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In the Critics this week

Rufus Wainwright, superhero capers and atheist fiction.

This week, we publish a list of the 20 greatest political songs, as decided by members of the Political Studies Association and New Statesman readers. To mark the occasion, the blogger and critic Mark Fisher asks how music can be political in the current climate. "The dominant culture has been reclaimed by Tin Pan Alley populism that has once again reduced music to entertainment", he argues.

Elsewhere, two interviews as Suzy Klein meets Rufus Wainwright to chat about his debut opera, Prima Donna, and in Books, Julian Baggini quizzes Rebecca Goldstein on her novel about atheism. In Books, Geoffrey Robertson calls for a Bill of Rights, Anthony Julius reviews a "scholarly and speculative" history of capitalism and the Jews, Leo Robson weighs up D J Taylor's novel of 1930s poverty and Jude Rogers delves into London's countercultural history.

Plus, we have columns from our award-winning critics. Ryan Gilbey watches Matthew Vaughn's superhero comedy, Kick-Ass, Andrew Billen reviews the RSC's "response" to King Lear, Antonia Quirke is put off by all the sneering on Radio 4, Rachel Cooke stops by Sophie Dahl's busy kitchen and Will Self dines at Pret A Manger.