cover image Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls

Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls

Lisa Robinson. Holt, $27.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-62779-490-9

Music journalist and Vanity Fair contributing editor Robinson (There Goes Gravity) highlights the challenges of being a woman in the music business in these passionate, insightful essays. Here she shares excerpts from 5,000 hours of taped conversations she conducted from the 1970s to the present with female musicians including Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and Patti Smith. Revealing interviews include Adele talking about juggling music-making and motherhood; Sheryl Crow expounding on fame and aging; and Mary J. Blige and Bonnie Raitt discussing substance abuse. Throughout, Robinson inserts observations about the artists she admires, such as Lady Gaga (an “exception in candor” who spoke openly with Robinson about the drugs she took in the years before she was famous) and Joni Mitchell (“a true artist”); she also mentions artists she doesn’t care for, like Taylor Swift, an “overtly ambitious musician” who, when she learned that Robinson worked for Vanity Fair, “lasered in on me like something out of The Exorcist.” The blocks of interview quotes sometimes overwhelm the narrative, but Robinson keeps things moving with her sharp takes and witty asides. (“With social media and all that butt-baring and body shaming going on, it’s a miracle that any female has the guts to make a record,” she says.) This entertaining highlight reel of music interviews crackles with energy. [em](Nov.) [/em]