Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Why Don't You Try Writing Your Own Songs?: 'The Bends' and Its Cover Songs
By Scott Elingburg
Three unique takes on tracks from The Bends, spanning the stripped-down acoustic to the full-fledged orchestral, represent how these songs still have the power to stun two decades later. [17.Apr.15]
Still Life: The Portrait of Time in 'Boyhood'
Boyhood sets itself the daunting task of reflecting the breadth of a human adolescence, but it instead reveals that it is in life's minutia that we find the most meaning. [17.Apr.15]
Every Generation Gets the 'Daredevil' It Deserves
Marvel's Daredevil is a reminder that our pop culture, even that which is rooted in the pulp tradition, can be vivid, vital, and powerful. [17.Apr.15]
Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
By Ian Zack
Who was the greatest of all American guitarists? The relatively unknown blind son of sharecroppers, whom Bob Dylan called “one of the wizards of modern music.” [17.Apr.15]
Counterbalance: Tears for Fears 'Songs from the Big Chair'
I wanted to be with you alone and talk about the 1430th most acclaimed album of all time. But traditions I can trace against the child in your face won't escape my attention. A 1985 synth-pop hit is this week's Counterbalance [17.Apr.15]
Today's Articles
17.Apr.15
Tyler, The Creator: Cherry Bomb
Cherry Bomb is the first time in a long time that we’ve gotten to see Tyler grow up at all, but is it too much to ask for this 24-year-old man to mature a little faster?
The Staves: If I Was
The tightly woven harmonies of these three sisters evoke the old souls and sounds of British folk while offering an updated feminine perspective.
Therapy?: Disquiet
Therapy? never seemed to be programmed for longevity, but Disquiet shows us they aren't close to running out of gas.
Umphrey's McGee: The London Session - A Day At Abbey Road Studios
Umphrey’s McGee’s ninth album finds the band taking a sojourn of sorts with a session at London’s landmark Abbey Road studios.
Emile Haynie: We Fall
Underground-turned-super producer Emile Haynie (KiD CuDi, Lana Del Ray, Eminem) stunt-casts his debut like crazy (Randy Newman?!) and against the odds crafts a very firm pop record out of the attention deficit.
Why Don't You Try Writing Your Own Songs?: 'The Bends' and Its Cover Songs
Three unique takes on tracks from The Bends, spanning the stripped-down acoustic to the full-fledged orchestral, represent how these songs still have the power to stun two decades later.
Counterbalance: Tears for Fears 'Songs from the Big Chair'
I wanted to be with you alone and talk about the 1430th most acclaimed album of all time. But traditions I can trace against the child in your face won't escape my attention. A 1985 synth-pop hit is this week's Counterbalance
Record Store Day Video Performances: Django Django, the Hinds, the Take, and More (video)
In anticipation of the 2015 issue of Record Store Day, check out these four videos, featuring performances by Django Django, the Hinds, and the Take, as well as artist interviews about the magic of vinyl.
SLV - Heartbreaker (video) (Premiere)
Rotoscope-esque visuals meet bouncy synthpop in the latest video from the Brooklyn duo SLV.
Jethro Tull - Cold Wind to Valhalla (BBC Version) (audio) (Premiere)
Hear an unreleased alternate take on the Minstrel in the Gallery cut "Cold Wind to Valhalla" in lead-up to that album's special edition 40th anniversary release, featuring new mixes by modern prog maestro Steven Wilson.
'Furious Hoops Vol. 1' Compilation - Record Store Day 2015 (audio) (Premiere)
The worlds of indie rock and '90s basketball coalesce perfectly on a special Record Store Day 2015 release, Furious Hoops Vol. 1.
The Proclaimers - You Built Me Up (video) (Premiere)
The long-running brotherly duo the Proclaimers display their fondness for their canine friends in the video to "You Built Me Up", from their forthcoming Let's Hear It for the Dogs LP.
'Unfriended', Social Media, and the Horror of Sharing Too Much
Unfriended raises a few good questions concerning how social media works, how it is used, and also how it shapes experience.
'Child 44' Is a Suspenseless Soviet-Era Misstep
By adding too many subplots and political asides to the true story of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, Child 44 becomes a deadly bore.
Disneynature Lets the Clichés Overpower the Footage in 'Monkey Kingdom'
As Monkey Kingdom turns into another cookie-cutter family film in which the underdog overcomes all odds, it's easy to lose track of the incredible documentary footage.
John Carpenter's 'Escape From New York' Is an A-Grade B-Movie
Playing a one-eyed special forces soldier, Kurt Russell has to save an inexplicably British president of America from a dystopian New York in this early '80s classic from director John Carpenter.
Still Life: The Portrait of Time in 'Boyhood'
Boyhood sets itself the daunting task of reflecting the breadth of a human adolescence, but it instead reveals that it is in life's minutia that we find the most meaning.
Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
Who was the greatest of all American guitarists? The relatively unknown blind son of sharecroppers, whom Bob Dylan called “one of the wizards of modern music.”
Action Games Are About Escalation, Not Reduction
We grow over the course of Battlefield: Hardline, not so much as a character, but as a performer.
Every Generation Gets the 'Daredevil' It Deserves
Marvel's Daredevil is a reminder that our pop culture, even that which is rooted in the pulp tradition, can be vivid, vital, and powerful.
Benjamin Booker + Olivia Jean: 3 April 2015 - Williamsburg, NY (Photos)
Guitarist Benjamin Booker's versatility with the guitar is earning him quite a following, a fact made obvious by his enthralling recent performance in Williamsburg.
Recent Articles
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Genesis' Mike Rutherford Recounts His 'Living Years'
Guitarist and songwriter Pete Rutherford talks about his new book The Living Years, his career with Genesis, and his touring with Mike + the Mechanics.
Laughing Through the Great Depression With 'Sullivan's Travels'
The real charm of Sullivan’s Travels is the way it exposes Hollywood’s mediation of the Depression and the trauma it inflicted.
Lapalux: Lustmore
Lustmore is a widescreen vision narrowed by delicate sonic focus that, unlike so much beat music, commands attention.
James Blackshaw: Summoning Suns
Summoning Suns is a perfect entry point into James Blackshaw's eclectic musical journey.
'Times Beach' Gives Us Theater, Free-form Jazz, Art Cinema, and Southern Gothic Literature
Times Beach is less a collection of poetry as it is an anthology of performance art presented under the guise of poetry.
The Damnwells: The Damnwells
The fifth album by this Brooklyn-based quartet provides a tribute to their dogged persistence.
'That Man From Rio' and 'Up to His Ears' Find Jean-Paul Belmondo Shirtless and Athletic
These eye-popping '60s French capers feature the legendary Jean-Paul Belmondo hopping the globe in a series of illogical but zanily fun adventure pieces.
Bettye LaVette: Child of the Seventies
This re-release provides evidence that Bettye LaVette should have been famous decades earlier.
George Morris: We Will Go to Hell for This
Detroit troubadour merges the shimmering decadent of '70s glam rock, the subtleties of indie rock, and the danceable innovation of synth pop on sophomore solo LP.
Punch Brothers Pack a Punch in Tucson, AZ - 13 April 2015
Punch Brothers proved to the crowd at Tuscon just why they're one of the most celebrated bands in modern bluegrass.
Wednesday, 15 April 2015
Talking Method Recording and Youthful Delusions with the Manic Street Preachers
For the first time in the band's history, Manic Street Preachers will bring the politically charged post-punk of their 1994 LP The Holy Bible in its entirety to American audiences.
Actress Alicia Witt Finds Her Voice in Music
The TV and film star unveils her full-length studio debut album, produced by Ben Folds.
On Epigraphs and Other Incestuous Things
Like a cover letter, the epigraph must take me to the textual meat without giving me reason to discard the sandwich altogether.
Who Should Rule Westeros in 'Game of Thrones'?
As Game of Thrones begins its fifth action-packed season, PopMatters examines the show's many contenders for the titular throne.
One Arrow, One Shot, One Hit, One Life, One Kill
Titan Souls requires of its player only one thing: perfection.
The 10 Best One-and-Done Directors
Not every filmmaker gets a chance to make their career as a director. Here are ten individuals who tried, and then never sat behind the lens again.
Villagers: Darling Arithmetic
The addition of a full musical ensemble has done little to alter Villagers’ sound, what with the lush, ethereal arrangements, the lonely reminiscing and reflection, and the hushed gaze that pervades these pieces overall.
The Romance of Obsession in 'Schubert's Winter Journey'
Tenor Ian Bostridge has sung Winterreise hundreds of times and here gives it the equivalent of 33 1/3 entry -- only denser in substance, more elaborately written, and with some fascinating tangentials.
The Science Overshadows the Story in 'Interstellar'
Interstellar is a movie full of Big Ideas that end up overshadowing the human element, particularly during the poorly plotted first act.
Beth Hart: Better Than Home
On Better than Home Beth Hart delivers a veritable tour-de-force that highlights her remarkable prowess as both a singer and songwriter.
Coming Full Circle as the Children of Immigrants
The Blind Writer is less about South Asians and the Indian-American experience as it is about Indian-American men and their (in)abilities to navigate life.
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Fighting the New Censorship: Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists
From terrorists and authoritarian regimes to government surveillance and control of the Internet, the threats to freedom of expression are greater than ever.
The Fictional Life of the Wombats
Arguing with your label about Vicodin. Creating a fictional life to write songs about. Embracing "weird crystal-worship party lovers." Just another day in the life of the Wombats.
PopTalk: Can Some Artists Become Immune to Serious Criticism?
In the eyes of critics, can David Lynch ever make a bad film? Or Kanye West a bad album?
Country Fried Rock: James McMurtry Interview
Some people label James McMurtry a political songwriter; in his view, he's just an observer.
'Valiant Hearts': The Unneeded Narrator
In the midst of all this human drama is the narrator, lavishing us with needless exposition.
Why Does David Lynch Keep Doing This to Us?
David Lynch is one of the most beloved directors in the world. He's also an expert at letting his fanbase down.
'Saga #27' Characters Are Unforgettable
Saga propels readers into new and unchartered, yet always compelling, spaces. From the horribly exotic to the stunningly beautiful, the characters are impossible to forget.
Greed Gets Tiresome in 'Beyond the Reach'
The idea here is that Madec's limitless financial resources make him every bit as phantasmal and inexorable as Jason Voorhees.
Calexico: Edge of the Sun
Seeds of experimentation and collaboration planted long ago bear some of the best fruit of Calexico's long career.
'The Queen's Bed', the Queen's Body, and the Body of the State
A rigorous, middle ground between lurid populist histories and dry academia, Anna Whitelock provides an excellent biography as a well trained historian.
School's Out Forever in 'Class of 1984'
Aiming for an incisive social commentary on the increasing violence of youth gangs, Class of 1984 falls short.
Monday, 13 April 2015
Smear the Queer: 'The X-Files' Reboot and Stereotypes in Speculative Fiction
If Fox really is going jump-start The X-Files, it better not pull any of the stereotypical homophobic crap again.
Death in the Land of Smiles
A recent biopic about the last executioner in Thailand explores the extremes between killing and redemption.
Radiohead's 'The Bends' and the Escape from Alternative Nation
While OK Computer is important in its own right, The Bends transformed Radiohead from being a potentially indistinguishable Alternative Nation contributor to a band who has redefined the term "rock" for the past two decades.
The Three Things That Marvel's 'Daredevil' Did Perfectly
It could have been a passing curiosity like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but Daredevil isn't only a great superhero TV drama, but it's a great drama period.
Moving Pixels Podcast: 'The Cat Lady' and the Terror of Loneliness
The Cat Lady is a game that is interested in the horrors of grappling with depression and anxiety, despite its often horror-movie-inspired presentation.
Double Take: Raising Arizona (1987)
There's what's right, and there's what's right, and never the twain shall meet. Double Take tries to meet in the middle of Raising Arizona, which was released this week 28 years ago.
A Confluence of Conflicts in 'Convergence #1'
The arena for a multiversal clash is set, but lacks theatrics.
'Ravensbrück': The Nonfiction of Nightmares
Sarah Helm’s Ravensbrück is a searingly comprehensive look at the sole concentration camp built to house women. It is the nonfiction of nightmares.
Eels: Royal Albert Hall
What becomes of the broken-hearted? They go to an Eels gig, obviously.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion aren't about to reinvent the wheel, but with music this good they don't need to.
'What We Do in the Shadows' Became a Cult Classic Upon Creation
The charming and eccentric humor of this vampire mockumentary makes it feel like it was born to be a beloved cult classic.
Mixed Media
PopMatters Highlights
From The Blogs
Announcements

© 1999-2015 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.