Pop Past

Kings Will Be Crowned: Queen’s ‘Queen II’ at 50

Kings Will Be Crowned: Queen’s ‘Queen II’ at 50

Queen’s 1974 sophomore album, Queen II is an overlooked progressive rock masterpiece that predicted so much of their later work. It’s also still enormous fun.

Those Days Are Gone Forever: Steely Dan’s ‘Pretzel Logic’ at 50

Those Days Are Gone Forever: Steely Dan’s ‘Pretzel Logic’ at 50

Steely Dan’s 50-year-old third album, Pretzel Logic, conceals its dark satirical vision of modern society beneath immaculate studio production.

Miles Davis’ ‘Filles de Kilimanjaro’ Makes a Jazz Noise

Miles Davis’ ‘Filles de Kilimanjaro’ Makes a Jazz Noise

Miles Davis was a shapeshifter, and in his restlessness, he urged and created the groundwork for protean music that reflected shapes and shifts.

This Is Your Life: XTC’s ‘Oranges & Lemons’ at 35

This Is Your Life: XTC’s ‘Oranges & Lemons’ at 35

In 1989, XTC released Oranges & Lemons, one of their finest. There are nods to trippy 1960s touchstones, but it’s more of a lush, power-pop celebration.

60 Years On: The Animals, the Hollies, and British Beat

60 Years On: The Animals, the Hollies, and British Beat

As these 1964 albums from the Animals and the Hollies show, the music of the beat boom was characterized by excitement, reverence, and sound.

Pop-Rock Not for the Masses: Nellie McKay’s ‘Get Away From Me’ at 20

Pop-Rock Not for the Masses: Nellie McKay’s ‘Get Away From Me’ at 20

Nellie McKay is appealing but with an edge, offering hooks but also barbs, looking back at the past and ahead of her time. She could be a pop star in 2024.

Brian Eno’s ‘Here Come the Warm Jets’ After 50 Years

Brian Eno’s ‘Here Come the Warm Jets’ After 50 Years

Brian Eno’s approach captured the best of what we wanted from punk, new wave, prog, glam, and classic ’60s pop and channeled their excesses by relying on chance.

Buffy Sainte-Marie’s ‘It’s My Way!’ at 60: Maybe Not Entirely Her Way!

Buffy Sainte-Marie’s ‘It’s My Way!’ at 60: Maybe Not Entirely Her Way!

For decades, Buffy Sainte-Marie was celebrated as America’s most famous Indigenous musician. Recent revelations force a reconsideration of her music.

Joni Mitchell’s ‘Court and Spark’ Still Smolders at 50

Joni Mitchell’s ‘Court and Spark’ Still Smolders at 50

While the shift from folk to jazz-rock on Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark may seem like commercial ambition, it was layered and signaled a profound change.

The Hotelier’s ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’ Is Peak Emo Revival

The Hotelier’s ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’ Is Peak Emo Revival

The Hotelier’s harrowing Home, Like Noplace Is There is a defining record of the emo revival. It can make us feel less alone in our darkest moments.

A Den of Slack: ‘Reality Bites’ As a Generational Cautionary Tale

A Den of Slack: ‘Reality Bites’ As a Generational Cautionary Tale

Reality Bites‘ central idea is that selling out is no match for following your heart, and good things will come. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Then Play On’ and Humble Pie’s ‘Town and Country’ 55 Years On

Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Then Play On’ and Humble Pie’s ‘Town and Country’ 55 Years On

Fleetwood Mac and Humble Pie were a part of the progressive 1960s ethos that carried successfully into the 1970s and beyond. These 1969 albums tell the story.