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Monday, Apr 6, 2015
March was dominated by great K-pop tracks from female artists, rookie groups, and veterans alike.

For January and February’s round-ups, we focused on the shift towards serious and dramatic K-pop that’s occurred. After the rocky year the industry had in 2014, it was to be expected that so many artists were turning towards introspection. Well, it’s seemed to have worn off. March essentially returns to status quo for K-pop: bright colors, killer hooks, and tons of fun. But it was also a month dominated by female artists. Typically, I try to strike a balance in the round-ups between male and female artists, but March has seen an overwhelming amount of incredible music by female idols and groups, such that it seemed impossible to leave any of them out. Sorry boys, maybe next month.


Tagged as: k-pop, korea
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Friday, Apr 3, 2015
Where is the ritual? And tell me where, where is the taste? Someday there'll be the 2022 most acclaimed album of all time. That's the day I throw my drugs away. An underrated 1990s masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: Over the past couple of years, we have had some in-depth conversations about music from the 1990s. It usually goes something like this; Me: “Hey, Klinger, remember this band?” You: “I hate the 1990s.” If you throw that little dialogue into a Boggle shaker you could possibly come up with my opinion about most bands from the 1960s. And yet, knowing what we know about each other, we still persist in testing the other’s limits. This week, I dug a little deeper, found something a little different. A power trio from the 1990s made up of a bassist, a saxophonist and a drummer—if you guessed Morphine and their 1993 record Cure for Pain, you would be right.


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Thursday, Apr 2, 2015
This week in metal, Nightwish remains as grandiose as ever, and the album of the week features Norwegian teens playing surprisingly orthodox '80s thrash.

The longer that the Finnish symphonic metal act Nightwish goes on, the more apparent it becomes that this isn’t so much a band than a vehicle for keyboardist/composer Tuomas Holopainen’s massive ego. This project is far too dysfunctional to be called a “band”: when your last four albums feature three different lead singers, you have a chemistry problem. Bigger, though, is Holopainen’s inability to work with a singer who is strong-willed. This is ironic because this pioneering band, which has always built its music around an operatic diva of a lead singer, can’t handle it when said diva becomes more assertive and wants to have a bigger say in the creative process. Holopainen, always garishly performing with his comically lavish “look at me” keyboard set-up and wearing a top hat, wants an employee not a frontwoman, and heaven help any woman who dares to think she’s the focal point. Beloved, groundbreaking singer Tarja Turunen starts to think for herself? Fired publicly via open letter. Her successor Anette Olzon dared to inconvenience the musicians by becoming pregnant—those poor boys—and spoke her mind, and was unceremoniously fired in the middle of a North American tour. Basically, if you’re a strong-willed woman, life in Nightwish is guaranteed to be pure hell.


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Wednesday, Apr 1, 2015
Episode 10 of Pop Unmuted looks at legendary pop producer/songwriter Max Martin, his 30 year career, and his latest hit with Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do."

Pop Unmuted is a podcast dedicated to in-depth discussion of pop music from varying critical and academic perspectives. On Episode 10, Scott Interrante and Kurt Trowbridge are joined by Melbourne, Australia-based pop podcaster Daniel Gregg and Music Theory PhD candidate Megan Lavengood to talk about legendary pop producer and songwriter Max Martin. We then delve deeper into his most recent hit, Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do”, and close with a special Max Martin themed Unmuted Pop Songs segment.


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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015
John Moreland just cannot write a happy song. That's not a critic's assessment: he says so himself.

John Moreland has a cult following, as he should. I was late to the party, but first got to know him through the 2013 online music festival Couch By Couchwest. Country Fried Rock finally featured him in early 2014, as he was planning his next album, High on Tulsa Heat, now being released this spring via Thirty Tigers.


His previous record, In the Throes, is one of the most gut-wrenching records we have featured, and Moreland’s live performances wring more emotion from a voice and guitar than seems humanly possible. Go ahead and pre-order the album now, and maybe a box of Kleenex. As Moreland says, “I just can’t write happy songs.”


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