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
9:48 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Lessons From SXSW 2013: Take The Middle Road

Natalie Maines (center) at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas during the SXSW Music Festival. Maines's band included her father, Lloyd Maines (seated left) and Ben Harper (seated right).
Mindy Best Getty Images

That guy Prince has a sense of humor.

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The Record
1:50 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Listening To My Bloody Valentine Three Ways

My Bloody Valentine's Bilinda Butcher during the band's set at Coachella in 2009.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 2:29 pm

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The Record
2:53 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Go See The Old Guys

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 5:22 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
9:31 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 2:35 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
2:37 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 10:53 am

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
10:18 am
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 5:22 pm

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The Record
5:21 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 5:24 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
6:06 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 5:39 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
12:17 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Afghan Whigs: Songs Of Love Gone Wrong, Done Right

Greg Dulli at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City Wednesday night.
Dominick Mastrangelo BrooklynVegan

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 7:07 am

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The Record
3:29 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 2:36 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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