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Black Notes: Essays of a Musician Writing in a Post-Album Age by William C. Banfield

Despite being deeply troubled by much of what he sees and hears, William C. Banfield avoids churning out another of those “things were so much better in my day” volumes. Instead, this comprehensive and insightful collection of essays celebrates past glories and recognizes current achievements, neither demonizing nor excusing rockers and rappers for what he considers questionable actions and debatable sentiments. Banfield is certainly concerned that so many gifted performers place more emphasis on production and image than artistry and excellence, but he also understands that the current system of corporate-dominated popular culture deserves as much, if not more criticism for the state of things than the latest crunk star.

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