Is It Still Good to Ya? sums up the career of longtime Village Voice stalwart Robert Christgau, who for half a century has been America's most widely respected rock critic, honoring a music he argues is only more enduring because it's sometimes simple or silly. While compiling historical overviews going back to Dionysus and the gramophone along with artist analyses that range from Louis Armstrong to M.I.A., this definitive collection also explores pop's African roots, response to 9/11, and evolution from the teen music of the '50s to an art form compelled to confront mortality as its heroes pass on. A final section combines searching obituaries of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen with awed farewells to Bob Marley and Ornette Coleman.
"You either love Christgau or you don't, but his cantankerous, affectionate, cut-to-the chase reviews and essays over the past 50 years have defined music journalism, and this collection offers an opportunity to re-read the best of the self-proclaimed Dean of American Rock Critics." -- Henry Carrigan * No Depression *
"At a moment when music criticism seems less empowered for being more fragmented, Christgau still offers an informed, authoritative perspective, self-aware regarding cultural aging and mortality, not stodgy but wry. A vital chronicler of rock's story, several decades on."
* Kirkus Reviews *
"The self-proclaimed dean of rock criticism is now in his 70s, and his ongoing influence is felt wherever thoughtful music writing is valued. This collection of work spanning 1967-2017 highlights his omnivorous taste, showing Christgau to be just as comfortable reflecting on Woody Guthrie, Sam Cooke, and the Spice Girls as he is on Radiohead, Mary J. Blige, or Youssou N'Dour." -- Steve Futterman * Publishers Weekly *
"These pieces from a preeminent critic will reward a wide swath of music fans who will perhaps be provoked to discuss the mosaic that is popular music in the 20th and early 21st centuries." -- James Collins * Library Journal *
"Gleeful flurries of verbal shadow-boxing make this a book which can be enjoyed for the writing alone. . . . His curiosity and sass remain un-diminished at the age of seventy-six and his own musical preferences acknowledge no frontiers." -- Lou Glandfield * TLS *