You Can Keep Your Hat On*
Red Rock Conservation Area, Nevada
What do JS Bach and Radiohead have in common? Nothing I suppose except that Alex Ross can write intelligently about them both and with an interest peaking certainty. Alex Ross, the music critic for New Yorker magazine, is a polished genius when it comes to music and displays his full range in Listen to This, a collection of essays that starts with Bach, moves through Radiohead, soprano Marion Anderson, Verdi, The LA Philharmonic, Björk, and ending 325 pages later with Brahms. I haven't read anyone with such wide-ranging expertise since plowing through Arguably by Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens' work centered around politics and culture while Ross digs deep into music, any and all.
*Thanks to Joe Cocker for the image title :-)