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

Aural Fixation

Thursday, June 27 2013

Why Radio Still Matters

The key to radio’s survival is to embrace streaming, social media, and other means of establishing a global identity – all while maintaining a presence in your back yard.


Wednesday, April 24 2013

The Death Knell Sounds Again: The History of Music Industry Whining

A business which makes billions a year can’t stop whining about how illegal downloading, streaming, and Internet radio is sending it to the poor house.


Sunday, March 17 2013

Anatomy of a Viral Smash: Bauuer’s ‘Harlem Shake’

So are you ready to gouge out your eyes and slice off your ears if forced to endure one more version of “Harlem Shake”? With 700 million views and counting, someone’s paying attention. The question is: What made it into such a viral smash?


Sunday, February 17 2013

Why the Grammys Matter

So your favorites didn’t win, huh? Get over it. Bashing the Grammys is too easy. Try recognizing them as markers of what is happening in the music industry, not on your iPod.


Wednesday, January 30 2013

What James Bond Can’t Teach You About British Music History

If you want lessons in womanizing, dressing to the nines, or ordering martinis, James Bond is your man. If, however, you’re looking for a review of British music history over the last 50 years, the world’s favorite secret agent has no idea what he’s doing.


Wednesday, October 31 2012

Today’s “New” Music Is All Folked Up

One of today’s biggest musical trends owes a debt to one of music’s oldest traditions – buddies gathered on a front porch jamming with guitars, banjos, and mandolins. Some of today’s most popular groups sound like they belong in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1920s, not on alternative radio of the 2010s.


Sunday, September 30 2012

Music in the ‘90s: When Alternative Became Mainstream

The genre once tied to college radio and indie record companies became mainstream in the '90s. Some of those icons of “alternative” are making comebacks – or never went away. Is this 2012 or 1996?


Tuesday, August 28 2012

Generation X Wants Its MTV, But It’s a VEVO World Now

Gen X’ers may still want their MTV, but the version they loved is as distant a memory as Valley Girl speak, parachute pants, and leg warmers. Wake up and smell the VEVO.


Tuesday, July 24 2012

An Open Letter to Tom Cruise: How to Make a Movie Rock

Dear Tom Cruise: We know you are hurting from the failure of Rock of Ages. However, if you learn the lessons from the best rock-themed movies, you can still make a rock film for the ages.


Wednesday, June 20 2012

Cock Roaches and Keith Richards: How Do Some Bands Seem to Last Forever?

The Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Metallica and other rock groups have been around for decades. What are the keys to their longevity?


Wednesday, May 30 2012

Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Dead? Again?

Actor Jack Black recently joined a long line of prognosticators shaking the death rattle for rock 'n' roll. However, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl says, "There will always be rock 'n' roll." If saltine crackers are any way of judging, I'm with Grohl on this.


Tuesday, April 17 2012

Record Store Day: Spend Your Money on Music — It’s Better Than Therapy

Huddled behind the counter sat a thin-faced, sullen-looking guy hidden behind a pair of round, John Lennon-esque sunglasses hanging on the bridge of his nose.


Sunday, April 1 2012

When Politicians Hit Wrong Notes

From Reagan in the '80s to Limbaugh in 2012, Republicans have an uncanny knack for linking themselves to musicians who don’t support them. Just ask Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and John Mellencamp.


Sunday, March 4 2012

I Heard You Missed Us (Says Van Halen and Many, Many Others)—We’re Back!

The David Lee Roth-fronted Van Halen returns after a 28-year absence. Who else has made fans wait that long? Quite a few, it turns out.


Tuesday, January 17 2012

Gleeks and Beliebers Rejoice: In Defense of Pop

Pop music makers like Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry may get the kiss off from critics, but really, what's the harm in getting your pop groove on to their style of music?


Tuesday, November 22 2011

On Making that Holiday Music List and Checking It Twice

It's that time of the year, again. Music fans are making their lists of what they hope to find wrapped in pretty paper at Christmas, and music publications are making their lists of what should be on those lists. Now, I have something to say about lists.


Monday, October 31 2011

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or Shame?

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recently announced its 15 nominees for its 2012 induction class. Once again, that means the blogosphere is abuzz with complaints about the Hall's irrelevancy. Are they legitimate?


Monday, October 3 2011

Was Grunge the Last American Musical Revolution?

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten. In revisiting the grunge genre which altered the musical landscape two decades ago, the question arises: was this our last musical revolution?


Wednesday, August 24 2011

Rock ‘n’ Roll 101: How to Handle a Dead Young Rock Star

In the wake of Amy Winehouse's death, record industry types and music journalists dusted off their Rock 'n' Roll 101 handbooks, revisiting the chapter on how to report on a Young Rock Star's death. Has it been handled any differently this time around than in the past?


Tuesday, July 26 2011

Are These the New Faces of Classic Rock?

Pick an established classic rock band which celebrated its heyday in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. The group stubbornly refuses to hang it up. They just need a new frontman.


Sunday, June 19 2011

Waxing Nostalgic: The Mantras of the Music Geek

Four music geeks reunite to reminisce over their college days in the late '80s. Bold mantras about what's wrong with today's music ensue.


Monday, May 23 2011

Is ‘Glee’ the New Elvis, Really?

There's all this buzz that Glee has passed Elvis Presley for the most Hot 100 hits in history. But does this really put that two-year old show on the same level as the King of Rock 'n' Roll? Really?


Sunday, April 17 2011

Modern-Indie-College-Alternative Rock for Hipsters (MICAH for Short)

Here's your introduction to MICAH rock, my admittedly cheesy acronym for music that has, at one time or another, been defined as modern, indie, college, alternative, and hipster music.


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