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10 Key Tracks From the British Synthpop Boom of 1980

It's 40 years since the first explosion of electronic songs revitalized the UK charts with futuristic subject matter, DIY aesthetics, and occasionally pompous lyrics. To celebrate, here's a chronological list of those Moog-infused tracks of 1980 that had the biggest impact.


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Music

The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Television

Fleabag's Hot Priest and Love as Longing

In season two of Fleabag, The Priest's inaccessibility turns him into a sort of god, powerful enough for Fleabag to suddenly find herself spending hours in church with no religious motivation.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D
Television

Power Struggle in Beauty Pageants: On 'Mrs. America' and 'Miss Americana'

Television min-series Mrs. America and Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana make vivid how beauty pageants are more multi-dimensional than many assume, offering a platform to some (attractive) women to pursue higher education, politics, and more.

Hilary Levey Friedman
Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Marc Maron's Private Grief on a Public Stage

The risky healing power of Marc Maron's WTF podcast eulogy to Lynn Shelton.

Television

Don't Let Roseanne Barr Ruin Roseanne's Legacy

Watching the Roseanne family's hopes and dreams dashed over nine seasons made the show highly relatable then -- and now.

Music

Primal Scream's 'Screamadelica' and the Altered State

In the context of Primal Scream's prior and subsequent career, Screamadelica is a miracle. It's a rock record about discovering Ecstasy, rave culture, and the music that went with it.

Reading Pandemics

Taking a Page About Community and Responsibility from Albert Camus' 'The Plague'

Initially, the city of Oran does not take care of its most vulnerable populations in Camus' The Plague, and as a result, the city suffers for it. This parallels today's COVID-19 world.

Music

Eurovision 2020: Staging Political Identity

Eurovision contestants subvert the events' apolitical ethos simply with their identity, which is then subverted by performer and audience subjectivity. So who, ultimately, wins?

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Isolation Odyssey: Behind the Scenes with a Lockdown Orchestra

Scattered throughout the world, members of Opera North's orchestra share how they are enduring the loss of live performance and companionship during the COVID-19 lockdown. They also share a mood-lifting, online isolation performance of a work that everyone knows but not always for the same reasons.

Music

Brits in Hot Weather Presents: Empathy Test

London's Empathy Test are preparing to release their stunning new album, Monsters, a richly textured, cinematic record that wraps melancholy in a darkly catchy synthpop blanket. Get to know the band in-depth in this new interview.

Music

MetalMatters: April 2020 - Notes from the Quarantine

In times of quarantine we listen and we write, so here are 20 extreme (and some experimental) records to spin during these times.

Film

Films from the Long War: 'Their Finest Hour' Offers Five British WWII Classics

These WWII films from directors Alberto Cavalcanti, Guy Hamilton, Michael Anderson, Leslie Norman and J. Lee Thomson are excellent studies in history, filmmaking, and wartime propaganda.

Music

Is 'Murder Most Foul' Dylan's State of the Union Address?

The implication of Bob Dylan's "Murder Most Foul", expressed with an understated passion, is that in 2020, it may not be just the music or even the president that has died.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

COVID-19 Means Living Life in Two Minds at Once

COVID-19 has created a day-by-day experience in which we realize there are no perfect answers, and every moment exists as a co-mingling of light and dark counterpoints.

Television

To Watch a Predator: The Difficult Handling of 'RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 12'

While RuPaul's Drag Race remains a celebration of campy queer culture, Season 12 premiered as serious allegations against a contestant were quickly confirmed, forcing the producers to recut the episodes to diminish the influence of a now-known predator. Did the gambit work?

Music

The 70 Best Albums of 2019

From forward-looking electronic and experimental to new approaches in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and punk to rock and pop, 2019 bestowed an embarrassment of musical riches upon us.

Reading Pandemics

What's Love Got To Do with It? Shakespeare's 'Venus & Adonis'

The worn trope—Time Devours All Things (tempus edax rerum)—is true for human beings, says Shakespeare: if you're a mortal, death lurks at the heart of the very thing you most want. During a plague, or a pandemic, it's wanting that endangers us.

Music

The Album That Changed Everything: Massive Attack's 'Blue Lines'

Even now with all our understanding and acceptance of genre-mashing, Massive Attack’s opening salvo remains as bold and eclectic, as utterly assured a musical message as it was upon release.

Music

Counterbalance No. 16: David Bowie - 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars'

Up next for the Counterbalance series is David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Press your space face close to mine!

Film

The Obstacles in 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Are Not Typical of MCU

Peyton Reed's "Disney-fied" Ant-Man and the Wasp is unchallenging in all the best ways.

Music

Safe at Home After Nashville Return, Sara Evans Still Plays to Win With 'Copy That'

Country music's Sara Evans knows the music business remains a perilous journey after navigating some rough roads to success, but she's speaking frankly while enjoying a wild, unpredictable ride with her first solo studio album in three years.

Music

Commemorating the Legacy of Steve "Stezo" Williams

Stezo died in his sleep on 29 April at age 51, leaving behind a legacy begging to be properly commemorated. His 1989 album Crazy Noise has been buried in the annals of hip-hop history, an underappreciated dollar-bin find that serves both as a time capsule for hip-hop's late 1980s golden era and a lesson in keeping it real.

Music

10 Essential Releases from 10 Years of Tri Angle Records

Tri Angle comes to an end as a label but begins as an important archive of electronic music. To celebrate these legendary 10 years of Tri Angle, here are 10 of their many essential releases.

Music

10 Great Little Richard Songs You've Never Heard

Little Richard is remembered best for his groundbreaking run of 1950s hits, but the late "Tutti Frutti" belter sporadically recorded gems over his last 50 years.

Books

Next Day. Same Time. Same Place:  How Waiting Out the Pandemic Is Like Waiting for Godot

Even though these times of self-isolating feel absurd, the Theater of the Absurd has a lot to teach us about waiting, time, isolation, and feeling like we exist.

Reading Pandemics

Pandemics and Trumpian Echoes in Miller’s 'Blackfish City'

When we can't turn to the federal government for the truth, sometimes we need to turn to fiction. Sam J. Miller's Blackfish City maps a pandemic in a post-United States future.

Film

Stepping into the Phantasmagoric Otherwise with Karel Zeman

While all films project a world that might be, certain films and certain filmmakers, like Karel Zeman, come closer than others in bringing to the surface the underlying phantasmagoric essence of cinema.

Music

The 10 Best Americana Albums of 2007

If 2007 didn't invite any gripping controversies, it was certainly filled with competitive comparisons -- between young and old, past and present, and among splintered factions -- and both surprising hits and disappointing misses. All in all, a dynamic and at times resurgent year for the broad scope of Americana.

Music

Nicki Minaj Is the Greatest Rapper of the Decade Bar None

2020 and it's finally time to acknowledge Nicki Minaj's right to G.O.A.T. status, as the best female rapper AND the best rapper of the past ten years — no gender preposition required.

Music

The Best 10 Electronic Albums of 2005

Journey back 15 years ago, as 2005's best electronic albums are so emotionally involved and organically expressive that it's easy to forget they were created with advanced technology.

Music

Counterbalance No. 15: Van Morrison - 'Astral Weeks'

Van Morrison ventured in the slipstream between the viaducts of your dreams with his 1968 LP Astral Weeks and made it to Number 15 on the List. Klinger and Mendelsohn recount the journey in this latest installment of Counterbalance.

Reading Pandemics

Reading Pandemics: From Boccaccio to Indigenous Futurism

Join us -- at a safe distance -- on this journey through the canonical and radical as we look to literary representations of pandemics in the past to help us understand the politics and possibilities of the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Film

The Highs Are Higher, the Lows Lower in 'Deadpool 2'

The first half of Deadpool 2, in which Vanessa is murdered and Wade becomes purposeless and suicidal, is a slog. The second half, where Wade commits to defending an angry teenage mutant, positively soars with fantastic action and some of the funniest superhero film moments in years.

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