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Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015
In honor of a new year, here is a list of songs that can help nudge even the idlest of souls off the couch in 2015.

It’s always nice to think that if you had a lackluster 2014, you can wipe the slate clean in 2015. A new year means a new chance to do all the things you wanted to do in 2014, but didn’t get around to. However, by the end of January, the gyms are already emptying out. Perhaps the key to making changes in the new year is to not get overwhelmed by taking on too much. As Martin Luther King once wrote: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” This is good advice for those of us who have already given up our New Years resolutions or haven’t made them at all because they seem like a waste of time or too much trouble.


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Friday, Jan 9, 2015
Jenny said when she was just five years old there was nothing going down at all. Then one fine morning she heard the 220th most acclaimed album of all time. The Velvet's 1970 swan song is this week's Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: I’m not going to lie, Klinger. Of all the Velvet Underground records, I like Loaded the most. I know its not the hip choice. It isn’t the groundbreaking, Warholian debut with Nico, it isn’t the well-regarded self-titled change of pace, it isn’t even the dirty fuzz box of White Light/White Heat. But Loaded excels where all those other albums failed — it brings the hits. They could have called it The Velvet Underground Sells Out. I would still buy a copy. Why? Because Lou Reed was one of the finest rock songwriters of his generation. He had the ability to marry the warm sensibility of pop music — the hooks, the undeniable beat — with an undercurrent of seediness, the vague, foul odor of rock and roll. Loaded is at once happy and subversive. It’s the album I would expect Reed to write when pressed by the record label to bring the hits, which is what they did. Whenever I drop the needle on this record, I’m greeted by “Who Loves the Sun”, and the mental image of the Velvet Underground banging out this pretty little ditty while Lou Reed just stands on stage, scowling at the audience and flipping the bird.


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Wednesday, Jan 7, 2015
Despite the detractors who insist that she gives it up, Madonna is determined to dominate the cultural conversation once again.

Madonna is making headlines again, and for the first time in two years, the topic of conversation is her music.


Over the past few weeks, demos of her latest songs have leaked into the Internet, forcing the pop star to think practically about her next move. In a seemingly desperate decision, Madonna made six finished tracks available to digitally download on 20 December 2014, and announced that her 13th studio album Rebel Heart, scheduled to be released on 10 March 2015, would come with 13 additional tracks.


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Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014
On Episode 7 of Pop Unmuted, we talk about women in pop music in 2014, covering Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and some of our personal favorite moments.

Pop Unmuted is a podcast dedicated to the in-depth discussion of pop music from varying critical and academic perspectives. For the final episode of Pop Unmuted in 2014, Scott Interrante and Kurt Trowbridge are joined by PhD Music Theory student Taylor Myers and Music Theory Master’s student Aurora Montgomery to talk about women in pop in 2014. We talk Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and some of our own personal favorite moments of women in pop.


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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
They say the 235th most acclaimed album of all time gets off on frustration, but I know you've got an explanation. The 1981 debut from a power-pop legend is this week's Counterbalance. Bad reputation? Not hardly.

Klinger: A few weeks ago, when we were talking about the Violent Femmes, I mentioned my admiration for the dB’s, a group that is, both figuratively and literally, the missing link between the proto-power pop of Big Star and the college rock of R.E.M. I did a little checking over at the Acclaimed Music site, the wellspring of the Great List and our statistical overlord these past four years, and lo and behold their first album, 1981’s Stands for Decibels, is still hanging in there at No. 2355. In the next few years, I suspect it will drop off, as newer, shinier objects capture the critical imagination and these relatively obscure pioneers drop even further off the cultural radar, so I’d like to take a moment to sing the praises of an eminently worthy album (and band) while I have the chance.


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