Dylan Jones has strong opinions, even when they're a little dodgy. For my money, he gives Spandau Ballet and Travis too much credit, and R.E.M. and Lloyd Cole nowhere near enough. His favorites hew a little close to the artists he's interviewed over his long career as an editor and writer at British magazines. (He's now the editor of British GQ.)
But that's the thing about critics: Sometimes you love the ones who are so smug and sure and confident that they're perfectly fine defending something unfashionable, or going on for pages about someone you'd never otherwise have taken seriously. Often, that's the best way to break past your own biases and prejudices.
And then there's Jones' devastating way with a quip. In his new "Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music," Jones has a way to make you smile even when he's taking apart one of your favorite acts, to make you think whether he's celebrating a band or dismissing one. It's the kind of book you can squander a lot of time flipping through -- and it might just send you deep into your own collection or onto iTunes.
This slideshow samples some of his best lines and sharpest opinions. Disagree and defend Lou Reed and his terrific "New York" album in the comments.
Excerpted from "The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music" by Dylan Jones. © 2012 by Dylan Jones. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Picador.