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NPR Best Books of 2017 In this sweeping history of popular music in the United States, NPR’s acclaimed music critic examines how popular music shapes fundamental American ideas and beliefs, allowing us to communicate difficult emotions and truths about our most fraught social issues, most notably sex and race. In Good Booty, Ann Powers explores how popular music became Ameri NPR Best Books of 2017 In this sweeping history of popular music in the United States, NPR’s acclaimed music critic examines how popular music shapes fundamental American ideas and beliefs, allowing us to communicate difficult emotions and truths about our most fraught social issues, most notably sex and race. In Good Booty, Ann Powers explores how popular music became America’s primary erotic art form. Powers takes us from nineteenth-century New Orleans through dance-crazed Jazz Age New York to the teen scream years of mid-twentieth century rock-and-roll to the cutting-edge adventures of today’s web-based pop stars. Drawing on her deep knowledge and insights on gender and sexuality, Powers recounts stories of forbidden lovers, wild shimmy-shakers, orgasmic gospel singers, countercultural perverts, soft-rock sensitivos, punk Puritans, and the cyborg known as Britney Spears to illuminate how eroticism—not merely sex, but love, bodily freedom, and liberating joy—became entwined within the rhythms and melodies of American song. This cohesion, she reveals, touches the heart of America's anxieties and hopes about race, feminism, marriage, youth, and freedom. In a survey that spans more than a century of music, Powers both heralds little known artists such as Florence Mills, a contemporary of Josephine Baker, and gospel queen Dorothy Love Coates, and sheds new light on artists we think we know well, from the Beatles and Jim Morrison to Madonna and Beyoncé. In telling the history of how American popular music and sexuality intersect—a magnum opus over two decades in the making—Powers offers new insights into our nation psyche and our soul.


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NPR Best Books of 2017 In this sweeping history of popular music in the United States, NPR’s acclaimed music critic examines how popular music shapes fundamental American ideas and beliefs, allowing us to communicate difficult emotions and truths about our most fraught social issues, most notably sex and race. In Good Booty, Ann Powers explores how popular music became Ameri NPR Best Books of 2017 In this sweeping history of popular music in the United States, NPR’s acclaimed music critic examines how popular music shapes fundamental American ideas and beliefs, allowing us to communicate difficult emotions and truths about our most fraught social issues, most notably sex and race. In Good Booty, Ann Powers explores how popular music became America’s primary erotic art form. Powers takes us from nineteenth-century New Orleans through dance-crazed Jazz Age New York to the teen scream years of mid-twentieth century rock-and-roll to the cutting-edge adventures of today’s web-based pop stars. Drawing on her deep knowledge and insights on gender and sexuality, Powers recounts stories of forbidden lovers, wild shimmy-shakers, orgasmic gospel singers, countercultural perverts, soft-rock sensitivos, punk Puritans, and the cyborg known as Britney Spears to illuminate how eroticism—not merely sex, but love, bodily freedom, and liberating joy—became entwined within the rhythms and melodies of American song. This cohesion, she reveals, touches the heart of America's anxieties and hopes about race, feminism, marriage, youth, and freedom. In a survey that spans more than a century of music, Powers both heralds little known artists such as Florence Mills, a contemporary of Josephine Baker, and gospel queen Dorothy Love Coates, and sheds new light on artists we think we know well, from the Beatles and Jim Morrison to Madonna and Beyoncé. In telling the history of how American popular music and sexuality intersect—a magnum opus over two decades in the making—Powers offers new insights into our nation psyche and our soul.

30 review for Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    A good history of pop music, from its roots in nineteenth-century New Orleans to today's web-based superstars. Powers's thesis: pop music and sexuality are inextricably intertwined, the former serving as a conduit of the latter. Powers shows how music has adjusted to adhere to the sexual norms of various time periods in the United States. She mentions the role of gender and race in appropriate sections as well. I most appreciated when Powers linked the history of pop music to issues of gender, ra A good history of pop music, from its roots in nineteenth-century New Orleans to today's web-based superstars. Powers's thesis: pop music and sexuality are inextricably intertwined, the former serving as a conduit of the latter. Powers shows how music has adjusted to adhere to the sexual norms of various time periods in the United States. She mentions the role of gender and race in appropriate sections as well. I most appreciated when Powers linked the history of pop music to issues of gender, race, LGBTQ+ individuals, etc. That said, I wish she had taken a stronger stance throughout the book by more explicitly labeling or commenting on problematic historical trends, such as the cultural appropriation of African-American music (cough, Elvis) and how female pop stars suffered under patriarchal expectations of their artistry and lives (see this book for more). I also feel that her overall thesis about sexuality and pop music could have used more oomph. Why does sexuality in pop matter? What does pop music say about American culture more broadly? What do we take away from all of this? Powers begins to examine these questions, and I wanted even more argument as opposed to relaying facts. Would recommend this to those enthusiastic about pop music history. As Ariana Grande and BlackPink's biggest fan on the planet, I look forward to seeing how pop can grow even bolder, fiercer, and more feminist.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    Full disclosure: I won a free copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you’d guess from the cover, this book is a look at sex in popular music, both its depiction and its practice by the various artists and fans through the ages. The book's purpose is not to titillate, but to educate. Even if you ignore the mentions of sex, it's a fascinating look at the history of American popular music in general. While I like to consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the history of rock and roll, I l Full disclosure: I won a free copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you’d guess from the cover, this book is a look at sex in popular music, both its depiction and its practice by the various artists and fans through the ages. The book's purpose is not to titillate, but to educate. Even if you ignore the mentions of sex, it's a fascinating look at the history of American popular music in general. While I like to consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the history of rock and roll, I learned all sorts of details about its roots that were new to me. Honestly, as I write this, I’m still digesting it all. The back cover calls the book, “A profound exploration of how popular music became America’s primary erotic art form,” and promises that it, “... offers new insights into our national psyche and our soul.” It definitely delivers on that promise. This is one of the best books about music I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommended!

  3. 5 out of 5

    K

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is really great and will definitely form a crucial part of my teaching for years to come. I'm stingy with my 5-star reviews, and I explain the reasons for it not being a perfect book below. I devoured this book in record time, and there is a good reason for this. Powers has produced a truly sweeping piece of criticism and – dare I say it – musicology of race, sex, and popular music. Some of her insights show a truly remarkable synthesis of criticism and scholarship that demonstrates why the This is really great and will definitely form a crucial part of my teaching for years to come. I'm stingy with my 5-star reviews, and I explain the reasons for it not being a perfect book below. I devoured this book in record time, and there is a good reason for this. Powers has produced a truly sweeping piece of criticism and – dare I say it – musicology of race, sex, and popular music. Some of her insights show a truly remarkable synthesis of criticism and scholarship that demonstrates why the humanities needs to embrace public cultural critics. Powers has helped to make NPR a cutting edge forum for music programming and criticism for a few years now. For those of you who have enjoyed her essays on everything from Bruce Springsteen (surprisingly missing from this book) to Prince, this book shows off just how lucky we are to have her. Something that I noticed as I made my way through the book was its relationship to binaries, nearly all of them invoked in the book's title. When it comes to love, gender, sex, and sexuality, Powers writes with incredible dexterity to trouble the boundaries and binaries that threaten to overpower everything else when talking about popular music history. My one criticism comes from my perspective as a scholar. Her discussion of race, while mostly on point, left me wondering about the dangers of posing the story of popular music in the U.S. through a mostly black and white matrix of power relations. Surely, there are other racial and ethnic groups who have exerted a strong influence in U.S. pop music. As I write this review, "Despacito" is about to break the record for most consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard chart. The song is clearly about sex, and yet, if a curious listener tried to find the roots of the song's success in this book, they would be missing decades of Latinx, Caribbean, and Latin American musical influences. Other major immigrant groups are also missing (south Asians, for example), but it seems to me that this is a larger problem of North American pop music criticism in general. I come at this as someone who grew up in a place with a huge Mexican American population and performed in a music program that largely relegated anything that didn't fit the black/white paradigm to exotic reductions. I care about it because I have seen the problem replicated in my own scholarly societies. I wonder if the marginal status of Americans who trouble the black/white binary in mainstream pop music histories comes from the fact that the tradition of American music history has largely been written largely in those terms for decades now. That really is my only quibble with the book. My discomfort isn't about Powers but rather N. American pop music criticism and scholarship in general. Overall, this book is a tour de force of criticism and new insights. Her fluid use of feminist and cyborg theory in the last chapter truly took my breath away. It made me want to sit down and talk with her about Queen Bey, virality, and vocaloids for hours. This book is written with a startling amount of compassion for all of the figures she treats, even those whose unconventional attitudes about sex and bodies would otherwise receive the scorn by today's standards. At this moment of racially charged divisiveness, that kind of sensitivity is more needed than ever, especially over a form of expressive culture that so many people think is either too important (i.e., too personal) or not important enough to receive scholarly treatment. So thank you, Ann Powers. I'll treasure both the audio and physical copies of this book in my possession.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Seigler

    This is another re-read, but a great and fun one because this was the first time I revisited it. Using the frame of different eras in popular music, journalist and critic Ann Powers paints a fantastic and arousing look at the ways in which music rebelled against what was "not allowed" in proper society, by forcing us to contemplate how to get down while getting down. From the carefully orchestrated dances performed under the eyes of slave masters by those enslaved peoples in New Orleans (pushing This is another re-read, but a great and fun one because this was the first time I revisited it. Using the frame of different eras in popular music, journalist and critic Ann Powers paints a fantastic and arousing look at the ways in which music rebelled against what was "not allowed" in proper society, by forcing us to contemplate how to get down while getting down. From the carefully orchestrated dances performed under the eyes of slave masters by those enslaved peoples in New Orleans (pushing back against the system that kept them in chains except when they took to the public dancing place) to the transgressions of Mae West, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Madonna against polite society (not to mention Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison), Powers highlights the ways in which America was shaped by erotically charged music to think more about how different we all are and why that's okay (unless of course you're a social conservative, then you're horrified by what's going on around you). This is a fun read, and a very important one in light of current discussions regarding race, sex, gender, and so on.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Phil Overeem

    Though she occasionally does not do the full research and lapses into mere rehash in patches, I love Powers' ideas, and the thrust (so to speak) behind the book. I'd love to assign it to college freshmen. Though she occasionally does not do the full research and lapses into mere rehash in patches, I love Powers' ideas, and the thrust (so to speak) behind the book. I'd love to assign it to college freshmen.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Adam C Lewis

    I loved this book. Great music writers unveil new truths and Ann does that over and over here. The continual intertwining of sexuality and pop music is a fascinating subject and this book kept me hooked the whole time. Definitely get on this.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Almost didn’t finish this one. I appreciate the amount of research that went into this book but the prose itself was so dry that I found it difficult to read for more than a few pages at a time. Powers packs in so much information without giving much thought to what it means to her personally which I found to be extremely frustrating—I didn’t expect for this book to read like a Wikipedia page. I wanted for Powers to explore more of what music means to her and to society as it continues to evolve Almost didn’t finish this one. I appreciate the amount of research that went into this book but the prose itself was so dry that I found it difficult to read for more than a few pages at a time. Powers packs in so much information without giving much thought to what it means to her personally which I found to be extremely frustrating—I didn’t expect for this book to read like a Wikipedia page. I wanted for Powers to explore more of what music means to her and to society as it continues to evolve, but unfortunately, you are given mostly facts and (some) prose that is frustratingly deadpan.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jay Gabler

    Both a history and a series of arguments about American popular music, this book offers fans a lot to chew on. I reviewed Good Booty for The Current. Both a history and a series of arguments about American popular music, this book offers fans a lot to chew on. I reviewed Good Booty for The Current.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Jane

    This was so well-researched. I love the topic! I especially loved the part about disco, as this was like a hot topic in my little high control religious upbringing. Might make a playlist based on this...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    It started kinda slow, but picked up. I didn't appreciate the disconnected and sterile tone of the book. I wanted the author's passion and opinion to seep through. moreover - the sexism and racism of the past was quite downplayed and that of today was stated simply as fact - descriptions of gangrape without condemnation. Strange and unnerving. It was interesting to see the progression of dance and culture along with music. It started kinda slow, but picked up. I didn't appreciate the disconnected and sterile tone of the book. I wanted the author's passion and opinion to seep through. moreover - the sexism and racism of the past was quite downplayed and that of today was stated simply as fact - descriptions of gangrape without condemnation. Strange and unnerving. It was interesting to see the progression of dance and culture along with music.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carter K Delloro

    Interesting observations lacking a cohesive message. A solid overview of the topics in the subtitle that made me think differently about some familiar material and introduced me to new material, but in the end left me wanting a bit more in terms of its intellectual conclusions. Still, I'd recommend it for other passionate music lovers like me. Interesting observations lacking a cohesive message. A solid overview of the topics in the subtitle that made me think differently about some familiar material and introduced me to new material, but in the end left me wanting a bit more in terms of its intellectual conclusions. Still, I'd recommend it for other passionate music lovers like me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sam Crawley

    Anyone who heard Rock Around the Clock at age 12 at the carnival knew something was up! Powers goes DEEP into the groove. American music captures everyone and we all know it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sophia Ordaz

    Ann Powers delivers an entertaining, ambitious, and well-researched survey of American pop music through the thought-provoking lens of sex and sexuality. From the get-go, the exhaustive research required of the task is evident. Powers incorporates absorbing quotes lifted from interviews, music criticism, and sociology, the last of which proves to be especially illuminating because of its cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural implications. At times, Powers diverges on tangents, but these passages fe Ann Powers delivers an entertaining, ambitious, and well-researched survey of American pop music through the thought-provoking lens of sex and sexuality. From the get-go, the exhaustive research required of the task is evident. Powers incorporates absorbing quotes lifted from interviews, music criticism, and sociology, the last of which proves to be especially illuminating because of its cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural implications. At times, Powers diverges on tangents, but these passages feel like pleasant excursions that never stray too far from her thematic "trailhead": that music is an integral medium through which sexuality is presented, performed, and perceived. I do think there was more to be said about hip-hop, particularly of its birth in the Bronx and the East/West turf war of '90s gangsta rap, as well as the conservative media outcry against it. I also wish Powers had examined what became of alternative rock in the 2000s onward and the rising dominance of music streaming. But, nonetheless, this book exposed me to music scenes I was unfamiliar with and made me consider the music I love in new ways, which is exactly why I had wanted to read it. An academic could have easily turned this book into a stuffy, stodgy read, but as one of today's most essential music critics, Powers captures the X-rated sex and the romantic sensuality living in American music.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jehnie

    I adore this book - well-researched, nuanced, a new approach - but I don't have the time to give it the attention it deserves. I'm putting it aside for now, but I will definitely come back to it. Finally had time to come back and finish the book. I think the first half is more successful than the second. I'm not convinced by some of the arguments she makes about the 1980s and beyond in music. Overall though, a good resource. I adore this book - well-researched, nuanced, a new approach - but I don't have the time to give it the attention it deserves. I'm putting it aside for now, but I will definitely come back to it. Finally had time to come back and finish the book. I think the first half is more successful than the second. I'm not convinced by some of the arguments she makes about the 1980s and beyond in music. Overall though, a good resource.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    Very broad overview of American popular music through the lens of diversity and desire. Too much of a survey course for me, but good if you are a teenager just finding out about everything, I bet.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Artie

    Interesting and informative but a little too ambitious. The most useful thing for me was learning about some 1950s gospel groups.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monica St. Dennis

    This was a well-researched history, and surprisingly readable for how scholarly it is. I just didn't like it. I would definitely recommend it to people who care about music more than I do. This was a well-researched history, and surprisingly readable for how scholarly it is. I just didn't like it. I would definitely recommend it to people who care about music more than I do.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Philip Cherny

    With such an ambitious historical breadth that spans from the 19th-century to present day, Powers’ narrative inevitably feels at times broad and sweeping, jumping through eras of American popular music often without feeling conclusive. She readily admits in the introduction that she excludes a lot of musical history, even entire genres, from of this already dense history. However, she occasionally muddles the narrative even further by citing examples outside of their chronological order or geogr With such an ambitious historical breadth that spans from the 19th-century to present day, Powers’ narrative inevitably feels at times broad and sweeping, jumping through eras of American popular music often without feeling conclusive. She readily admits in the introduction that she excludes a lot of musical history, even entire genres, from of this already dense history. However, she occasionally muddles the narrative even further by citing examples outside of their chronological order or geographical context. This kind of obfuscating patch-working seemed most evident to me in her coverage of the early 20th century and in her section on the 1990s. That aside, I did find her overall narrative engaging in the very least, and even fascinating at moments when she edifies me in obscure details of America’s rich music history, such as the appropriation (or what she calls “cultural miscegenation”) of black slave or Creole dance and music in early American popular music, and how sexual desire, myths of the exotic, and miscegenation fantasies played a role in propelling these influences. For her central thesis, she espouses sexuality and its social history as the central cultural frame through which we should examine the history of American music, supported by an ancillary claim that depictions of race and race relations are woven into the fabric of music’s sexual framework. I can get on board with this kind of reading since music necessarily remains a deeply bodily experience (cerebral conceptual considerations aside.) That being said, while she doesn’t overtly exclude other kinds of readings from the table, part of me suspects that Ann Powers is a bit guilty of making an error analogous to Sigmund Freud’s tendancy to explain every human action in terms of ubiquitous sexuality. It is a somewhat compelling way to view humanity, but I suspect nothing in life is ever so cut-and-dried to be viewed from only one lense. Powers’ focus is not so much on the music itself (e.g. the formal quality of rhythms, sound, instrumentation, etc.), but its social and political context, and its performative aspects. She does do this occasionally, as when she discusses the introduction of auto-tuning vocalization from Atlanta strip club culture into hip-hop, but I wish she would have spoken more at length about how the formal qualities of musical trends intersect with its sociological aspects. My desire to read more on this aspect of music might speak to my biases in musical taste that emphasize sounds, sonic textures, and rhythm over song-writing (i.e. lyrics and melody), which perhaps explains my predilections towards jazz, electronic, and “experimental” or “avant-garde” (for lack of better term). Ann Powers may have ignored these important elements in part because they did not quite resonate with mainstream culture, and in part because they arguably seemed to have culminated more across the Atlantic in alternative scenes such as trip-hop, shoegaze, industrial, etc. However, I suspect she eschews developments in American music history such as instrumental jazz primarily because they figure as too “abstract” to register as overtly erotic (although one could dispute this claim) and thus do not fit as easily within her project of discussing music as a primarily sexual medium. Much easier to cite a music performer’s presentation of the body or the sexual innuendos in their lyrics than to preach some esoteric music theory about how tonality elicits something physiological analogue to sexual arousal in the listener’s brain…Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that sexual arousal and something like an “out-of-body” experience triggered in music both share the capacity to push one to an aesthetic experience too broad and abstract to be directed towards a specific goal (e.g. sex), and that one might also expand this to experiences elicited in spirituality or drugs? I guess to sum up, I’d say I found the book on the whole to be a great, fun, informative read, but I wouldn’t go into it expecting much more than a cultural analysis of America’s musical history.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    It's nothing less than taking a fresh look at American pop music history through the lenses mentioned in that subtitle, and is at least half remarkable and always intriguing. The remarkable parts start for me with the second chapter, on the dances of the first 20 years of the 20th century, with great insights into the sexuality being expressed in ways we never thought were available to our grandparents (or your great-grandparents - remember, I'm old) generation. Then Powers really blows me away It's nothing less than taking a fresh look at American pop music history through the lenses mentioned in that subtitle, and is at least half remarkable and always intriguing. The remarkable parts start for me with the second chapter, on the dances of the first 20 years of the 20th century, with great insights into the sexuality being expressed in ways we never thought were available to our grandparents (or your great-grandparents - remember, I'm old) generation. Then Powers really blows me away with a chapter on the Gospel developments of the 30s through the 50s, and the connections between divine and bodily sublimity. She's very good as well on the 50s rock'n'roll history, and comes up with fresh insights into Hendrix, Joplin, and the Doors. Her early chapter on the earliest interracial cross-cultural fertilization (both consensual and raped) of American music is really good as well. Once she hits the 70s, Powers seems to be racing to the finish line, coming up with often fresh insights into the ways different musics reacted to the open sexuality of the 70s, the AIDS fears of the 80s, the fierce liberations of the 90s, and what she pins as a cyborg sexuality in the 00s. I was alternately nodding my head in wonderment and shaking my head thinking that was too narrow a viewpoint in those chapters, which did, after all, cover times I actually paid attention to the music she was covering. Powers never comes across as dogmatic - she wrestles with dichotomies within her opinions, and gives the music the thoughtful coverage it deserves. And, she puts it all into much bigger contexts than most music writers have done - the book is a history of music's place in the culture, and while there are obviously plenty of other ways to view that place than through the prism of sex, I would argue that Powers makes a clear case for considering the complexity of historical and contemporary reaction to music itself through that prism. And, yeah, she provides a good beat, and I want to dance to this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Houle

    If you want to take a careening view of American music and how sexuality infuses it, Ann Powers (who works for NPR in the States) has written a book about that subject in Good Booty. It’s an admittedly challenging, academic read — the same sort of read that was difficult for me to parse in film studies courses back in my university days, where I was tasked with reading feminist scholars who didn’t make too much sense to me, admittedly. (This had less to do with the subject matter, perhaps, than If you want to take a careening view of American music and how sexuality infuses it, Ann Powers (who works for NPR in the States) has written a book about that subject in Good Booty. It’s an admittedly challenging, academic read — the same sort of read that was difficult for me to parse in film studies courses back in my university days, where I was tasked with reading feminist scholars who didn’t make too much sense to me, admittedly. (This had less to do with the subject matter, perhaps, than the distancing, clinical choice of language in academia.) The reason the book is a hard read is partially because there’s a very broad scope with the book, which makes it hard to put a finger on just what its about, and partially due to its academic tone. Scrolling from New Orleans in the nineteenth century all the way to Beyoncé in the twenty-first, Good Booty is an examination of race, gender and sexuality, and how that applies to various strands of music across multiple genres in multiple periods. Power locates her subjects by place and by date. I guess her overarching theme is that pop has been influenced by its surroundings, but the waters are muddied a bit because the book doesn’t start with the invention of rock ’n’ roll — which is synonymous with the birth of pop culture as a force in my mindset. Read more here: https://medium.com/@zachary_houle/a-r...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

    This book was ambitious - maybe too much so. I'm trying to console myself with the fact that it was probably written for a slightly broader audience than the pop-music obsessives I usually discuss this stuff with, but I can't shake the feeling that there were a lot of missed opportunities to explore some of its subjects in much greater depth. The decision to focus each chapter (which frequently span several decades) on a specific "theme" that everything is organized around seriously harms the wh This book was ambitious - maybe too much so. I'm trying to console myself with the fact that it was probably written for a slightly broader audience than the pop-music obsessives I usually discuss this stuff with, but I can't shake the feeling that there were a lot of missed opportunities to explore some of its subjects in much greater depth. The decision to focus each chapter (which frequently span several decades) on a specific "theme" that everything is organized around seriously harms the whole project - the chapter on the 80s-90s and the following one on 2000-present feel particularly skewed towards their respective focal points. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the reason why certain key movements and artists are completely (or almost completely) glossed over; how can you cover musical sexuality in the 80s while confining the dominance of hair metal bands to a single sentence in parentheses? And (much as I don't like him as an artist) surely Drake, not mentioned once in the book, has had as much influence on recent hip-hop sexuality as Beyonce? I won't deny that it could be a fun read at times and that I learned something from it, and hey, it does do some great work on specific parts of musical history - I just can't shake the feeling that this book could have been so much more.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mysh

    This is one of those big ideas that you know is a stretch to stitch together but, finally, there's just enough material to maybe make it happen, like sucking your stomach in and hoping that button doesn't pop off. The overall concept being the way music has shaped sex? The way sex has shaped music? The threesome that is people, sex, music. I can't decide if the button popped off or not, but I do know I learned some things? However, I wonder if Powers had any input from Black critics or historians This is one of those big ideas that you know is a stretch to stitch together but, finally, there's just enough material to maybe make it happen, like sucking your stomach in and hoping that button doesn't pop off. The overall concept being the way music has shaped sex? The way sex has shaped music? The threesome that is people, sex, music. I can't decide if the button popped off or not, but I do know I learned some things? However, I wonder if Powers had any input from Black critics or historians in her work. It felt like I was reading through an automatic filter with her being a white woman and then she'd talk about white artists trying to imitate black artists while being a white woman trying to talk about black artists and it was a bit like how much can I trust in these observations... Especially, when talking about the past that no one remembers, whatever race you are. I'm not sure how much research can make up for that. I enjoyed the last chapter the most because of my interest in how "irl" and internet respond to each other, plus Britney Spears deserves a whole academia series on her entire life and career.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Arredondo

    I had so much fun reading this book. Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music.....anything music history I am all on board for. I collect music history books, I avidly read music history books, I cherish music history books. Just the cover alone had me somewhat sold. That title....eye catching to say the least. American music...the popular stuff...pop and rock-n-roll. There is so much great history there...so much wonderful content that can be used. Powers absol I had so much fun reading this book. Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music.....anything music history I am all on board for. I collect music history books, I avidly read music history books, I cherish music history books. Just the cover alone had me somewhat sold. That title....eye catching to say the least. American music...the popular stuff...pop and rock-n-roll. There is so much great history there...so much wonderful content that can be used. Powers absolutely does that and does it well. Well researched information but FUN!! Most times we get non-fiction and it's bogged down with tons of facts...statistics...info that we don't really care for. In this book we get that in a way that makes it enjoyable to read...gives a yearning to want to know more. I literally plugged my ipod into my laptop and created a playlist of great songs during and after this book. Talk about music inspiration. Highly entertaining. I absolutely recommend. Thanks as always to the wonderful people of goodreads for my free copy of this book. I received. I read. I reviewed this book voluntarily and honestly.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    I really wanted to love this one, but had very mixed reactions to it. On the one hand, some of the material was really interesting and new to me (definitely fun, for instance, reading about the rise and underlying significance of doo-wop, via songs that I know well). But overall, Powers tried to cover too much historical ground for a single book. The result was that it often felt like a shallow listing of events, rather than the in-depth discussion I was expecting. Given the sub-title, I had bee I really wanted to love this one, but had very mixed reactions to it. On the one hand, some of the material was really interesting and new to me (definitely fun, for instance, reading about the rise and underlying significance of doo-wop, via songs that I know well). But overall, Powers tried to cover too much historical ground for a single book. The result was that it often felt like a shallow listing of events, rather than the in-depth discussion I was expecting. Given the sub-title, I had been eager to dive into this one for gender- and race-based perspectives on representation in popular music, dynamics of the music industry, etc. There was some exploration of these themes, but on a fairly shallow level -- occasionally noting the presence of a problematic practice and then moving on the next topic without deeper discussion. In the end, this one left me wanting more information, rather than feeling like I had learned much. Definitely curious to seek out books written in a similar vein (exploration of social issues/forces via popular music) -- if anyone has recommendations, let me know!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Al

    A history of American popular music, strongly tilted toward black-influenced music. I was drawn to the book by my interest in blues, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. These subjects are of course included, but there is much more, particularly with respect to more recent styles and artists. There's no doubting the author's credentials and knowledge of the subject matter, although a good deal of the material was of little interest to me. It did seem like Ms. Powers, perhaps too deeply engrosse A history of American popular music, strongly tilted toward black-influenced music. I was drawn to the book by my interest in blues, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. These subjects are of course included, but there is much more, particularly with respect to more recent styles and artists. There's no doubting the author's credentials and knowledge of the subject matter, although a good deal of the material was of little interest to me. It did seem like Ms. Powers, perhaps too deeply engrossed in her own field of study, ascribed sweeping social significance to music and artists who in fact may be virtually unknown to many pop music listeners. But maybe I'm just displaying my own ignorance.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    this is hard to review. it's an archival-based reference book covering an enormous amount of information, both time and content wise. there was a ton of interesting information. it was well written. i enjoyed it. even so, something seemed...off for me. when there was depth, i wanted breadth. when breadth was given, i wanted the detail. every part that i really got into rushed to the next idea too quickly. really interesting arguments and ideas seemed to barely get summarized when i wanted entire this is hard to review. it's an archival-based reference book covering an enormous amount of information, both time and content wise. there was a ton of interesting information. it was well written. i enjoyed it. even so, something seemed...off for me. when there was depth, i wanted breadth. when breadth was given, i wanted the detail. every part that i really got into rushed to the next idea too quickly. really interesting arguments and ideas seemed to barely get summarized when i wanted entire essays delving into detail and passion. i don't think that's what this was intended to be. it gets the ideas going. it presents you with an insane amount of information and meticulously notated references so you can take the idea and run with it on your own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I think this was too broad a topic to cover in one book. It felt uneven and scattered--especially toward the end--and I'm not sure exactly who the audience was supposed to be apart from somebody who is completely unfamiliar with American pop culture. (I just got exhausted of the explanations of every single artist and genre.) I'm also pretty sure the reader for the audio had never heard many of the songs or artists discussed for all the flat delivery and mispronunciation...yeesh. That said, I did I think this was too broad a topic to cover in one book. It felt uneven and scattered--especially toward the end--and I'm not sure exactly who the audience was supposed to be apart from somebody who is completely unfamiliar with American pop culture. (I just got exhausted of the explanations of every single artist and genre.) I'm also pretty sure the reader for the audio had never heard many of the songs or artists discussed for all the flat delivery and mispronunciation...yeesh. That said, I did enjoy it as an overview and my general fondness for 101-type of approaches.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    It took me a little longer to get into this book, because I was expecting this to start in the 50s and go to today, but it starts all the way back at the start of the 1900s. Once I was able to dive in, though, that initial history is super relevant and circles all the way back around to more recent trends. This is a great overview of the changing way music has expressed love (and, more importantly, sex) through the changing social mores of the last century or so.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Deep. I wouldn’t call it a history of pop music erotica so much as a curated history of American music, as seen through the lens of sexuality and embodiment. It’s rich in stories and illustrations from artists both famous and obscure, which is exactly the balance I want in a book like this. And, it’s both spiritual and erotic, which is to say incarnational. Lots to think about, and plenty of music to dig into.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Hawpe

    This dazzlingly informative & supremely entertaining critical history of American popular music has an epic sweep (from 19th C. New Orleans dance halls through punk, funk & hiphop, and right up to Beyonce & Gaga) but also a fascinating focus specifically on popular music as a cultural mirror/barometer/catalyst for sex and race relations. Sharply written with brilliant insights, Ann Powers has added a new classic to the music criticism canon and created a must-read for any music head.

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