Ann Powers

Ann Powers appears in the following:

Top 10 Top 40 Of 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 was the year that showed the door to the idea that mainstream pop is inconsequential junk. The intense debates that raged about many of the year's most widely heard songs — "Royals," "We Can't Stop," "Cruise," "Blurred Lines," "Thrift Shop" — proved that ...


Ann Powers' Top 10 Albums And Songs Of 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Last spring I started having a daydream. What if instead of going through the agony of compiling a year-end Top 10, I did something much more fun — like host a girls' night out? My fantasy involved a night of convivial chatter and music-making across genres and generations: a country ...


Writers Club: Women In Music: Critic's Picks

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NPR Music's Ann Powers, and Jessica Hopper, music editor for RookieMag and author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, share some favorite books about or by women in music.


Author Amy Tan; Writers Club: Women In Music; Bela Fleck And Brooklyn Rider

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In this episode: Best-selling author Amy Tan talks about her first book in eight years, The Valley of Amazement, tells us what playing in a band with Stephen King is like, and, she plays a few favorite songs for Soundcheck's Pick Three series.

Then, this week's Writers Club: Women In Music series continues with NPR Music's Ann Powers and RookieMag music editor Jessica Hopper, who share their favorite books about women in music.

And, the borders between musical styles come crashing down as the globetrotting banjo player Bela Fleck and the adventurous string quartet Brooklyn Rider play a live set in the Soundcheck studio.


Holding Music History In Your Hands: Why Archives Matter

Friday, November 01, 2013

How much are lost sounds worth? That's a complicated question. Record collectors have been jacking up the value of rare music since at least the swing era, when the writer Leonard Feather popularized the term "moldy fig" to describe jazz fans who only liked the old ...


First Listen: Luscious Jackson, 'Magic Hour'

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The best dance music is the kind that reminds you to move through life with your body rocking. It's one thing, a necessary thing, to get on the dance floor; but it's also supremely beneficial to carry that funky sway onto the streets and into daily routine. Luscious Jackson, the ...


What Lou Reed Taught Me

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lou Reed was the first rock star to truly mess up my mind. It was the end of the '70s; I was in high school. With no older siblings and few friends to guide me — my sweet boyfriend was a classical cellist — I was stumbling around ...


'Ray Of Light' Was Madonna's 'Mid-Life Enlightenment' Record

Thursday, September 19, 2013

NPR Music’s Ann Powers calls Ray of Light Madonna's “mid-life enlightenment” record — and she walks us through this interesting chapter in the star’s career.

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Madonna Week: 'Ray Of Light' Revisited; Madonna In Detroit; Dessa Plays Live

Thursday, September 19, 2013

In this episode: NPR Music’s Ann Powers joins us for a deep dive into Madonna’s 1998 album Ray of Light.

Plus: In 1984, Detroit News reporter Susan Whitall interviewed Madonna about growing up in Michigan. Thirty years later, Whitall -- who still works for the Detroit News as a music, features, and entertainment writer -- reflects on that interview with Madonna early on in her career.

And: Minneapolis rapper and singer Dessa — of the independent hip hop collective Doomtree — embraces a melodic side on her latest album Parts Of Speech. Hear her perform in the Soundcheck studio.


First Listen: Elvis Costello & The Roots, 'Wise Up Ghost'

Sunday, September 08, 2013

The new documentary Muscle Shoals recalls how interracial harmony in tumultuous times made possible a new kind of music. Leading African-American artists traveled to North Alabama — not exactly a place they thought they'd be welcome in the civil rights era — to jam with an all-white crew of session ...


Innovation And Time-Honored Ways Meet On Nashville Stages

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Onstage at Nashville's tiny Station Inn, the multiplatinum-selling country veteran Alan Jackson announced that he was nervous. He had reason to be, considering that the music-bizzers who'd scored one of the night's 150 tickets were sitting cheek-to-jowl with regulars, all diehard bluegrass fans. He was there to celebrate his


Nine Inch Nails And Earl Sweatshirt Explore Darkness

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Earl Sweatshirt is concerned about the children. "I've seen a three year old who didn't really know how to speak but who fully knew how to use an iPad the other day," the rapper whose official debut album, Doris, has just landed with a healthy splash said in


First Listen: The Julie Ruin, 'Run Fast'

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kathleen Hanna's voice shatters things — maybe glass, given the lung capacity behind her vibrating wail, but more importantly barriers and preconceptions. Her '90s band Bikini Kill helped revitalize both indie-rock and feminism; in that group and in Le Tigre, the beats-based trio that followed, Hanna created sounds ...


First Listen: Bob Dylan, Highlights From 'Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)'

Sunday, August 18, 2013

If Bob Dylan's long career as a genius of the American spirit has taught us anything, it's that one fan's trash is another one's treasure. "I never looked at songs as 'good' or 'bad,' only different kinds of good ones," he once said. Dylan's music, from the magpie folk ...


Fall Pop Preview: A 'Roar' Of 'Applause' For New Music

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Listen at the audio link to Ann Powers' conversation with NPR's Rachel Martin about the pair of singles that jump-started the fall 2013 pop season.

How do you know autumn is on its way? Turning leaves? Previews of Oscar contenders at the movie theater? The announcement ...


Of Ingenuity And Insane Clown Posse: 5 Books On Music For What's Left Of Summer

Thursday, August 08, 2013

It's already August 8, which means you've got maybe three or four weeks left to complain about preseason football, inadequately shield yourself from the scorching heat of the sun, and communicate with your kids about something other than why they haven't done their homework. So why not get cracking on ...


First Watch: Nora Jane Struthers, 'Bike Ride'

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

For those who haven't yet discovered Nora Jane Struthers, the summery song "Bike Ride" is a great introduction to her beguiling, well-considered worldview. The first time Struthers sings the song's most important line — "I can go anywhere" — the phrase rises up out of her throat, free, wide open. ...


First Listen: Valerie June, 'Pushin' Against A Stone'

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Asked about the first time she ever performed a song, Valerie June once recalled a scene in her family's driveway in Jackson, Tenn. It was right after a storm — the kind of Southern downpour that drives even the most determined children inside. The pint-sized June sank to her ...

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Bruno Mars Is More Than Your Average Pop Star

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Party music isn't usually meant to change the world. It's for relaxing and getting a little bit wild; it inspires kissing and booty-shaking and high-fiving, not marches up the Washington Mall. The chart-topping good time guy Bruno Mars, whose dedication to fun comes second only to his respect ...


Sub Pop's Silver Jubilee Celebrates 25 Years Of Artisanal Music In Seattle

Monday, July 15, 2013

Last Thursday Mark Arm was on the top of the Space Needle; two days later, he was riding around in a golf car full of trash. Truth in criticism: I never actually saw the Mudhoney singer in the vehicle to which his name was affixed (the sign read: "MR. ARM") ...