I've been reading an anthology called The Best Music Writing 2007, and it's fantastic. My mind has been opened, and then wrenched even a little wider, to the possibilities of music criticism. Who knew it could be so varied and compelling?
Anyhow, the absolute gem of the collection - although there are some doozies in there - is Jonathan Lethem's epic portrait, Being James Brown. I was thrilled to find it available for free in the Rolling Stone archives. Take the time to read the whole thing; it's worth it.