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Taylor Swift's "seven" Marks the End of Innocence

Taylor Swift's childhood has frequently acted as the rare domain that can neither be snatched by tabloids nor staked out by fans, but "seven" from her latest LP folklore presents a narrative of innocence dragged out of a child by abuse.

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Music

Disco Rock City: Kiss' "I Was Made for Loving You"

Kiss has authored numerous crowd-pleasing rockers, but don't overlook how good their late-'70s disco detour is.

Music

Why "The Fox" Is One of the Best Songs of the Year (No, Really)

It's pitched somewhere between "Disco Duck" and "Dick in a Box" on the novelty song scale, but Ylvis bamboozled the nation with a parody song so moronic it became a Top 10 hit. That is an absolutely absurd accomplishment, and it almost makes me laugh as much as the song itself does.

Music

Midas Touch: Succumbing to the Allure of Bruno Mars' "Treasure"

As I consider the music of the past year, I find a newfound admiration and affection for an '80s throwback I had discounted months ago.

Music

Arctic Monkeys' Predictable Renovation

With the release of Arctic Monkeys’ fifth album, AM, we can now definitely confirm that they are a brand new band. What happened to those teenagers that represented youth and were once the voice of a generation? Have they changed that much since then?

Music

Bright Moments Past: On Music and Loss

Music is first and foremost a very real and easily identifiable source of extreme pleasure. It’s also a vehicle, something I use to help me get around in life.

Music

Hopes on Juana Molina's Comeback

With the announcement of Juana Molina’s upcoming album, Wed 21, an unexplainable excitement grew inside of me.

Music

Who’s Experience – Burning Flames

How a rock opera from the '70s transformed what should have been another calm, neglectful Sunday in my life.

Music

In Praise of Built to Spill's "The Weather"

“The Weather” is the dreamy and evocative final track on Built to Spill's 2001 release Ancient Melodies of the Future, and it's a song that's certainly no "dud".

Music

Gary Clark Jr.: Seeing Is Believing

If you have a chance to check Clark out live, do so. He sounds fine in a studio setting, and I encourage you to grab his new disc. But like most of the better acts, especially of the jazz and blues idioms, he needs to be seen to be appreciated, and believed.

Music

Keep the Car Running: Swervedriver and the Sound of Speed

Cro-Magnon mating music, Martian childcare, hellbound murderers, and the serene pleasure of speed -- sounds like Swervedriver.

Music

AFI’s “Girl’s Not Grey”: One of the Best Rock Songs of the Past Decade?

Often too pretentious for its own good, in 2003 goth-tinged punk group AFI surmounted its shortcomings and excesses to craft at least one near-perfect single.

Music

My Top 5: Hurricane Bells

After soundtracking a bit of Twilight: New Moon and releasing a lovely new record earlier this year, Hurricane Bells' Steve Schiltz takes us through his top five favorite albums of all-time, all while wondering why more kids don't love the Edge . . .

Music

The Alchemist: Trey Spruance's Ongoing Quest for Greatness

If what eventually follows Secret Chiefs 3's Book of Horizons (2004) is half as good as the opening salvo (now seven years old, already!), we are in for something special, and Trey Spruance will begin to solidify his case as one of the most important -- if largely unheralded -- musicians of his time.

Music

Like a Woodpecker from Mars, 'Angel Dust' Is Unimaginably Awesome

Faith No More's Angel Dust compels us to reimagine the genre distinctions on which the processes of music production and consumption rest.

Music

Soon Is Never Soon Enough: Moose's '. . . Xyz', Remastered

Moose was really never shoegaze. In many ways, Moose was a much more successful band than Ride. Even though that claim is a bit strange, it's never too late to make it.

Music

(It's Always) Time For McCoy Tyner

McCoy Tyner epitomizes the restless spirit and inspiration that characterizes all of our great artists. He was already a master by the mid-’60s; his work with John Coltrane could be studied and analyzed the way entire catalogs of music get dissected by critics. He was neither sated nor satisfied though, so he kept pushing and his work became increasingly ambitious, wide in scope and rewarding

Music

Tremble with a Sigh: Ride's 'Nowhere', Reissued

When all the elements on Ride's first album are at play in perfect alignment, Nowhere becomes a magical record, one that you can see deserving of its reputation as one of the best the shoegaze genre has to offer

Music

Taking It All Too Hard: Some Unironic Love For Phil Collins

A few things for youngsters and hipsters to be aware of: Phil Collins, in another lifetime, was not only a very worthwhile musician, he was also an outstanding drummer.

Music

The 2011 Great Guitar Solo Spotlight

While a lot can be said over the technique’s indulgent, sometimes stodgy nature, I honestly believe that a lot of the grumbling about solos is due to the fact that not everyone can pull them off well.

Music

No Past Resignations: The First Two Foo Fighters Albums

Foo Fighters might be at the peak of their fame now, but it was those first two albums that stand as the conclusive proof that Kurt Cobain wasn't the only brilliant songwriter to have spent time in Nirvana.

Music

Let Me Be Rocked: Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law"

What does it mean to be rocked? Often, it's just best to let the music overtake you.

Music

Arguing the Merits of Live's "All Over You"

Painfully earnest and soberly overwrought, for one album and one song in particular Live managed to convincingly sell the drama.

Music

The Boss, the Big Man, and the Best Rock Song of the '70s

"Jungleland" employs the epic, almost operatic strategy Bruce Springsteen developed on the first two albums, but this is at a whole other level.

Music

My Top Ten Beach Boys Albums

The Beach Boys are my favorite band, and all following pop composers are compared to the incomparable standard of Brian Wilson, the true pop genius

Music

'Songs from the Big Chair': 25 Years Later

Tears for Fears don't get much respect. Even in the wake of Donnie Darko, they're mostly considered an afterthought in pop history. Yet, in an era that favors stripped-down, no-fi production, the sheer majesty of Tears for Fears' sound is surprisingly refreshing.

Music

Aggression Maximized: A Second Look at Neaera's 'Armamentarium'

The full effect of this album may not hit you all at once, but when it does, the effect is too stunning to ignore.

Music

My Top 10 Rolling Stones Albums

The Rolling Stones = Rock & Roll. It doesn't get any cooler than Mick Jagger strutting around while Keith Richards -- cigarette hanging from his mouth -- nonchalantly riffs like a king.

Music

Dandy Pop Highwaymen: Adam and the Ants' "Stand and Deliver"

This riveting tune by the New Wave icons remains a potent reminder of the power of a well-written three-minute pop single.

Music

I Heart Adult Alternative: Failing at Being a Hipster

An unfairly named, unfairly shunned, and completely unhip genre, adult alternative, in my opinion, is producing some of the best new music these days, and you don't have to be a project manager with two kids and a suburban home to enjoy it. Here I examine three examples of the best records in said genre from this year.

Music

Come Back Again: Catherine Wheel’s 'Ferment' Reissued

Radiohead -- The Mightiest Band This Side of the Stone Roses -- got its start by ripping off Catherine Wheel.

Music

The Case for Lady Gaga

The reason I love Lady Gaga is she gives you so much more to like without the sour aftertaste of the explicitly sincere. With a bewildering assault of daring and reticence, she has buried herself completely until all that's left is aftershocks of passionate commentary and loaded imagery.

Music

Walking with Foreign Slippers

Swedish singer-songwriter project Foreign Slippers casts a singularly bewitching spell. Let's hope another salvo comes our way soon.

Music

Talking About Jazz & Appreciating Eric Dolphy

Let there be no doubt that Eric Dolphy warrants mention amongst jazz music’s all-time immortals.


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