The reason Switched On Pop works as a podcast is that listeners can experience first-hand the techniques Sloan and Harding explain, by hearing the relevant snippets of the songs. Similarly, the book is punctuated by user-friendly diagrams that use both visual analogies and fun, familiar caricatures of pop stars – Lamar’s head dotted around to show a pattern of syncopation, for example – to ground the granular explanations in something more accessible. The language itself is similarly chatty (Justin Bieber becomes “The Biebs”). And although it is consistent with the book’s intention to make pop more serious and classical less intimidating, to quip that “Rossini would likely cough up his affogato” also exposes the chasm between the two styles of criticism and the potentially jarring effect of combining them.
Calamity: The Many Lives of Calamity Jane
"as Karen Jones sets out dismayingly early in her book, the only things that the real-life ‘Calamity Jane’ can with confidence be said to have in common with her legend is that she wore trousers, swore like a navvy and was pissed all the time..."
— The Spectator