Sept. 10, 2018
Late last month, the owner of The Village Voice, the storied alternative weekly that for decades had been a leading light for music criticism, among other things, announced that the publication would be closing.
Much of how we think about contemporary music criticism traces its roots to The Voice, which was a 1960s counterculture bible, a 1970s and 1980s downtown bible, and after that, a boisterous town square for cutting-edge conversation about cutting-edge arts. The writing was passionate and intricate, and the coverage was wide. The paper provided crucial early coverage of hip-hop, was dedicated in its coverage of jazz and modern classical, and weighed in on obscure rock and hyper-mainstream pop.
On this week’s two-part Popcast, several former Village Voice music editors and music critics, whose tenures date from the paper’s early years up to the last decade, look back:
Part 1 (above): The Early Years
· Robert Christgau, who for several decades wrote The Voice’s Consumer Guide column, and who is currently the Expert Witness columnist at Noisey and the author of the forthcoming collection “Is It Still Good to Ya?: Fifty Years of Rock Criticism, 1967-2017”
· Jon Pareles, a former Voice critic and music editor and now the chief pop music critic for The New York Times
· Nelson George, who covered hip-hop extensively for The Voice in the 1980s and who is a producer of the upcoming Cinemax series “Tales From the Tour Bus”
· Kyle Gann, who for years covered modern classical and new music for The Voice, and is now a professor of music at Bard College
· Joe Levy, a former Voice music editor and now a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and host of the “Inside the Studio” podcast
Part 2 (below): The Later Years