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by Jonas Jacobs

11 Feb 2010

I remember looking through a friend’s Rolling Stone as a freshman in college. It was the issue that touted the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. Being a list fiend and a music geek, I devoured the list, skimming through 500 - 101. The top 100 was what I really cared about. Hell, the Top 25 was I all I really cared about. I wanted to make sure I had every one in my music library so I could make my own iTunes playlist based on the Rolling Stone list. 

There were a few songs I didn’t have, so I bought them on iTunes to complete my playlist. However, there was one song I didn’t own that I was completely blown away by and that was #12, Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”. For some odd reason, I had NEVER heard the song until 2005, when the list came out. The first time I did hear it, in my stuffy college dorm room, I was nearly moved to tears. Since then, the song seems to have become a staple of American cultural literacy. President Obama even referred to the song directly in a speech after he was elected as President of the United States in 2008, saying “It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, change has come to America.”

Below are various versions of the song, in chronological order. First, Sam Cooke’s original recording, released after his death in 1964. Otis Redding included the song as “Change Gonna Come” on his 1965 album Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul. In 1971, Chicago underground soul legend Baby Huey recorded his version of the song that was released posthumously in 1971 on The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend.

by PopMatters Staff

11 Feb 2010

The Wire routinely made our TV top 10 lists year after year while it was on the air and it’s one of the shows we most miss. Here’s a nifty little video that condenses the history of the show into a little five-minute view.

by Jennifer Cooke

11 Feb 2010

The Electric Pop Group
Released: 2 February

I’ve been watching a lot of 1970s Pippi Longstocking movies lately. I adored them as a kid, and now I’ve managed to finagle my own children into loving the little ginger moppet with the big shoes and the bad dubbing. Funny thing is, after spending so much time back at Villa Villekulla, I find myself hankering to hear stuff like the Lucksmiths, the Vaselines, the Housemartins. In short, Pippi makes me wanna get my twee on. I can think of no better way to get your twee on today than Sweden’s own Electric Pop Group. The brothers Aamot sound like they are fresh from the Villa Villekula, with those wistful vocals and shimmery, jangly guitars. Their newest album, Seconds, is now available on Matinee Recordings.

01 Not By Another
02 Out of Sight
03 I Know I Will
04 Drawing Lines
05 My Only Inspiration
06 In The Back of My Mind
07 The Way It Used to Do
08 Into Thin Air
09 We Never Made Up Our Minds
10 The Best of Times

“Not By Another” [MP3]

“The Way It Used to Do” [MP3]

by Jonas Jacobs

10 Feb 2010

“I Shall Be Released” is an iconic, universal anthem. It’s been covered by everyone under the sun, from Nina Simone to the Deftones. Below I’ve included several variations on the tune, starting of course with Bob Dylan’s original 1967 version from The Basement Tapes. Dylan’s original (where he is joined by the Band) is followed by the Band’s own rendition from their 1968 classic Music From Big Pink. It’s set to a socially motivated Vietnam YouTube video. The British Beatlesesque outfit, the Tremeloes, recorded their own version of the tune, which reached number 29 on the UK charts. 

Nina Simone’s take on the song is from her 1969 album To Love Somebody. I also had to include a 1969 version from the Mama Cass television program featuring the Mama herself, Joni Mitchell and Mary Travers. Joan Baez’s live performance of the song at Sing Sing Prison in 1972 follows.

by Sarah Zupko

10 Feb 2010

Apparently the UK pub scene is a frightful place because the British ad firm Design Bridge has just designed a new pint glass which is touted to be “safe” in the bars. In other words, they can’t be handily turned into weapons with a swift crack of the glass. Reportedly a resin will hold the glass together even if it breaks. Something tells me football hooligans will still find a way to beat on each other. (via Fast Company)

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article