Let's Talk About Love

Let's Talk About Love : Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste

4.08 (2,592 ratings by Goodreads)
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For his 2007 critically acclaimed 33 1/3 series title, Let's Talk About Love, Carl Wilson went on a quest to find his inner Celine Dion fan and explore how we define ourselves by what we call good and bad, what we love and what we hate.

At once among the most widely beloved and most reviled and lampooned pop stars of the past few decades, Celine Dion's critics call her mawkish and overblown while millions of fans around the world adore her "huge pipes" and even bigger feelings. How can anyone say which side is right?

This new, expanded edition goes even further, calling on thirteen prominent writers and musicians to respond to themes ranging from sentiment and kitsch to cultural capital and musical snobbery. The original text is followed by lively arguments and stories from Nick Hornby, Krist Novoselic, Ann Powers, Mary Gaitskill, James Franco, Sheila Heti and others.

In a new afterword, Carl Wilson examines recent cultural changes in love and hate, including the impact of technology and social media on how taste works (or doesn't) in the 21st century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 139.7 x 213.36 x 22.86mm | 544.31g
  • Continuum Publishing Corporation
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 1441166777
  • 9781441166777
  • 212,215

Review quote

Like the whole world, I'm a fan of Carl Wilson's Celine Dion book. * Jonathan Lethem * An evergreen classic of music criticism--a love letter from a cerebral pop aesthete to the music he sincerely, almost sentimentally hates. * Rob Sheffield * Carl Wilson is a profound listener and an extraordinary writer. Along with being a tremendously important piece of criticism, Let's Talk About Love is an agile, moving, and generous exploration of the music that accompanies us, welcome or not, on the travels we all need to make on our own. It is a beautiful, funny, unerringly concise book that invites repeated readings, new conversations, and a thoughtful engagement with the culture of our time. * John K. Samson * The book is laugh-out-loud funny, whip-smart about contemporary thought, and fascinating in its many voices, but, readers, beware-you may wind up humming that song for days afterward. -- Eloise Kinney * Booklist * [I]t's a conversation worth having: as a dialogue between Wilson and his 13 disciples, with peers in social circles, and ultimately with oneself. Why we like what we like is always a fun topic to discuss, but it's often more challenging and more enlightening to discuss the converse: why we don't like what we don't like... Any investigation into cool is incomplete without due consideration of too-cool-for. Wilson has provided a primer for that discourse. -- Kurtt Gottshalk * Brooklyn Rail * ...the recently updated Let's Talk About Love-cheekily re-subtitled Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste and bundled with a host of excellent accompanying essays from the book's admirers including Krist Novoselic, Nick Hornby, Ann Powers, and James Franco-is a welcome excuse to revisit the main text in light of our current state of hyperspeed discourse. It's also a good excuse to catch up with Wilson, who continues to be an essential voice in the rock writer community while serving as Slate's music critic. -- Ryan Dombal * Pitchfork * Let's Talk About Love...is not just a critical study of one Celine Dion album, but an engaging discussion of pop criticism itself. -- Elias Leight * LA Review of Books * In this gnostic context, Carl Wilson's Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste, first published in 2007, was a counter-intuitive masterstroke. Wilson's gamble-that even people who hate Celine Dion would be curious to read an entire book about why they hate her, and what that hatred might mean-paid off handsomely: Let's Talk About Love was widely and enthusiastically reviewed outside the usual music-geek circles, Wilson appeared on NPR and The Colbert Report, and last year he was hired as Slate's chief music critic, as plum a gig as a pop critic can expect in today's collapsing media economy. -- Ellis Avery * Public Books * Freaking brilliant. -- Will Hermes * Hippies and Hipsters * Voted a Best Music Book 2014 * The Guardian * Carl Wilson's 2007 entry in the 33 1/3 library of pocket-sized books about classic albums is one of the most celebrated in the series. The author goes against the critical grain, not because he defends the music of this much-maligned international phenomenon. Wilson spends most of the book putting Dion into social and cultural context that in the end does not win him over to her kind of music. Wilson's book, unlike most criticism, openly invites dialogue, even providing an email contact for readers to beat their own breasts for and against Celine Dion. -- Pat Padua * Spectrum Culture * The 33 1/3 series lets writers write (mini) book length tomes based on or inspired by an individual album. It's produced some intriguing experiments, like John Darnielle's novella inspired by Black Sabbath's Masters of Reality (a precursor to this year's debut novel, Wolf In White Van), but in 2007 Carl Wilson exploded the entire premise. He picked an album he hated - Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love - and used it to enter a discourse on what determines good and bad taste. Seven years later, "poptimism" is practically standard practice, and Wilson's tome is a massively influential text in pop criticism. This year, Bloomsbury separated it from 33 1/3 and let it stand on its own in an expanded editions with a whackload of new material. Wilson's original work seemed like it examined Celine from every possible angle, but the 13 new essays, from writers like Nick Hornby, Owen Pallett and Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, show that he may have left a few stones unturned. -- Richard Trapunski * Chart Attack * An expanded version of Wilson's 2007 book for the 33 1/3 series with additional thoughts from 13 writers including James Franco, Ann Powers, Nick Hornby and others. An incredible look at pop culture -- and Celine Dion. -- The Ten Best Books of 2014 * Papermag *
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About Carl Wilson

Carl Wilson is a writer and editor at The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper, and his work also has appeared in Pitchfork, Slate, The New York Times, Blender and many other publications. His pieces were selected for two of Da Capo Books' annual Best Music Writing collections, in 2002 and 2007, by guest editors Jonathan Lethem and Robert Christgau. He runs the popular music blog Zoilus.com and is part of the team behind Trampoline Hall, Toronto's acclaimed nightclub series of lectures by non-experts, which toured America in 2002.
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Table of contents

Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste
Carl Wilson
1. Let's Talk About Hate
2. Let's Talk About Pop (and Its Critics)
3. Let's Talk in French
4. Let's Talk About World Conquest
5. Let's Talk About Schmaltz
6. Let's Sing Really Loud
7. Let's Talk About Taste
8. Let's Talk About Who's Got Bad Taste
9. Let's Talk with Some Fans
10. Let's Do a Punk Version of "My Heart Will Go On" (or, Let's Talk About Our Feelings)
11. Let's Talk About Let's Talk About Love
12. Let's Talk About Love
Essays: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
Carl Wilson, "Introduction"
Nick Hornby, "The Artists We Deserve"
Krist Novoselic, "With the Lights On, It's Less Useless"
Ann Powers, "If the Girls Were All Transported"
Mary Gaitskill, "The Most Obvious Thing"
Jason King, "Compared to What?"
Daphne Brooks, "Let's Talk About Diana Ross (In Memory of Trayvon Martin)"
Drew Daniel, "Deep in the Game"
Sukhdev Sandhu, "Children of the Corn"
James Franco, "Acting In and Out of Context"
Marco Roth and the Editors of n+1, "Too Much Sociology"
Jonathan Sterne, "Giving Up on Giving Up on Good Taste"
Owen Pallett, "When I Come Home"
Sheila Heti, "Playlist: Let's Listen to Love"
Carl Wilson, "Let's Talk Later"
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Rating details

2,592 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 39% (1,012)
4 38% (990)
3 17% (439)
2 4% (113)
1 1% (38)
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