Listen to This

By: Alex Ross
Narrated by: Alex Ross
Length: 14 hrs and 31 mins
4 out of 5 stars (91 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Alex Ross’s award-winning international best seller, The Rest Is Noise, has become a contemporary classic, establishing him as one of our most popular and acclaimed cultural historians. Listen to This, which takes its title from a beloved 2004 essay in which Ross described his late-blooming discovery of pop music, showcases the best of Ross’s writing from more than a decade at The New Yorker.

These pieces, dedicated to classical and popular artists alike, are at once erudite and lively. In a previously unpublished essay, Ross brilliantly retells hundreds of years of music history - from Renaissance dances to Led Zeppelin - through a few iconic bass lines of celebration and lament. He vibrantly sketches canonical composers such as Schubert, Verdi, and Brahms; gives us in-depth interviews with modern pop masters, such as Björk and Radiohead; and introduces us to music students at a Newark high school and to indie-rock hipsters in Beijing.

Whether his subject is Mozart or Bob Dylan, Ross shows how music expresses the full complexity of the human condition. Witty, passionate, and brimming with insight, Listen to This teaches us how to listen.

©2010 Alex Ross (P)2010 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"In this brilliant collection, music critic Ross (The Rest Is Noise) utilizes a wide musical scale - classical music in China; opera as popular art; sketches of Schubert, Bjork, Kiki and Herb - as a way of understanding the world." ( Publishers Weekly)

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Even BETTER as an Audiobook!

If you could sum up Listen to This in three words, what would they be?

Alex Ross Rocks.
If you love reading about music - classical and otherwise - there is no better music writer than Alex Ross (and I say that as someone who is actually married to a music writer). After each chapter I wanted to immediately listen to the pieces he discussed. The audiobook is ideal because he sometimes includes examples of the pieces (which could also be found on his website, but this makes it so much easier!).

What was one of the most memorable moments of Listen to This?

I loved the Radiohead chapter and found myself even more obsessed with Jonny Greenwood after listening.

Any additional comments?

I can't wait to start on The Rest is Noise! I own both (physical) books, but after such a pleasant listening experience, I believe I'll be listening to that as well!

2 people found this helpful

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Educational!

I had to read this for a college music and culture class. The book displays more knowledge than I thought. This book is strongly recommended for any student, musician, or instructor wanting to know a rooted history of music education from Bach to Bob Dylan. This book has it all!

4 people found this helpful

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Good writing, terrible reading

This book was recommended in a really fantastic podcast I listened to about gated reverb and music in the 80s. The actual content is interesting and well thought , albeit a bit stuffy as though it were attempting to be academic but in fact is very editorial. But dear god, the narration is so boring. It's very monotone with only a vague attempt to add inflection. I might just buy a physical copy.

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interesting

this isn't a story, or an account of history. it's just this guys experiences and ideas of interesting musicians that he's studies or worked with, from bjork to brahms to Radiohead to John Adams. it's nice that it had sound clips of some of the music.

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Boring

The author's expertise, and interest, is classical music. This is his frame of reference and the book is about classical music though it is markered otherwise. If you are not interested in classical music the book os not for you.
The main problem with the book however is the narrative. It is not clear where it is going and why. He fails to tell an interesting stroy. i stopped after few chapters.