Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
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Friday, Mar 13, 2015
One pill makes you larger, one pill makes you small, and the 179th most acclaimed album is this week's Counterbalance. Remember what the dormouse said: Feed your head with a 1967 psychedelic classic.

Klinger: It’s hard to imagine now, what with the thick tie-dye blanket of sameness that’s been cast over everything to come from the 1960s (or as it’s more frequently known, The Sixties, man…), but there used to be a fairly bitter rivalry between the San Francisco music scene and their counterparts in Los Angeles. San Francisco viewed the L.A. as opportunistic dilettantes, co-opting and commercializing their far-out hippie dream. L.A. on the other hand, really didn’t care one way or the other, because L.A. Come to think of it, that’s not really much of a rivalry at all.


Either way, now that the dust has settled it seems that history has been marginally kinder to the SoCal scene. After all, the Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow marks the first appearance of a 1960s San Francisco band on the Great List — it clocks in at a respectable No. 179 but still lags well behind L.A. groups like the Doors and Love (but still ahead of the Byrds, which I think is the silliest part of this whole discussion).


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Thursday, Mar 12, 2015
No matter how much one dislikes "Blurred Lines", it's hard to see how the victory of the Gaye estate will be beneficial to artists in the future.

Despite any personal opinions or beliefs one may have about the controversial 2013 hit, music fans have to realize that the verdict reached in this week’s case regarding the similarities of Robin Thicke’s number one single “Blurred Lines” to the classic Marvin Gaye track “Got To Give It Up Pt. 1” is reckless, misguided, and above all just an absolute mistake. The influence of Gaye’s song in “Blurred Lines” is evident, and has been publicly admitted without hesitance by the song’s authors Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke. The fact that “Give it Up” inspired “Blurred Lines” is not up for debate, but it’s ultimately not the issue at hand.


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Thursday, Mar 12, 2015
An essential Judas Priest reissue reminds us that when it comes to metal, they really don't play it like they used to.

If you’re in your teens or 20s and scoff at all the shameless nostalgia by Generation X and the Baby Boomers, just you wait—it’ll get you soon enough. Nostalgia’s a powerful and irresistible thing. If you’re a music writer in your 40s continually sifting through new music whose quality can often be described as questionable at best, all it takes is an announcement of a deluxe reissue of an album from your adolescence to get that old excitement back. I’ll just come out and state that tired old line: “They don’t make music like they used to”, and you can bet you’ll be spouting the same line once you hit middle age, too.


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Tuesday, Mar 10, 2015
Lured by the history of the music scene and revered venues, Lee Gallagher has embodied his new music home in San Francisco.

Lee Gallagher inhales the Bay area of California, making it part of who he is musically. After a few years in the area, Gallagher appreciates its history and vibe even more than when he was a Midwestern kid seeking something other than cornfields. He is not jaded about his roots, though, rather, he takes the indie roots rock foundation and filters it through his newer psychedelic surroundings. With two recent albums that deserve a listen, Gallagher shares his appreciation for his new home region and musicians.


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Monday, Mar 9, 2015
Berkeley and Bakersfield are only separated by 250 miles, but David Lowery, one of the busiest men in the music industry, tells PopMatters how the drive runs right through the center of his long career.

The seminal country outfit Cracker has always been a band apart. At the height of its success in the mid ‘90s, Cracker was a major label darling whose first release sold 200,000 units. This may not seem like much in age when outsiders regularly saturate the digital airwaves, but it was a pretty significant accomplishment back in the days of record company totalitarianism. Although lumped into the homogenous “alternative” genre, Cracker’s backstory never really fit the same mold as its peers like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, or the Smashing Pumpkins. Typified by heavy, driving rhythms and soaring metal leads, that lot preferred the same post-ironic fashion and the lyrical subject of a sensitive punker’s high-school diary.


But Cracker? Well Cracker was always closer to snake-skins than Doc Martens or Chuck T’s.  And while the blanket lead on radio favorite “Low” owed something to the hook driven strategy initiated by the Pixie’s “Where is My Mind?” and perfected by Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Cracker’s lyrical content is significantly more airy. Whether meta-critical of the industry in their popular hit “Teen Angst”, or the early 90’s lifestyle consciousness on “Get Off This”, or the eight minute epic “Euro Trash Girl”, Cracker possesses the hip and humorous verbal acrobatics of groups like the Dandy Warhols or T-Rex.


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