Stephen Wyatt: Twenty years later, Low still travels at the speed of silence, utilizing time and space as instruments equally worthy of their otherworldly harmonies. Mimi Parker delivers moments of peace in whispers on “Into You” and explodes over the classically-formed minimalism Alan Sparkhawk constructed during in the era of grunge. Even today Low sounds more like an antidote to overproduced pop and EDM. The sparse electronics carefully instruct today’s musicians about how the less-is-more philosophy still reigns as pop music’s perfect prescription. [9/10]
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Ian King: Coldplay were compelling back when Chris Martin was a middle class college student who wanted to be Jeff Buckley and sang nonsense about how making friends in wooden houses is easy. Somewhere after the last interesting gasps of Viva La Vida, the band seems to have outsourced all creative decision making to Max Martin and a panel of Coca-Cola executives. “I’m feeling drunk and high”? To think that X&Y seemed like a low point at the time. At least Martin can still hit those nice falsetto notes. The best way to honor the memory of what Coldplay used to be is to pretend you never saw this and go give Parachutes a spin instead. [2/10]
Last year’s Super Bowl, with over 120 million viewers, was the most-watched event in the history of television. In recent years, the big game has expanded into a sort of non-denominational holiday, in which there’s something for nearly everybody. But how did this year’s game, the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, fare? Read on to find out.
CBS’ coverage began at 1 PM CST with “Super Bowl Today”, their name for four hours of interviews, sportscaster analysis, trivia, and occasional on-field musical performances from artists as diverse as Sam Hunt and Seal.
This past Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, but the popularity of the Super Bowl ad—a memorable, attention-grabbing commercial that advertisers pay massive amounts of money for—is a relatively recent phenomenon.
You could easily say that this year’s offerings were among the worst yet, with too many ad-makers cobbling together the same cliches of past successes (celebrity cameos, major special effects, cute animals, etc.) in ways that felt unoriginal and boring.
Still there were some commercials that probably put a smile on your face, so here is PopMatters countdown of the five best in show.
Stephen Wyatt: The ghost of Otis Redding lurks in Leon Bridges’ “River” as the song opens, a haunting and visceral reflection on the pains of sin. Bridges laments, “Take me in your smooth waters / I go in / As a man with many cuts / As my sins flow down in the Jordan” as the chorus soars and the collection of voices echoing the ethos of negro spirituals. The song yields to Bridges’ voice and guitar, which exemplifies the power of stripped-down production and evades studio trickery. Heaven’s hymn spoken in a language often taken for granted by the throngs of contemporary R&B artists, Bridges resurrects the past in a language both refined and timeless. [10/10]