We know it's too on nose really to talk The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic by the Jessica Hopper on International Women's Day, even if it was not planned as such. We also know however that musical criticism is the arts criticism we are least likely to pay attention to, except maybe dance, we will concede that. It's also true that we dipped in and out of this book over many months, and not because we didn't llike it. we quite love it really, but because we might not have even picked it up if it weren't The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic. That means something, that's a literary event, that cannot, should not be missed. And we're glad we didn't miss it. Yes, it talks about music, and the the musicians who are important to music culture, now, yesterday, tomorrow, but what it really speaks to is the culture of music, how it has changed, and changes, constantly evolving and morphing, and that it doesn't require a dude to make sense of it. Now, we know this of course, but knowing it is not the point. It's about opportunity and access, and the understanding that given access and opportunity, it doesn't matter if the writer is male, female, gay, straight, trans, black, white, brown, whatever, they are as capable as anyone of doing kick-ass and insightful work. Whether Jessica Hopper represents a changing of the guard or will serve to open doors remains to be seen in the same way the impact of Patty Jenkins absolutely slaying Wonder Woman remains to be seen. Access is rarely given away without a fight. But that's another thing about Hopper, no one gave her anything, she fucking took it, and she wrote beautifully about that taking, and there's a reason this is The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic, there's nothing quite else like it, not yet, but that doesn't mean there won't be more. There will have to be, The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic, may not povide a road map of how to be all things Jessica Hopper, rock critic, but it does serve as a beacon and inspiration and once all of the future female rock critics get a taste of it, there will be no turning back. All of which is to say, that there are much worse books to celebrate on International Women's Day, even if on the nose, and not otherwise the kind of writing we would otherwise care enough about. And all of that said, maybe two more thoughts before we move along. First, the work is uniformly thoughtful, if not slamming, across the board, and certain to change your life, but if you're only going to read one piece, and you're not, but if you were, do read "Conversation With Jim DeRogatis Regarding R. Kelly." DeRogatis is a fucking hero, R. Kelly is a fucking predatory scumbag, and Hopper's examination of DeRogatis' great frustration with his inability to draw more attention to R. Kelly's untoward, and yes, illegal behavior toward young woman is a fine, and necessary piece of journalism. Most finally, Hopper has this to say about The Raincoats:
"The Raincoats are the sound of learning and having fun and making it up as go along; may they be revivified, rediscovered and reissued indefinitely."
We're not sure how we feel about The Raincoats, or even if we know who they are, but as far as Hopper herself goes, may all of the above be true for her as well, be it International Women's Day, or any day.