Jessica Hopper
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Jessica Hopper
Jessica Hopper
Jessica Hopper at the EMP Pop Festival 2015.
Jessica Hopper at the EMP Pop Festival 2015.
Born (1976-09-05) September 5, 1976 (age 43)
Music critic
GenreCriticism, journalism
SubjectMusic, feminism
Notable worksThe First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic
Night Moves
Years active1995-present

Jessica Hopper (born September 5, 1976) is an American writer. She published The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, a compilation of her essays, reported pieces, zines, and reviews, in May 2015.[1][2][3][4] In 2018, she published a memoir, Night Moves.

Early life

Jessica Hopper was born in Indiana and grew up in Minneapolis.[3] Her mother was a newspaper editor, her father a journalist and her stepfather a prosecutor, all of which Hopper has described as fueling her interest in journalism and investment in finding the truth more generally.[5] She began writing criticism as a teenager, spurred by a frustrated sense that a magazine had misunderstood one of her favorite bands, Babes in Toyland--the piece, Hopper recalled later, characterized the music as "caustic and shrieky" where Hopper found "these aesthetics...really empowering"--at 15 Hopper called the magazine to argue she should be allowed to write a new review. The magazine didn't respond, but Hopper started her own fanzine.[6] By the next year, at 16, she began freelancing for alternative weekly City Pages.[6]

A feminist punk, Hopper was encouraged by music critic Terri Sutton to find her own "staunch and caustic and uncompromising" voice.[7]


Since then, Hopper has written for publications including the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, and Spin. She was the DJ for This American Life and the first music editor of the radical teen-girl webzine Rookie. From 1991 to 2005, she published the fanzine Hit It Or Quit It.[8][7][9]

Alongside her writing, Hopper worked in public relations and managing bands until her late 20s when she quit to write full-time.[10]

Hopper was a senior editor of Pitchfork and the editor in chief of the print quarterly The Pitchfork Review from October 2014 until November 2015. She was appointed editorial director of music for MTV News in 2016.[7][9][11]

Writing in The Guardian, Laura Snapes described Hopper as "one of a handful of music journalists whose every new piece feels like an event. When Björk's latest album Vulnicura leaked in January, it was Hopper's interview that provided the record's heartbreaking context."[7] In Paste, Mack Hayden described Hopper's as "one of the most distinctive voices in the world of music criticism."[10]

In 2018, Hopper published a memoir called Night Moves.[12]

Personal life

Hopper is based in Chicago.[13] She has two sons.[14]


  • The Girls' Guide to Rocking: How to Start a Band, Book Gigs, and Get Rolling to Rock Stardom (June 4, 2009) ISBN 0761151419. Workman Publishing
  • The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic (May 12, 2015) ISBN 978-0983186335, Featherproof Books
  • Night Moves (September 18, 2018) ISBN 9781477317884, University of Texas Press


  1. ^ Potts, Dianca (May 26, 2015). "JESSICA HOPPER COMPILES GREATEST HITS FOR HER FIRST COLLECTION OF ROCK CRITICISM". Village Voice. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ Berman, Eliza (May 12, 2015). "Jessica Hopper: Stop Telling Girls the Way They Listen to Music Is Wrong". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ a b Garner, Dwight (June 17, 2015). "Review: Jessica Hopper Looks Beyond the Boys and Their Bands in a New Book". New York Times. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ Zaleski, Annie (August 26, 2015). "Music writer's Twitter feed exposes industry's harsh sexism, marginalization". AV Club. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "A Q&A With "The First Collection of Criticism By a Living Female Rock Critic" Author Jessica Hopper". PAPERMAG. 2015-05-14. Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b Berman, Eliza (May 12, 2015). "Jessica Hopper: Stop Telling Girls the Way They Listen to Music Is Wrong". Time. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d Snapes, Laura (May 14, 2015). "Jessica Hopper: 'I can't mute my moral self when listening to a record'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ Goodman, Jessica (May 12, 2015). "How Jessica Hopper Is Changing The Future For Women Writers". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ a b Levine, Robert (February 11, 2016). "MTV News Is Trying Very Hard to Reinvent Itself". Billboard. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ a b Hayden, Mack (May 20, 2015). "Jessica Hopper Unpacks The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic". Paste Magazine. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Kirby, Megan (May 12, 2015). "JESSICA HOPPER IS PLANTING A FLAG FOR FEMINIST MUSIC CRITICISM". Bitch Media. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ "NIGHT MOVES by Jessica Hopper". Kirkus Reviews. July 16, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ Zaleski, Annie (May 12, 2015). "Rock critic Jessica Hopper on being young, female and unapologetic about her place in the canon: "If I don't fit in it, then who the f**k does?"". Salon. Retrieved 2017.
  14. ^ Basedow, Neph (October 16, 2015). "The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic - Music Review". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2017.

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