Recent Features
To Lefty to Willie to Phossy with Love

Even in railing against the influence of another, the musician must admit that influence and its inescapability. Like Br’er Rabbit and the tar baby, every blow struck just brings the two closer together.

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Prince’s Anxiety of Influence and ‘Purple Rain’ in the Context of ‘80s Pop Music

Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence notes how that we often attribute artistic success to being able to reconstruct our influences to create something unique, yet, as we all know, it's much more complex than that. Analyzing similar conceptual ground covered by the Police and Michael Jackson prior to Purple Rain, James Fleming dissects Prince's reaction to these other artists landmark songs, and how he was able to manifest these other pop monoliths into his own, reactionary style.

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“The Minneapolis Sound”

Purple Rain showed "The Kid" and Morris Day fighting for control of the same club in Minneapolis, with artists like Dez Dickerson and Apollonia 6 trying to get their own share of stage time as well. The film perpetuated the notion of "the Minneapolis sound", synth-based funk workouts that featured artists like Vanity 6, The Family, The Time, and several more -- the irony, of course, being that all of their songs were written, performed, and produced by Prince.

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Clone Wars: Jim Rome’s World Within a World

Most sports radio is the intellectual equivalent of listening to static -- it's as illuminating as it is predictable.

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The Importance of Being Morris: Fop vs. Fop and Duality in Purple Rain

In both Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge, "The Kid" is pitted against Morris Day in a battle for artistic and commercial supremacy in the Minneapolis club scene. Lana Cooper digs deeper than that, though, showing that the characters are not too dissimilar, examining the psychological implications of both leads actions in these films, rife with business-minded headgames and personal attacks through pop music.

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Songwriting and Social Activism: An Interview With Nellie McKay

"If you keep your opinions and knowledge to yourself, it doesn’t change anything." McKay talks to PopMatters about her current projects, social activism, and philosophy of life in general.

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Punk’s Purple Passion

Bill Gibron was a true-blooded punk-rocker, him and a group of friends scoring gigs at the WFSU radio station and blowing the minds of the squares who didn't know their Sex Pistols from their U2. Yet somehow, the music of a small soul artist from Minneapolis wound up not only changing their lives, but wound up being championed by them as well, climaxing in a fiery performance during the 1999 tour, when, in two swift hours, racial divides were completely eradicated by the all-knowing power of modern funk.

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Is the ‘New York Times’ Tracking Porn Sales Now?

That “comics” persists in connoting “pulp” and “graphic novels” implies something “literary” is purely a matter of convention, and is not because those are the inherent meanings or implications of the terms.

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Baby, He’s a Star: Prince’s Life in Film

Prince's films struggled with several issues, yet the most prominent theme with most of his work was walking that line between credibility and commercialism, turning away from greed in order to embrace his inner artist (which, in Purple Rain's case, is all the more ironic, given that it made him a commercial blockbuster).

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20 Questions: Dave Wakeling

Dave Wakeling, founding member, lead vocalist and songwriter for the legendary ska band, the English Beat, is recording and touring extensively these days. Catch up with Wakeling here on 20 Questions.

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The Beautiful One: Prince and the Fashion of Purple Rain

Some people say that Purple Rain cemented Prince's image because of its music. Christel Loar argues it was that ruffled white shirt. In a personal tale, Loar shows us just how the influential fashion of Purple Rain defined herself and her friends, and what lessons a piece of big mainstream entertainment can teach us all.

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I’m in UR Culture, Rewriting UR Bible…

The outrageous and mysterious popularity of LOLCats has provided an updated take on the personification of cats, as well as a bizarre new translation of the Bible.

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A Track-by-Track Rundown of ‘Purple Rain’

Looking at Purple Rain one song at a time, we uncover a lot of what made this album tick, an expertly paced pop-music masterpiece about love, relationships, and voyeuristic women waiting in hotel lobbies ...

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Something Wrong with the Machinery: Prince’s Pop Paradox

When Jason Buel was in a rock-band called the Royals, he played some shows to metalheads and was met with indifference. When the band broke out a cover of "Computer Blue", however, everyone noticed. Here, Buel takes us on a journey into what precisely made Prince a figure that could transcend genres so easily, and why his songs are just so ripe for covering.

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Depression 2.0: Sunday in Kerouac Alley

Scott Thorson rang, flat broke and disabled, in chronic, horrendous pain from a botched murder attempt and an even more botched plastic surgery, hoping that I would serve as his conduit for another lucrative laundry airing.

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The Future is an Empty Room

As digital technology consolidates its conquest of the known universe, emptying our living spaces and assimilating our lives, all that will be left in our future is space. Lots and lots of empty space.

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Atlanta Fire: An Interview with Black Lips

Jared Swilley says his band's only trying to have some fun, but things don't always work out that way.

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Independent Film Festival of Boston 2009

A perfect occasion to get drunk on film, to fall in love with the movies, to reassert the primacy of film as the last central universal art form.

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27 May 2009 // 9:00 PM

King’s Quest VI

Sixteen years after its release, King's Quest VI it is still one of the high water marks of the adventure game genre.

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La Grande Bouffe & Tales of Ordinary Madness

La Grande Bouffe and Tales of Ordinary Madness are products of a dark worldview. Neither offers solutions about how to improve a disintegrating society.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

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