6/08)
Fab Magazine, Canada, #354, Sept, 2008 (Scott Dagostino, in a piece called "Drama Queen?" speaks to Carl Wilson and others about Celine Dion, and calls Wilson's book "a brilliant, often hilarious takedown of Dion and her music")
Las Vegas Review Journal (Mike Weatherford, Dec. 16/07)
Crawdaddy (Feb 6-12 issue, "Tastes Are Composed of a Thousand Misunderstandings" by Jake Swearingen) (extensively commented on by The Music of Unemployment, Feb 16)
Washington Post "Express" (Feb 12/08) ("... its principal points are consistently thought provoking while they simultaneously make some of contemporary pop music's gatekeepers seem like sourpusses")
* Birmingham News ("Syrupy music hard to swallow but critic learned to like Celine Dion," Jan 9, 2009)
The Tyee
* The Brantford Expositor (Wilson's hometown paper; March 27/09)
Elle Magazine (While the book was still in progress, July/07, "Celine Dion... Rocks!"; not online)

Other Press
Los Angeles Times reviewer Ed Parks, Sept 7/08, in a review of two other music books: "Carl Wilson's fascinating, probing 2007 Celine Dion book."
The Globe and Mail (adapted excerpt)
Guerrilla Magazine
Michigan Daily
Metro (Boston)
New Bedford Standard-Times/South Coast Today (TV column on Celine special, Feb 15/08, New Bedford, MA)
Las Vegas Weekly (Frank Kogan)
Quill & Quire (December, 2007: Not online. Owen Pallett [Final Fantasy] names LTAL as a book to watch for in '08 as part of year-end issue)
Black Book ("Five Surprising Facts About Celine Dion," Jan 21/08)

Radio and TV
Talking Books with Ian Brown (Dec 29, 2007) (CBC Radio 1 national books panel discussion, rebroadcast July '08)
Soundcheck: Interview (WNYC/NPR, New York, Jan 3/08)
Soundcheck again: Discussion with philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah (WNYC/NPR, April 18/08)
To The Best of Our Knowledge (Wisconsin Public Radio/PRI, program on the theme "Musical Taste," Jan 27/08: audio)
TVO's The Agenda, Apr. 28/08 (click on "What Happened to the Hits" tab and "watch video" button on right) (Panel discussion loosely related; with "the Dan Hill!")
The Bryant Park Project (NPR, New York, interview)
Fair Game (New York, Public Radio International, interview)
CBC Radio Q (or podcast mp3) (CBC Radio One, Toronto, interview Dec 14/07)
USA Today 'Pop Candy' Blog Podcast (interview)
Too Beautiful to Live with Luke Burbank (710 KIRO in Seattle, interview)
The John Moore Show (CFRB, Toronto, drive-home show, interview; not online)
CBC Radio Noon, Montreal, Aug 22/08 (phone-in discussion of Celine Dion)
Definitely Not The Opera (CBC Radio One, national; interview clip in item on Crocs, podcast here)
Here and Now (CBC Radio One, Ontario, drive-home show, Jan 9/08; interview, not online)
Book Television interview (aired Feb 29 on CTV and March 6 on Bravo)
Star TV "Inside Story of Celine Dion" special

Online Discussion
Said the Gramophone's beautiful series of posts on taste in response to the book: part 1, part 2 and part 3
Alex Ross (The New Yorker/The Rest Is Noise) ("brilliant")
Carl's LTAL contribution to Largehearted Boy's terrific "Book Notes" series
Powells (my contribution to the bookstore site's 33 1/3 guest series)
* Rob Walker ("Consumed" columnist for the New York Times) on his blog NO Notes (Dec 21/08: "I thought it was tremendous.")
Jim Emerson of the Chicago Sun-Times on his "Scanners" blog (Feb 15/08, with extensive comments)
Simon Reynolds' Blissblog (best-of-2007 lookback)
Richard Gehr on AARP "Music for Grownups" column ("fascinating meditation on aesthetics, fandom, and loathing") preview ("one of the most interesting music books you'll read this year")
FourFour (creator of the "Celine Dion is Amazing" viral video, in part a response to the book) ("read this book and prepare to have your expectations blown and mind expanded")
* Hayden Childs, From Here to Obscurity (author of Let's Shoot Out the Lights book in 33 1/3 series) ("It's not just unusual but astonishing, too. Wilson rises to the occasional admirably ... constantly challenging not just himself, but his readers, too. As a work of music criticism, it's more like Harry Frankfurt's work of popular philosophy On Bullshit than anything else.")
* Imagitude (Matt Cahill) ("I cannot recommend this book enough.")
Coke Machine Glow (reviews the book-launch event: "Carl Wilson is a man who knows his moment. He has written likely the most talked-about book in 33 1/3, a series of small volumes celebrating prominent albums in the rock canon. After the initial double-take, his choice of Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love appears inspired and poised to pull off the greatest critical recovery since Justified. Luckily, it doesn’t end there...")
The Stranger blog (Seattle) (June 2/08)
Mother Jones' "Riff" blog
KEXP radio blog
Las Vegas Sun Culture blog ("Celine Dion is finally cool" - hmm)
Seen Reading
Utopian Turtletop ("The conversion narrative is beautiful")
The Cure for Bedbugs has issues with the book, and again here (with extensive comments sections in each case)
Word Things ("a pure delight")
Assorted Phonemes
Scrolling Eye ("The attention from either side of the border ... was unprecedented for a volume in the 33 1/3 series...")
Blue On One Side ("I'm blown away by this book. I can't recommend it highly enough.")
Brijit ("this is a bold step for a music critic, and should be applauded")
Gawker ("what a cool idea!")
Richard Florida ("fascinating")
Heteronormativity and Performativity ("the kind of fast read that forces one to ask lasting questions")
Drift ("top of my reading list")
Radio Free Canuckistan ("absolutely brilliant")
In a Second If You Wait ("It’s impossible to read Carl Wilson’s terrific Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste without reflecting on your own personal history of preference..." - interesting post)
Freakytrigger ("I’ll be buying his Celine Dion book too, as will most of the cerebral wing of critland I’d guess" - debates place of the book in the series)
Confessions of a Cultural Idiot (launch report: "After this hectic, jam-packed evening of music, analysis, and talk, do I want to read Wilson’s book? Yes, a thousand times yes.")
Clap Clap Blog
Largehearted Boy (preview)
Flavorpill (promoting Word bookstore reading in Brooklyn)
Moving and Shaking (passage from book)
Quill and Quire Blog 1 and 2 ("the book is getting the kind of mainstream media attention that other books in the 33 1/3 series ... can only dream of")
CBC Radio 3
Mud-Luscious and Puddle-Wonderful
Pretty Goes With Pretty
Steve Krause
Just Above Sunset
The Omniscient Mussel
Between Adam's Ears
My Tragic Right Hip
Paper Pills
Good Reads
A Cup of Tea & A Wheat Penny
Guardian Unlimited (quick mention)
CBC Arts (in passing)
Pulpwood Queen
Chart Attack (mention of launch)
Steve Krause
Moving and Shaking.
Rockandroll Damnation. (April 27/08) ("A difficult book to review as you are tempted to just quote the whole bloody thing.")
Neil Shyminsky (Aug 17/08)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

When We Talk About Let's Talk About Love

Welcome to This Is What We Talk About, a new page to keep track of reviews, media and readings for "Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste," by Carl Wilson (aka Zoilus, aka me) part of the 33 1/3 series of books on albums. This is just the traditional "testing, testing" inaugural post. Substance to follow.