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
1:28 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Paramore Feat. Joy Williams, 'Hate To See Your Heart Break'

Hayley Williams (left) of Paramore and Joy Williams, formerly of The Civil Wars, perform together on a version of the song "Hate To See Your Heart Break" from the deluxe version of Paramore's self-titled album.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on

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The Record
11:20 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Nora Jane Struthers, 'The Same Road'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 9:22 am

Nora Jane Struthers is guided by fire. Coming up within the tradition-minded bluegrass world, she spent her youth in a family band with her father, a good daughter learning tradition. But since she's been leading her own band, the Party Line, Struthers has poured more and more emotion into her songwriting, coming up with some of the most quietly powerful narratives within the new wave of Americana artists.

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The Record
11:04 am
Thu November 13, 2014

TV On The Radio And The Paradox Of The Midcareer Band

TV On The Radio's new album, its fifth, is titled Seeds.
JUCO Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 3:02 pm

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All Songs Considered
9:01 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Houndmouth, 'For No One'

Tyler Zoller Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 9:20 am

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Songs We Love
11:06 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Wild Moccasins, 'Eye Makeup'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 9:22 am

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First Listen
9:03 pm
Sun November 2, 2014

First Listen: Marianne Faithfull, 'Give My Love To London'

Marianne Faithfull's new album, Give My Love To London, comes out Nov. 11.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 7:01 pm

In many classic stories, there comes a point where someone speaks from the corner and changes everything. A stranger reveals the secret that solves a mystery; a minor character finally unburdens herself, and her words reconfigure the plot. Marianne Faithfull's music comes from that place of shadow and revelation.

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The Record
1:03 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Many New Voices Of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has called her fifth album, 1989, her "very first documented, official pop album."
Courtesy of Big Machine Records

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 5:27 pm

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Songs We Love
8:37 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Wade Bowen, 'Long Enough To Be A Memory'

Wade Bowen's song "Long Enough To Be A Memory" is a favorite of NPR music critic Ann Powers.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 9:46 am

Right now, I'm sitting in a hotel in Cleveland, Ohio, eating a cheeseburger and listening to Texas country troubadour Wade Bowen's melancholy ballad about learning to make wherever you hang your hat your home. Like so many people trying to get and stay ahead, I travel for my work — not as much as the weathered but optimistic journeyman of "Long Enough To Be A Memory," but enough to relate to his sense of dislocation and his hope that maybe he'll finally stick in one place.

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All Songs TV
12:36 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Fly Golden Eagle: 'Stepping Stone'

The members of Fly Golden Eagle, in a scene from their new video for the song "Stepping Stone."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 3:25 pm

Making music in a band is always and experiment. The players throw different elements into the enzymatic mix, let it all bubble together, and come up with a new compound every time. Recording these interactions for something as self-promotional as a music video can feel intrusive, like freezing something volatile. But a creative team can have fun with this awkward encounter.

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The Record
2:33 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Are These The Next Crossover Country Stars?

Sam Hunt has written hits for both Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban. His debut album, Montevallo, is out on Oct. 27.
Chase Lauer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 6:41 am

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