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
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
2:19 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
2:44 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
5:08 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
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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The Record
8:06 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Springsteen's American Dream, Beautiful And Bleak

Bruce Springsteen onstage during the Born in the USA tour in 1985.
Richard E. Aaron Redferns

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:39 pm

I fell in love with Bruce Springsteen for his swagger. It was ridiculous and offered so much hope. Here was a bony dude with the worst haircut ever, who wore T-shirts covered in holes — seriously, he looked like the fry cook at the amusement park where I worked as a counter girl in the summer — making music as big as the known universe.

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The Record
5:05 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

The Many Voices Of Donna Summer

"Queen of Disco" Donna Summer performs in 1979. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:36 pm

Pop singer Donna Summer, whose long career began in the 1960s and reached its apex in the disco era of the '70s, died of cancer on Thursday at her home in Naples, Florida. Summer was 63 years old. According to Billboard magazine, the singer born LaDonna Gaines had 32 singles that charted in the Hot 100. Fourteen of them made it into the top 10. To hear Sami Yenigun's appreciation of Donna Summer's life and career, as heard on All Things Considered, click the audio link.

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The Record
9:15 pm
Sat February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston: Her Life Played Out Like An Opera

Whitney Houston performs in 1988.
David Corio Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:32 pm

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The Record
12:01 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Get To Know The Song Of The Year Nominees: Mumford And Sons' 'The Cave'

Mumford & Sons.
Courtesy of Billions

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:32 pm

This Sunday the annual Grammy Award winners will be announced. One of the biggest categories is Song of the Year, which goes to a songwriter. Every day this week, we'll give you a little intel on one of the nominees. Today, Mumford and Sons' "The Cave."

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