Ann Powers

Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. She writes for NPR's music news blog, The Record, and she can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines and music programs.

One of the nation's most notable music critics, Powers has been writing for The Record, NPR's blog about finding, making, buying, sharing and talking about music, since April 2011.

Powers served as chief pop music critic at the Los Angeles Times from 2006 until she joined NPR. Prior to the Los Angeles Times, she was senior critic at Blender and senior curator at Experience Music Project. From 1997 to 2001 Powers was a pop critic at The New York Times and before that worked as a senior editor at the Village Voice. Powers began her career working as an editor and columnist at San Francisco Weekly.

Her writing extends beyond blogs, magazines and newspapers. Powers co-wrote Tori Amos: Piece By Piece, with Amos, which was published in 2005. In 1999, Power's book Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America was published. She was the editor, with Evelyn McDonnell, of the 1995 book Rock She Wrote: Women Write About Rock, Rap, and Pop and the editor of Best Music Writing 2010.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University, Powers went on to receive a Master of Arts degree in English from the University of California.

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The Record
10:41 am
Mon February 4, 2013

The Roots Of Beyonce's Super Bowl Spectacular

Beyonce performs during the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday night.
Ezra Shaw Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:38 pm

One of the Twitter hashtags devised by rabid Beyonce fans before last night's Super Bowl halftime show was religious in nature: #praisebeysus. Praise Beysus! This bit of hyperventilating resonated in interesting ways. Strutting into the very center of America's biggest television spectacle, the 31-year-old superstar intended to secure her place in the musical pantheon next to recent Super Bowl-approved legends Madonna, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and Prince.

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The Record
4:53 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Go See The Old Guys

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 7:22 am

Neil Young made me write this. Before last Thursday, when ol' Shakey and his golden garage band Crazy Horse stomped through my local amphitheater, the last thing I'd thought I'd be excited about was a bunch of guys hovering around 70, playing loud rock and roll into the night.

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The Record
4:20 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

'Nashville' Duets: Voices In Harmony And Conflict

Nashville veteran Deacon (Charles Esten) and upstart country-pop star Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) record a duet in a scene from ABC's Nashville.
Katherine Bomboy-Thornton ABC

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 11:07 am

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The Record
2:41 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

For The Ladies: R. Kelly, Teddy Pendergrass And The State Of R&B

R. Kelly's "Single Ladies" tour, which includes a "Ladies Only" section, began this week and runs into December.
Randee St. Nicholas RCA Records

Originally published on Sat October 20, 2012 3:49 pm

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The Record
11:49 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Tori Amos On Her Muses, Her Song Girls And Her Father

Tori Amos in concert in New York City on October 5th.
Ebru Yildiz for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 4:35 pm

Two weeks ago, the inimitable Tori Amos played an intimate show at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City, accompanied by a string octet, in celebration of the release of her retrospective album Gold Dust.

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The Record
4:37 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Why Some Musicians Last

The singer Aaliyah, performing in 1998. Since her death in 2001, many singers have applied her soft, sexy vocal style to R&B, pop and indie hits.
Tim Mosenfelder Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 12:53 pm

The mists of eternity wafted over my Twitter feed the other night. Okay, not quite — but talk of eternity, or at least of the pop scene in thirty years, did make for a lengthy and spirited group exchange. It started when a friend who's not fond of singing competitions asked whether Kelly Clarkson will be remembered in 2042.

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The Record
3:32 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Who You Calling A B----?

Debate over the word "bitch" has been conducted loudly for decades, as in Queen Latifah's "U.N.I.T.Y." when she asks, "Who you calling a bitch?"
ImmortalBliss iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:15 pm

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The Record
1:44 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

The Hits You Haven't Heard

Gospel star Tamela Mann's album, Best Days, charted at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 in its first week.
Courtesy of Tillyman Entertainment

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:16 pm

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The Record
12:10 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Antony's 'Future Feminism': Stage Banter As Statement Of Purpose

Antony performs in Oslo, Norway in 2011.
Jan Erik Svendsen Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:22 pm

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The Record
7:21 am
Thu August 2, 2012

On Bob Dylan And Jonah Lehrer, Two Fabulists

Bob Dylan at a press conference at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1966.
Fiona Adams Redferns/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:24 pm

Yesterday my husband and I had the same thought at the same time. It's not an uncommon occurrence for two writers who've spent decades arguing and enthusing about pop music. I mention it, in part, to stave off accusations that I'm plagiarizing from a nearby source, but also because I think what we reflected upon in light of the writer Jonah Lehrer's fatal mistake was probably in the minds of many music obsessives.

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