Everyone’s a critic

A quick round-up of US and Canadian press coverage and some late-running reviews in the UK and Ireland, if only so I can remember where I put it all.

“Ambitious, astute… Lynskey displays complete command of the music and the events that sparked it.” – Kirkus (starred review)

“Comprehensive and beautifully written” – Booklist (starred review)

“These quirky sections, along with the book’s comprehensive scope and the author’s crisp prose, are the major attractions of “33 Revolutions Per Minute.” – Sean Wilentz, New York Times Sunday Book Review

“lovely writing… Let’s praise the agile, many-tentacled writer Mr. Lynskey can often be, because I loved bits of this book; you can pluck out the many tasty things like seeds from a pomegranate.” – Dwight Garner, New York Times

“Magnificent… Lynskey is as subtle as he is passionate… To create a book as convincing and vivid on the topic as Lynskey has done here, might have seemed a daunting challenge, had he not done it so spectacularly well.” – Nina Power, The Wire

“A panoramic view of music, politics and social history that’s wonderfully well-written, informative and often surprisingly funny, despite the book’s ultimately serious intent.” – Uncut

“It’s a bracing and informative survey, even if you’re familiar with the topic” – The Nation

“Lynskey wears his research lightly -the book is both insightful and colourful throughout.” – National Post (Canada)

“Provocative [and] absorbing” – Cleveland Plain Dealer

“[An] expansive, 660-page history.” – New York Post (Required Reading)

“Scholarly but always entertaining… a weighty but addictive read.” – Hot Press (Music Book of the Fortnight)

“33 Revolutions is more a historical work than a catalogue of music.” – New York Journal of Books

“33 Revolutions Per Minute, makes the case that the political pop song is one of incredible breadth, worthy of as much respect and analysis as any other. Across a mammoth 864 pages, we are given the in-depth stories behind 33 historic protest songs, their fellow travellers, and the underlying political moments, issues or campaigns that went with them.” – The National (Dubai) – interview as well as review

I also wrote a couple of top fives for Slate’s Brow Beat column.

And here’s a nice mention on the Entertainment Weekly website.

It was also reviewed by Le Tigre’s Johanna Fateman in Bookforum (no link). Interesting to be reviewed by somebody who is mentioned, if only in passing, in the text.




Nitsuh Abebe, New York magazine’s pop critic, is so reliably sharp and eloquent that it’s almost annoying. Here he asks why many Americans wanting an anthem to celebrate the killing of Osama Bin Laden turned to Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA

. This penultimate paragraph is especially terrific:

Thus does the death of Bin Laden, who was sort of the evil photo negative of a pop star — a charismatic multi-millionaire who communicated mostly by releasing videos — turn into something very much like a pop song. Most Americans want to party, and most Americans wanted Bin Laden to die of something other than renal failure. Listening to this song as a festive assassination theme has a classic Bush-era “bring it on” quality: We cherish a solid excuse to indulge in a little high-spirited cockiness, chauvinism, and provincialism about the things we like and do well. Cyrus’s video, which cribs heavily from the clip for Lenny Kravitz’s cover of “American Woman,” is stocked with a great many of those things we like and do well: a drive-in theater, trucks and muscle cars, Daisy Dukes, giant flags. It is, just like bin Laden’s death, another convenient opportunity to celebrate ourselves.