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PopMatters is 20 this year -- until October when we are 21 -- and a 2009 special section celebrates the popular music that defined the year of our birth. Today we kick things off with albums from January through March, highlighted by Eminem's debut and stellar pop from XTC and Blur.
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"?
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the dominance of guitar rock has faded among indie-leaning audiences, there has also been a spreading into the mainstream of sounds that would have been easily described as indie-pop a decade ago. Indie-pop styles show up in TV commercials, Hollywood movie soundtracks, and within mainstream pop and country hits.
Our Best 20 Americana albums of 2019 are a multicultural, polysexual, cross-genre lineup of cool Americana music that, as with the best parts of the American promise, pays tribute to the musical wells from which they spring but also takes the artform wherever their rugged individualism and talent-rich hearts lead them.
Electronic music is a huge tent with so many diverse approaches, and it's more international than ever with producers around the globe pushing music forward. The year's best albums featured returns from established talents, as well as ground-breaking newcomers, and a host of women changing the old boy's club of electronic music.
Folk in 2019 is an image of inclusivity and unity in the face of international political upheaval. It's most captivating in its moments of sheer, heart-bearing authenticity and ensnares with new musical bearings introduced by some of its foremost innovators and newcomers to the scene.
In an age when the personal is political feels as necessary as ever, we identify most with experimenters who transcend the throwing-shit-at-a-wall, banging-on-pots-and-cans approach. These artists occupy the earthly just as much as they occupy the mechanical and the celestial.
Following Stormzy's run up the charts, 2019 proved to be a banner year for British hip-hop with a trio of masterpieces. America's myriad hip-hop scenes delivered the goods, and African rap gave us many stellar releases.
From bubbly, perky synthpop to the deepest of darkwave, electropop in 2019 reflected the general malaise by forging the brightest of pop to forget the bad times on the one hand, and embracing downtempo textures and moods on the other.
The year in R&B and soul brought brilliant returns from music legends alongside artists pushing the boundaries of R&B past any limits. It's a genre where retro and futurism nestle cozily side by side. Here are the 15 best.
Step back 10 years when we presented our 20 best re-issues of 2009, highlighted by the long overdue remastering of the Beatles oeuvre, a number of '80s and '90s classics, and one of the most storied catalogues in electronic music.