Twenty-nine years ago today, the world lost one of its greatest influences when Lennon was shot four times in the back at the entrance of his apartment building in New York City. His death came one month after the release of his last album Double Fantasy. The album would go on to win a Grammy Award in 1981 for Album of the Year. A toast to John Lennon, his art, messages, ideas and achievements.
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Taking Back Sunday make music for the mall-going masses and as such, they take their critical lumps. They’re not indie, they’re not obscure, they have a camera-ready lead singer and take up lots of rack space at Hot Topic. Anathema to lots of us PopMatters readers.
But don’t hate them because they’re beautiful. They also made one of the catchiest songs of 2009, the year that marked their tenth anniversary of slogging it out in tour vans and playing their hearts out all over the country and beyond. Give these guys a chance, and the infectious guitars and irresistible handclaps of “Sink Into Me” just might hook you in.
Using nothing but background sounds from the original Night of the Living Dead, 400 Lonely Things made one of the most atmospheric and engrossing albums of the year with Tonight of the Living Dead. Here’s the first video from the project, for “Tonight”:
Bishop Allen has perfected the art of crafting pop music that’s devoid of everything people hate about pop music. The hooks are catchy without being cloying. The music is simple without seeming insignificant or full of fluff and filler. The lyrics are witty and occasionally engage in wordplay, but the songs are not smug or too brainy. The songs are bright and sparkly without being just plain annoying. The wagon-train feel of “Oklahoma”, like a westward expedition, moves everyone along at a sprightly pace. When it finally builds to its chorus’ chanting of “oh oh oh”, you’re fully immersed in the journey, and it’s hard to stop yourself from singing along. Marisa LaScala
Always distinguished by the relative quality of their shameless borrowings, Coldplay stole a march from Abbey Road for their fourth -– and best –- album, and adapted the spirit of “Here Comes the Sun” into this pristinely nostalgic ditty. Jonny Buckland’s guitar lead melds seamlessly into the subtle percussion and rhythmic backing strings as Chris Martin muses on endless summers lost. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the music video mixes amazing visual innovation with sheer silliness (Superhero Martin matches wits with a giant squirrel), but even without the attendant eye-candy, this song positively glows. Ross Langager
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