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


Thursday, December 11 2003

Better Times: Remembering Jonathan Brandis

It's unclear how comfortable Brandis was with the 'former teen idol' label, and to what degree that label affected his choice to take his own life.

Tuesday, December 9 2003

Let Us Get Together Right Down Here

The only introduction to the blues could be anthology. For while Charley Patton's drunken thumping is the heart of it all for some, Robert Johnson's sweet devil music is the only embodiment others will accept. But what are either of these greats without the religious bass of a commanding Son House, a life-loving Willie Dixon, the innovating tradition personified in the bear of a man named McKinley Morganfield but baptized Muddy Waters?

Thursday, December 4 2003

Systems and Stereotypes

Any game that has players choosing among a malt liquor bottle, a basketball, or an Uzi for playing pieces is certainly harmful.

Monday, November 24 2003

Why Hypocrisy Matters

Where Goldberg and Coulter see failed idealists, I can't help but see people wielding beliefs like bludgeons that they'll gladly drop once the bloodwork is done.

Reconsidering Let It Be

One of the things that strikes me about this album 33 years after its release and nearly 35 after its recording is that despite it being one of the weaker Beatle efforts, it stands above so much else recorded by so many other lesser bands across the years.

Getting Back

The convoluted events of January 1969 continue to echo as some of the most dramatic and least understood moments in the Beatles' mind-bogglingly successful career. And no album is more associated with the group's breakup than Let It Be.

Thursday, November 20 2003

Behind the Velvet Curtain

If the films shown at the New Czech Film Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music are any indication, to this day Czechoslovakia is a country of dueling emotions and opposite impulses.

Wednesday, November 19 2003

. . . And Bless the Mic for the Gods: Rakim Allah

When Greg Tate published his groundbreaking essay 'Diary of a Bug' the first 'text' he took up was none other than Rakim Allah, the Poet Laureate of the Hip-Hop Nation. Indeed there's never been a hip-hop artist who deserved top-shelf scholarly love from the camp of the Blackademe Niggeratti more than Rakim.

Thursday, November 13 2003

Farewell, Norton: Art Carney (1918-2003)

May he greet his maker with the kind of epigrammatic simplicity with which Norton once addressed a golf ball, 'Hello ball.'

Wednesday, November 12 2003

Using Language Against Itself: An Interview with Robbie Conal, ArtBurn

You’ve seen them. Garish black and white caricatures of Real Important white guys (OK, sometimes a couple black ones) in their suits, smart-ass wordplay

CMJ Music Marathon: Do It Yourself (And With the Help of Your Licensing, Marketing and Publicity Tea

Associate Concert Editor Christine Di Bella takes a look back at what CMJ really had to offer its participants -- and the answer might be a redefinition of the DIY ethos.

Wednesday, November 5 2003

Burying Lester Bangs

Dead at 33, Bangs has risen, Christ-like, from the pens and keyboards of hundreds or maybe thousands (what feels like millions) of rock scribes from sea to shining sea, all spewing their paltry imitations of Bangs's 'speedflight wordsperm bullshit.'

Monday, November 3 2003

The Tortured Soul of Marvin Gaye and R. Kelly

R. Kelly is no Marvin Gaye, nor should he be. But R. Kelly is a Soul Man, who seemingly for lack of any other recourse, has chosen to share his demons with us through his music as so many tortured Soul Men of the past have.

Tuesday, October 28 2003

Elliott Smith: 1969-2003

Smith wrote beautiful, brutally honest and touching music, but his songs were most effective while he was still among the living. In the end, he didn't cheat death; he only cheated us.

Elliott Smith: A Fond Farewell

Elliott Smith's art was an articulation of his soul -- his 'figurative self', if you prefer -- coming to terms with its inherently, inescapably flawed corporeal frame. This inner turmoil made for great music. And in the end, it probably killed him.

Monday, October 27 2003

CMJ Music Marathon: Day Four: Sick of Rock

Can rock and roll make you sick? And should we want it to? Day four of PopMatters CMJ Festival coverage.

CMJ Music Marathon: Day Three: Where My Girls At?

Day Three's coverage of CMJ seeks to find out where the girls are.

Friday, October 24 2003

Dizzee Rascal: The End of Garage’s Beginning

Like The Streets' Mike Skinner, Dizzee approaches UK Garage with a seriousness that elevates it from dancefloor juice to art. On 'Boy in Da Corner', he uses garage as the jumping off point for an ear-bending journey through the music of fin-de-siecle African diaspora, in much the same way Tricky used UK dance music 10 years ago on 'Maxinquaye'.

CMJ Music Marathon: Day Two: Revenge of the Singer/Songwriter

More coverage of Day Two, including run-ins with the sensitive side of CMJ.

CMJ Music Marathon: Days One and Two: CMJ on the Free

Strapped for cash? Day two of our CMJ coverage is a lesson in doing the festival on the cheap.

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