Pop Past
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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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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!

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

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

The Best Jazz Albums of 2010

Jazz was working all the angles in 2010. Is there any other genre that has as much range -- from solo instruments to big bands, from instrumental to vocal, from European musicians to both North and South Americans, from truly pretty music to raucously avant-garde "noise"?

Film

The 35 Best Films of 2010

The best films of 2010 include a fake documentary, a comedy about Jihad, a vampire story NOT dealing with tacky tween romance, a haunting hillbilly noir, and an elegant tale about clones. Not necessarily the usual cinematic suspects.

Music

The 10 Best Country Albums of 2010

The synthesis of the past, present, and future was so much of what country music was about in 2010. Country was still fairly male-dominated in the era, although the changing winds, wherein women would create the most forward-looking music, were already beginning to blow.

Music

The 10 Best Indie Pop Albums of 2010

2010 was a great year for indie-pop, with an assortment of new bands making an impression by putting a fresh new stamp on old sounds. Meanwhile, bands on their second, third, or fourth albums took their sound and refreshed it.

Music

The 20 Best Metal Albums of 2010

In 2010, the metal world honored the memory of Ronnie James Dio in the coolest possible way: by making it the best year for new music the genre saw in a very long time.

Music

The 10 Best R&B/Soul Albums of 2010

It was fashionable to say R&B was dead in 2010 because it wasn't the commercial force it was in the late '80s and '90s. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Music

The 10 Best Punk Albums of 2010

Punk rock gives voice to the hardest of times. As punk is a wide-ranging umbrella genre saturated with numerous subcultures, styles, aesthetics, and attitudes, making a list is more like trying to super-glue together a ripped and torn fanzine. But try, we must.

Film

The 25 Best Independent / International Films of 2010

Journey back to 2010 to experience the best independent and international films from a time when our biggest worries involved "wars on terror". These films are highlighted by a host of superb documentaries, a stellar film from China, and one of the finest works of "hillbilly noir" ever.

Music

The 15 Best World Music Albums of 2010

Africa dominated the world music scene in 2010 -- or at least, it dominated Western perceptions of what "world music" might be. That said, the new vinyl archeology could be seen at work in all areas and all eras of recorded music.

Music

The Best Hip-Hop Albums/Mixtapes of 2010

Epic, sleek, weed rap, emo, sociopolitical, gangsta, or house party? In which direction will hip-hop go? 2010 was a year for all of the above.

Music

The 70 Best Albums of 2010

2010's best albums are highlighted by the emergence of a future superstar, two veteran and virtuoso rappers, and a Dream Team of indie bands releasing career peaks.

Music

The 10 Best Experimental "Albums" of 2010

It's not that more experimental-type music was made in 2010. It's just that more of it was getting heard.

Music

The 60 Best Songs of 2010

Journey back to 2010 for 60 slices of musical greatness highlighted by one of the most delightful expletive-ridden hits in pop music history.

Music

The 10 Best Indie Rock Albums of 2010

"Indie rock" is a term as amorphous and hard-to-pin-down as some of its associated lingo. But for our purposes here, we'll go with a line of demarcation strangely omitted from the discussion much of the time: the rock portion of the equation.

Music

The 10 Best Americana Albums of 2010

Journey to 2010, a splendid year for Americana. Then again, that’s something you can say just about any year given the sprawling range of sub-genres under Americana's vast umbrella.

Music

The 10 Best Electronic Albums of 2010

Let's take a journey to Pop Past and re-experience the best electronic albums from a decade ago. Many electronic sounds in 2010 remained in the margins, using the lexicon of its predecessors to define what they were.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 5, Joy Division to Gang of Four

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we conclude with part five featuring Joy Division, Gang of Four, Talking Heads and more.

Music

John Prine's 'The Missing Years' Showcases His Penchant for Storytelling

The Missing Years reveals John Prine's ability to embolden the amusing and touching despite the underlying strife.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 4, James Chance to the Pop Group

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part four with Talking Heads, the Fall, Devo and more.

Music

The Dust Blows Forward: 'Trout Mask Replica' at 50

In 1969, the deeply strange musician known as Captain Beefheart released an album that is still ahead of its time a half-century later. PopMatters spoke with musicians and writers about this landmark work of art and why it continues to fascinate.

Music

Esquerita: The Other Originator of Rock 'n' Roll Camp

This ultimate "odd man out" Esquerita -- gay, black, bizarre-looking, and crazy-playing rocker -- was pushed into the shadows beyond the bright lights of Little Richard.

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