The second edition of All Music's popular rock encyclopedia is a thorough and informed survey of thousands of CD titles currently on the market. While pop, soul, R&B, and rap titles are critiqued, the emphasis here is on rock with a capital "R." Indeed, it's not too hard to stump the book with indie titles and other offbeat recordings. (Try The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock for a fitting underground complement to this more mainstream reference.) That said, the genre's almost 2,000 musicians are placed under the microscope. Recommendations for first and essential purchases as well as biographies and other vital facts flesh out the entries. This isn't the only book you'll need for your pop-music reference library, but it is a key purchase for rabid CD buyers. --Steven Stolder
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