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Thursday, September 2 2004

The Fate of the Album

Music critics have been bemoaning the death of the album format ever since the heyday of Napster, and the subsequent dawn of music related digital technology in the late 1990s. The music staff at PopMatters have put their collective heads together and compiled a list of albums released since January 1, 2000 to illustrate the continued relevance of the long-play format. The death of the album has been greatly exaggerated.


The Fate of the Album

Music critics have been bemoaning the death of the album format ever since the heyday of Napster, and the subsequent dawn of music related digital technology in the late 1990s. The music staff at PopMatters have put their collective heads together and compiled a list of albums released since January 1, 2000 to illustrate the continued relevance of the long-play format. The death of the album has been greatly exaggerated.


The Fate of the Album

Music critics have been bemoaning the death of the album format ever since the heyday of Napster, and the subsequent dawn of music related digital technology in the late 1990s. The music staff at PopMatters have put their collective heads together and compiled a list of albums released since January 1, 2000 to illustrate the continued relevance of the long-play format. The death of the album has been greatly exaggerated.


Wednesday, August 25 2004

Live From Planet Soul

Donny Hathaway and Laura Nyro were both products of an era when Soul music had a transformative power and These Songs for You, Live! and Spread Your Wings and Fly capture their singular talents in the context most befitting of their power as artists and spiritual beings.


Tuesday, August 10 2004

Remembering Rick James

While the untimely passing of musicians is always painful, the loss of Rick James is particularly troubling; not simply because he was a rare talent, but more so because he is destined to be remembered for the wrong reasons.


Friday, August 6 2004

The Wilco You Weren’t Supposed to Hear

At a relaxed distance, in a part of the country where Wilco seldom travels, I can play dumb to all that fan chatter and, taking a cue from John Crowe Ransom, use a little 'formal criticism' to evaluate the 'Demos' in their own context.


Wednesday, July 28 2004

How Hip-Hop Music Is Slowly Transcending Its Circular Culture

If it is to stand any chance of representing a people, then hip-hop must be allowed that most fundamental of human compulsions: to grow, to transcend its own limitations, to change.


Wednesday, July 14 2004

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Your band has released not just its career-defining album, but a record that will undoubtedly go down as one of the decade's artistic hallmarks. The world is your oyster and then, A Ghost Is Born.


Friday, July 9 2004

Instrumental What!?? MC-Less Hip-Hop and the Square One Dilemma

It sounds like a paradox: instrumental hip-hop. For all logistical purposes, it is. Sample-based instrumental hip-hop artists like DJ Shadow, RJD2 and Prefuse 73 are a long way from the sound of their forebears. In one sense they've pushed rap music to the apex of its identity crisis; but in another sense, they've taken hip-hop back to square one.


Tuesday, June 29 2004

Lollapa-loser? A critical look inside the rise and fall of Lollapalooza 2004

On paper Lollapalooza 2004 looked to be the most anticipated offering of the festival in a decade. The event was to traverse North America hitting 16 cities with an unprecedented two-day bill in all but one town. In hindsight, one has to wonder if there were other options tour organizers could have used to prevent this unfortunate end. The only certainty, right now, is that Lollapalooza 2004 is cancelled leaving an enormous void in the touring plans for many bands and their followers.


Wednesday, June 23 2004

Don’t Steal My Sunshine: Is the resurgence of college rock legends good for the future of music?

Before you lay your hard earned cash down on this summer's multitude of reunion tours and related merchandise, stop and think about what they're trying to do to you. We ask the question: Is the resurgence of college rock legends good for the future of music?


Tuesday, June 22 2004

Ray Charles: An American Genius

Ray Charles took nothing from no one, staking his claim to the world, thriving despite his blindness to become one of a handful of truly legendary and groundbreaking artists in the history of music. Rest in peace, Brother Ray.


Madonna Speaks Out, Again

'I believe that George Bush and Saddam Hussein are both behaving in an irresponsible manner,' says Madonna. 'So, in that respect, they're alike.'


Tuesday, June 1 2004

Merlefest 2004

For four days each April, the place is vibrant with humanity, as people from all over come to this Mecca of roots music called Merlefest, which gracefully celebrates the old as much as it concedes to, and welcomes, the new.


Wednesday, May 26 2004

The Real Significance of Kurt Cobain

It's been 10 years since Kurt Cobain's death. So what? Don't get me wrong. I love genuine musical talent. But when artists are dead, no amount of memorializing will change that fact.


Friday, May 21 2004

Morrissey: Why Do We Still Love Him Like We Used To?

Smiths fans have always been among the most fanatical fans of them all. They make Deadheads look uncommitted. To those infected with the Morrissey disease, the Smiths were never just another band: They were everything. They were more important than family and friends, than fortune or the plans for the future.


Tuesday, May 18 2004

Diddy-cized

For all the fluff and blunder and dare I say 'brilliance' of Sean Combs, it's easy to forget why the cat is the very essence of hip-hop branding.


Wednesday, May 12 2004

An Open Letter to My Friend Chris Regarding The Mountain Goats’ “We Shall All Be Healed”

I'm on the subway, trying to listen to The Mountain Goats' We Shall All Be Healed on a disintegrating Discman (it stutters inexplicably, plus it slathers everything in a this weird static) through a pair of headphones with a right channel that's constantly cutting in and out. It's kind of fitting for what John Darnielle's up to here.


Friday, April 9 2004

New Movies Inside His Head: Notes on Recent Dylan Arcana

Masked and Anonymous may possibly represent Dylan's final creative spike, and Dylan seems all too aware of that possibility. It would explain why he sees himself everywhere in Masked and Anonymous's wartorn landscape, and hears himself coming out of every radio.


Wednesday, April 7 2004

WHO’S 40?

Gazing up at the carved images on rock music's Mount Rushmore, one will see greatness in a variety of forms: The Beatles as mop topped pioneers; the Rolling Stones as sneering pop marvels; Led Zeppelin as bombastic virtuosos; and the Who as, well, the Who. It can be argued that success and immortality were assured for three of the four, but somehow the Who survived in spite of themselves to become the best of the bunch.


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