Book Review: Major Labels by Kelefa Sanneh


Author: Kelefa Sanneh
Title: Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres
Narrator: Kelefa Sanneh
Publication Info: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Summary/Review:

Kelefa Sanneh, a former music critic for the New York Times, and writer for the New Yorker, revisists the history of popular music from the 1970s to today in a series of essays focusing on genres.  These genres include the venerable traditions of Rock, R&B, and Country as well as the upstarts Punk, Hip-Hop, and Dance.  The final essay focuses on the amorphous genre of Pop.

Sanneh is a fan of all these types of music so he brings in his personal experience when discussing them.  I find that appropriate since music is such a personal thing.  Sanneh does a great job at summarizing the history and the struggles of artists within these genres to remain true to their style.  He also notes that over the past 50 years that each of these genres is converging to create a new “pop” music even at a time when streaming music platforms should allow greater splits.

This was a fun an informative book for a music fan.

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Rating: ****