Book Taste Test

Book Taste Test
Noted music critic Carl Wilson raised eyebrows when he announced his first book was about Celine Dion. In his renowned work as an editor and writer at The Globe and Mail, and his popular blog Zoilus.com, Wilson champions all manner of counter-culture practitioners and is a great proponent of Toronto’s underground arts community. The notion that he might contribute a volume to the 33 1/3 book series (on specific albums by everyone from the Minutemen to U2) is intriguing, but why focus on a multi-platinum seller like Dion?

"When I first was in touch with the editors, I threw a couple of ideas at them,” he recalls. "They felt they were good but a little on the obscure side. This re-sparked an idea I’d had, which was to investigate the reasons why people have the artistic tastes they do. I realised that a good way to go at that question was to look at something I really had no affinity with whatsoever but that lots and lots of people clearly do.”

Named after Dion’s ubiquitous 1997 album Let’s Talk About Love, Wilson’s book is subtitled A Journey to the End of Taste and is an endlessly provocative exploration of subjective aesthetic values. Balancing theoretical analysis with deeply personal asides and entertaining colloquial anecdotes, Wilson delves deep into the phenomenon of popularity versus credibility, all filtered through the persona of Dion.

"There’s an obvious mystery there when you have someone who is all but critically reviled and certainly somebody the media and probably you and your friends have enjoyed making fun of at one time or another,” Wilson explains. "There seems to be this gulf where one audience doesn’t understand the other, so Celine seemed to me a good opportunity for a case study on that type of problem.”

Click here to read the full interview with Carl Wilson.