Listen to This, Ross
Author: Alex Ross
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Publisher: Picador (2011)
Alex Ross’ award-wining international bestseller, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, has become a contemporary classic, establishing Ross as one of the most popular and acclaimed cultural historians. Listen to This — which takes its title from a beloved 2004 essay in which Ross describes his late-blooming discovery of pop music — showcases some of his best writing from more than a decade at The New Yorker.
These pieces, dedicated to classical and popular artists alike, are at one 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 In a previously unpublished essay, Ross brilliantly retells hundreds of years of music history — from Renaissance dances to Led Zeppelin — through a few iconic bass lines of celebration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 and introduces us to music students at a Newark high school and 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 more closely.
About Alex Ross:
Alex Ross has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. His first book, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (2007) won a National Book Award Critics Circle Award and the Guardian First Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His essay collection Listen to This was published in 2010. His third book, Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music, was published in 2020. Ross has received the George Peabody Medal, an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship.