Alex Ross’s award-winning international bestseller, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth
Century, has become a contemporary classic, establishing Ross as one of our most popular and
acclaimed cultural historians. Listen to This, which takes its title from a beloved 2004 essay in which
Ross describes his late-blooming discovery of pop music, showcases the best of his writing from
more than a decade at The New Yorker. These pieces, dedicated to classical and popular artists
alike, are at once erudite and lively. In a previously unpublished essay, Ross brilliantly retells
hundreds of years of music history—from Renaissance dances to Led Zeppelin—through a few
iconic bass lines of celebration and lament. He vibrantly sketches canonical composers such as
Schubert, Verdi, and Brahms; gives us in-depth interviews with modern pop masters such as Björk
and Radiohead; and introduces us to music students at a Newark high school and indie-rock
hipsters in Beijing.
Whether his subject is Mozart or Bob Dylan, Ross shows how music expresses the full complexity
of the human condition. Witty, passionate, and brimming with insight, Listen to This teaches us how
to listen more closely.