"Hopper's name should be familiar to anyone who makes a point of following contemporary music criticism—she's a longtime editor at Pitchfork and the editor-in-chief of its hard-copy spinoff, The Pitchfork Review. She's written about Kendrick Lamar for SPIN and music licensing for Buzzfeed. In a previous life, she worked on the other side of the shadowy divide between listeners and artists, as a PR rep for acts like Pedro the Lion. She's been deftly reflecting on music—and having those thoughts published—since she was a teenager. (She's 38 now.) And now she's released The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic.
The book, which spans the past 15 years of Hopper's career, is deliberately uneven. Rather than present a chronological arc, she's organized her work by broad subject areas, ranging from straightforward ('Chicago,' her home base) to entertaining ('Bad Reviews,' which favours thoughtful eviscerations over cheap shots) to political ('Females,' the final part, holds the crux of Hopper's feminist critical philosophy). In each section, relative juvenilia sits alongside recent, 'mature' writing. 'Emo: Where The Girls Aren't,' Hopper's tossed-gauntlet of an essay on misogyny in the Chicago scene for a 2003 issue of Punk Planet, is pages away from her unflinching 2013 interview with reporter Jim DeRogatis about R. Kelly's abhorrent record as a sex offender. A laser-focused 2011 profile of the artist St. Vincent buts up against a poetic, impressionistic review of a record by the Swedish singer-songwriter Frida Hyvonen from 2006." - Sarah Liss, National Post