Recent Features
When Is Art Beautiful? When Is It Just Boring?

To paraphrase art critic Peter Schjeldahl, beauty is a kind of action and reaction between the work and the viewer, or the listener, or the reader. Beauty happens.

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Hangin’ Loose: Exploring British Soul in the Music of Loose Ends

Loose Ends cultivated an art in supreme sophistication with their groundbreaking experiments in British soul and R&B during the '80s. Decades later, their music remains as potent as it was when it first graced the airwaves and clubs of both the UK and US.

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“At the Service of the Song”: A Conversation with Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo speaks with conviction and humour about the major issues that drive her, such as the promotion of African music, the education of women, and our shared destiny as a people.

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A No-Nonsense Agenda for the Left

The authors of Inventing the Future ask: why think local, when there’s a world to win?

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The New Faith of Kendrick Lamar: Dramatic Unity in ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’

Lamar's story is more that just a personal statement or expression; it seeks to bring light into a city corrupted by darkness.

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Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: An Interview With Dave Stewart

With his new memoir Sweet Dreams Are Made of This in mind, Stewart joins PopMatters for an in-depth discussion about his new book and his influential catalog of music.

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Bruce Springsteen, ‘The Ties That Bind’, the Working Class, and Authenticity

As we use the term today, authenticity allows no truth from art, only from artists. It visits art the way one visits a subway station or an airport: to get to somewhere else.

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Rock Pioneer Lloyd Price Has a Couple of Stories to Tell

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and rock pioneer Lloyd Price’s life has been much more interesting than yours or mine, from writing hits with Fats Domino to playing an influential role in the Rumble in the Jungle. Yet Price still has many more yarns to spin even now.

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As Al Jazeera America Dies, the News Dies, Again: An Open Letter to the Liberal Media

Liberal-leaning American TV news is hopelessly lost in a Manichean tug-of-war with right-wing infotainment.

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Fame, Faith, and a Meaningful Life: An Interview With Ruth Pointer

Why is Ruth Pointer so excited? Her new memoir celebrates three decades of sobriety and a lifetime of survival.

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Buried Bowie: 25 Deep Cuts

For all of the imagery that dominated the religiosity of Bowie  --  the fashion, the characters, the hairstyles --  what matters most are the songs. Here are 25 killer deep-cut Bowie originals, album by album.

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29 Jan 2016 // 2:45 AM

Our Insatiable Techno Zombie Love

The popularity of zombies indicates that powerful techno-social forces have ramped up our fear of joining -- or just being surrounded by -- George A. Romero’s mindless zombie herd.

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Christianity’s Crisis in Medieval Japan Says a Lot About Cultural Dialogue Today

Shusaku Endo’s classic novel of faith, doubt, and intercultural communication, Silence, readies itself for a timely big-screen debut by Director Martin Scorsese.

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Kayaktivists’ Colorful and Effective Protests in 2015

The most elaborately staged spectacle of 2015 was performed by the “kayaktivists”, a group of environmentalists that successfully stopped oil giant Royal Dutch Shell from drilling in the Arctic.

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28 Jan 2016 // 2:00 AM

How Sia Kept Breathing and Became a Formalist

Although there are for Sia 1,000 forms of fear, if you will, there are only two formal conventions in her manual of pop songwriting.

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Anthropology’s Storyteller-Shaman-Sorcerer Strikes Again With ‘The Corn Wolf’

Michael Taussig’s work both attracts and angers other anthropologists. It also re-enchants a discipline that is in desperate need of it.

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You Don’t Have to Be Dissident: Stephen Coates on Late Russian Composer Mikael Tariverdiev

This is the story of how a British musician stumbled upon one of the most prolific Russian composers of the last century and became determined to bring his music to a new audience.

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Eleanor Friedberger Channels Her Inner ‘70s for ‘New View’

The Fiery Furnaces’ member Eleanor Friedberger talks to PopMatters about her sublime third solo record.

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From Yugoslavia to South India: The Rise of Tamil Turbo-folk

Like its Serbian counterpart, Tamil Turbo-folk masquerades as ethno-nationalist resistance against the dislocations brought to bear by nation building, liberalization, and globalization.

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Tori Amos’ ‘Boys for Pele’: 20 Years of Fire

It’s been 20 years since Tori Amos slammed down the gauntlet and set her piano afire, willing and possibly eager to sacrifice anyone who spurned her to writhe in Pele’s eternal flames.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Beyoncé and When Music Writing Becomes Activism

// Sound Affects

"The overall response to Beyoncé's "Formation" has been startlingly positive, but mostly for reasons attached to political agendas. It's time to investigate this trend.

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