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.

Pages

First Listen
3:01 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

First Listen: Robert Plant, 'Lullaby And... The Ceaseless Roar'

Robert Plant's new album, lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar, comes out Sept. 9.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 8:55 am

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats once famously evoked the drift of time through the image of old men gazing at their own watery reflections. "Everything alters, and one by one we drop away," Yeats' elders say as they themselves sit solidly at the shore.

Read more
The Record
2:35 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Taylor Swift Aims For Pop's Throne

A still from the video for "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 10:52 am

Read more
The Record
8:34 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Top 40 In A Summer Of Discontent

A still from the video for "Am I Wrong" by Nico & Vinz.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 11:54 am

To hear Ann Powers talk with NPR's Audie Cornish about some of the songs that might define the troubling summer of 2014, click the audio link on this page.

Read more
First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun August 17, 2014

First Listen: Shovels & Rope, 'Swimmin' Time'

Shovels & Rope's new album, Swimmin' Time, comes out Aug. 26.
Leslie Ryan McKellar Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 1:58 pm

It's easy to feel the romance in the musical relationship between Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst.

Read more
First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

First Listen: Imogen Heap, 'Sparks'

Imogen Heap's new album, Sparks, comes out Aug. 19.
Jeremy Cowart Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 11:15 am

"What does the story hold?" Imogen Heap sings tenderly and slightly quizzically in "Propeller Seeds," the closing track on her fourth solo album, Sparks. The English singer, songwriter and tech pioneer has taken three years to shape 14 songs that answer her question in utterly distinctive ways.

Read more

Pages