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Books

'The Poetry of Pop', Stretches the Definition of Pop Generously

Adam Bradley's The Poetry of Pop works for what it obviously wants to be, a primer on American popular music.

Recent
Books

David Bowie and Other 'Strange Stars'

Jason Heller's Strange Stars, on David Bowie and sci-fi, is an exciting and loving look at a time when infinite wonder had a role in the pop music marketplace.

Music

How Does Taylor Swift's 'Reputation' Fit in with The Current Political Climate?

Like an alchemist, Taylor Swift turns stray thoughts and abject emotions into global cultural touchstones—and into piles and piles of cold, hard cash. What do her fans get out of it?

Music

The Roots of Romanticism in David Bowie's Berlin Triptych

In its response to modernity, Romanticism's grand enterprise inspires us to question the current state of things, to ponder how we might "be heroes / just for one day".

Music

Johnny Hallyday Was More Than Just a Kitschy Gallic Misreading of Rock

It's hard to think of another male pop singer who could hold his own alongside exceptional female vocalists like Céline Dion.

Books

Dabblin in Depth: Songwriting and 'I Wrote That One Too'

Writing a pop song might entail skipping easily across the surface of a subject, but depth and purpose is critical for a memoir.

Music

Dexterous in Life and Music: Pianist/Singer-songwriter Chi Coltrane

Chi Coltrane, an unjustly forgotten American singer/songwriter, was signed by Clive Davis in the '70s and enjoyed a prolific career in Europe. Then she disappeared.

Charles Donovan
Books

'The Poetry of Pop' Takes a Scholarly Look at Lyrics Both Profound and Vapid

The Poetry of Pop is a testament to the power, craftsmanship, and worthwhile intent of even the most ostensibly thin tunes.

Music

Bridget Kearney: Won't Let You Down

Won’t Let You Down is an album that stays true to its name.

Music

Auto-Tune In or Out?

Those who would doubt the influence of music technology on the development of pop music need to remember that rock music would not be possible without the invention of the electric guitar.

Marcus Smith
Music

Phil Collins: Singles

The main question with Singles is this: does Phil Collins really deserve all the critical revilement he's gotten for decades?

Music

Brothers in Yarn - 'Volume 1' (EP stream) (premiere) + Interview

Shawn Fogel (Golden Bloom) releases literary-inspired EP as Brothers in Yarn.

Performing Arts

Is 'Madonna: Tears of a Clown' a Laughing Matter?

In Madonna's bizarre one-off concert in Australia, she proved that she's still willing to push the envelope with a bold artistic statement. But what exactly was she saying?

Music

Pet Shop Boys: SUPER

Thirty years since "West End Girls" launched their career, Pet Shop Boys are back with a thrilling new album produced by Stuart Price, SUPER.

Music

Always Cry 4 Love, Never Cry 4 Pain: Prince's 30-year 'Parade'

On Parade, Prince allows an openness to ideas and collaboration to a degree he’d never experienced before, and it brings out the best in him.

Music

The Great I Am: Magic, Fascism, and Race in David Bowie's 'Blackstar'

Blackstar addresses the tension between David Bowie’s avowed attraction to ideologies of blood and soil, and his equally committed obsession with African American musical forms and tropes.

Rahm Bambam
Music

Prince: HITNRUN Phase Two

Phase Two boasts enough classic Prince moments to sufficiently wash the worst memories of its vapid predecessor out of fans’ memory banks permanently.

Music

Matt Nathanson: Show Me Your Fangs

Career-defining songs from a songwriter with an already-impressive track record. Prepare to hear plenty about this for some time to come.

Music

a-ha: Cast in Steel

Cast in Steel is a triumphant return. It's wonderful to hear one of the most underrated bands of the last three decades back with such a powerful musical statement.

Reviews

Richard Goldstein on the Front Lines With Janis Joplin, Andy Warhol, Abby Hoffman and More

Richard Goldstein's journey is a closely observed, fervently lived “I was there” account of the music, the politics, the sex, the drugs, and the poetry in rock lyrics.

Books

'Litpop - Writing and Popular Music' Suffocates From a Lack of the Lively Air of Opinion

This anthology is meant to study two of the most lively artistic fields on the planet, and yet it's bogged down by articles of no great substance and no great joy.

Music

Madonna's 'Rebel Heart' Reinforces Her Relevance

Despite the detractors who insist that she gives it up, Madonna is determined to dominate the cultural conversation once again.

Music

Pronounced Dead: The Art of Cultural Assassination

Two critical catfights are claiming to have buried art-forms which have shaped our civilisation for decades and centuries apiece. Are they entitled to do that?

Music

Jon McLaughlin: Promising Promises

Jon McLaughlin' Promising Promises is a solid, likable release.

Music

What Happened to Romance and Joy in Music?

Pop music should not merely raise brand awareness in slick advertisement campaigns; it should also seek to inject the culture with love, hope, and joy.

Music

In Defense of "Call Me Maybe" As the Song of Summer 2012

With Carly Rae Jepsen's recent smash, we are reminded of how great pop music can be whenever it decides to return to fun and innocence.

Music

Demi Lovato: Unbroken

Try this: Start at track five.

Books

'Poker Face': The Intelligent Design of Lady Gaga

Is Lady Gaga a true artist or a con artist? To quote Gaga herself, "Whatever."

Music

The Human Collision: A Conversation with Matt Nathanson About Modern Love

Songwriter Matt Nathanson has just made his finest statement with his new album, Modern Love, a diverse collection of songs about relationships, sexuality, and intimacy in a rapidly changing world.

Music

Dancing Till the World Ends: Why Does Contemporary Pop Love War?

The Europop renaissance in Top 40 music has ushered in a peculiar fascination with the sounds, smells and visions of war. Seeing pop as a kind of warfare, or warfare in pop, provides a psychic escape for the listener.

Sarah Grant
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