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Latest Blog Posts

by Rob Horning

10 Nov 2009

Nicholas Carr linked to Duran Duran bassist John Taylor’s essay (!) for the BBC about how the internet changes music consumption. He relates a story about seeing Roxy Music on television in 1972 and riding his bike for miles to go to a shop where he could buy the record.

We had no video recorders, and of course there was no YouTube. There was no way whatsoever that I could watch that appearance again, however badly I wanted to. And the power of that restriction was enormous…. The power of that single television appearance created such pressure, such magnetism, that I got sucked in and I had to respond as I know now previous generations had responded to Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan show, or The Beatles, or Jimi Hendrix. I believe there’s immense power in restriction and holding back.

The moral is familiar: On-demand culture deprives cultural-industry product of its aura, and consumers are left with a shallow and superficial relation to it. That seems to sell the power of the product itself somewhat short—if the songs are really good, the aura artificially secured by restricted access presumably shouldn’t matter to our aesthetic response. The would-be John Taylors of today should be listening to “Virginia Plain” over and over again despite downloading it. As he points out, the internet can free us from the tyranny of what’s popular now and let us discover and become obsessed with culture from a diverse range of eras and locales.

by Tyler Gould

10 Nov 2009

This version of “Keep Me in the Dark” is from Take Me Round Again, a digital-only re-imagining of the Furnaces’ excellent I’m Going Away, based at least in part on fan descriptions of the album before it came out. This alternative universe album is out right now on Thrill Jockey.

The Fiery Furnaces
Keep Me in the Dark (Eleanor Friedberger version) [MP3]
     

by Tyler Gould

10 Nov 2009

After helping yourself to the smattering of Please Please Me videos below, why not dig into our feature on all their early albums?

PopMatters will be featuring the Beatles all week, so dive right in and plan on losing a couple hours.

by Katharine Wray

10 Nov 2009

25 years ago this week: Madonna’s sophomore album, Like A Virgin came out and delivered hits “Like A Virgin”, “Material Girl”, and “Dress You Up”, along with plenty of controversy to go with its 21 million copies sold.

“Like A Virgin”

 

by Jason Gross

10 Nov 2009

People don’t listen to the radio or buy CD’s and mostly listen to music on computers now.  Or so we think.  Actually, a new Nielsen study (quoted in Billboard) says that’s bullshit.  Young people are even buying CD’s and listening them much more than iPods.  All of which doesn’t necessarily mean good news as the market for physical product is still shrinking.  But it’s nice to have a reality check like this every now and then about the state of the biz to correct some misconceptions.

//Mixed media