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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.

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Film

Be Kind. Please Rewind: An Ode to the VCR

Like Netflix, the VCR diluted and transformed the film itself.

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

Randy Newman and the Magic of the Unreliable Narrator

After 45 years, Randy Newman's Sail Away remains one of the most beautiful, difficult, evocative testimonies to lust, desire, and America's collective racist past.

Music

A Connoisseur of Fine Things: Interim Thoughts on the Life and Career of Chubby Checker

While Bob Dylan was furiously writing “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” Chubby Checker was busy with his Trinidadian dance for the teenybopper diaspora. Dancing one’s ass off is as reasonable a response to impending nuclear annihilation as anything.

Scott Schoenberg
Music

The Highway Is for Gamblers: Joyce Carol Oates, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen Take a One-way Trip

How Joyce Carol Oates, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen traveled out of a small town towards the great unknown.

Music

You're Such a Lovely Audience: 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'

Celebrating Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with a little help from their friends; Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Joe Cocker, Neil Young and the Mona Lisa Twins.

Film

The Graduate's Alienation, Anger, and Uncertainty Resonates for College Kids Today

This is a film about impressions, suggestions, passive-aggressive bitterness and anger that never shows its face until the last scene.

Books

On Georgette Heyer's Debonair, Polished Butchery

Heyer perfected the art of banter and her social engagements on the page often read like David Campton and Edward Albee plays -- sans the existential subversions.

Music

All Hail the King: Chuck Berry Reinvented Music, and America

After Chuck Berry, rock music would forever be a gumbo of competing and complimentary source points, but his first-person flights of fancy still represent its most undiluted potential.

Music

Racializing Rock: The '60s and the White Sounds of 'Pet Sounds'

Pet Sounds is not a racist text, but its impact was racist because it further encoded rock as a white genre, perpetuating the institutionalized prejudice that relegated African Americans to the margins of rock.

Film

A Queer Alliance: Dame Margaret Rutherford and Dawn Langley Simmons

Rutherford, an actor famous for playing spinsters and quirky aunts. Simmons, an author infamous for changing sex and marrying outside her race.

Television

Bergen, Curtain, and Radner: Saturday Night Live's Second-Ever Christmas Special Lacks Dumb Blondes

Despite the drunken antics and sexist attitudes of their fellow cast members, it’s the women who brought the laughs in Saturday Night Live’s second Christmas special

Megan Volpert
Culture

Gracie Allen for President!

The Comedian's 1940 Surprise Party brought America much needed unwise wisdom and foggy acuity.

Nicholas Alexander Hayes and Terri Griffith
Interviews

Soviet Misfit: The Life and Music of BB Gabor

A Hungarian-born refugee haunted by a host of personal demons, BB Gabor made a startling impression in Toronto's punk scene of the early '80s, producing arresting works of pop music which have left an indelible mark in Canada's rock music history.

Culture

White Jumpsuits: Sci-Fi TV of the Disco Era

Despite skin-tight jumpsuits, dodgy special effects, and silly plots, "disco-era" sci-fi helped US TV became comfortable with ideas too big, too strange, or too disturbing for a "mundane" context.

Thomas Lalli Foster
Television

'Madonna: Innocence Lost' Was Tawdry But Fun

This highly stylized interpretation of Madonna’s hand-to-mouth existence possesses the sort of terribleness you would expect of a TV movie -- but it’s the kind of trash diet that leaves you feeling fulfilled, somehow.

Genna Rivieccio
Books

Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot, and Reverse Modernism

Agatha Christie's legendary detective Hercule Poirot is an example of a character responding defiantly and positively to the pressures of literary modernism.

Eric M. Martin
Music

The Clash Album That Never Was: 'Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg'

Even in bootleg form, the Clash's Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg stands as one of the most daring, fearless, idiosyncratic recordings ever put on tape by a major recording artist.

Music

A Portrait of the Boss As a Young Man: On Bruce Springsteen's First Seven Albums

The go-for-broke inspiration Bruce Springsteen became legendary for providing in his songs initially sprang from the most authentic source: himself.

Television

Jumping the Shark and Surviving: A Reappraisal of the Fifth Season of 'Happy Days'

"Jumping the shark" may be a fun and lingering trope in popular culture, but its truth in relation to the Happy Days episode from which it gets its name is questionable.

Daniel R. Budnik
Music

Songs of the Summers: The '60s

As it turns out, America's infatuation with sometimes kooky summer tunes is an old one.

Music

Bruce Cockburn's 1968: Electrocution to Revolution

Being in the orbit of a group of eccentric artists helped to create a transformative year for Cockburn that would further his path toward becoming a world renowned solo artist.

Music

What Is and What Will Always Be: A Fresh Look at Led Zeppelin's Familiar Masterpieces

With the exception of the Beatles, no other band has loomed quite so large as Led Zeppelin, to the extent that we’ll never run out of things to say: good, bad and great.

Music

"Celebrating" Wilco's A Ghost Is Born's 10-Year Anniversary

Ten years after the release of A Ghost Is Born, the songs still just aren't there.

Music

The Kinks - "The Way Love Used to Be"

In a better world, "The Way Love Used to Be" would rank alongside "You Really Got Me", "Waterloo Sunset", and "Lola" as one of the Kinks' crowning achievements.

Music

Cast Off the Ego Scars: An Interview with Harvey Danger's Sean Nelson

The song was "Flagpole Sitta", and it was everywhere in the late '90s. Nearly two decades later, it finally gets the vinyl treatment.

Music

The Truth of Milli Vanilli a Generation Later

This musical duo that never really was a musical duo prepared a nation of adolescents for disappointment -- and the eventual acceptance of Auto-Tune.

David Himmel
Music

The Beach Boys - "Time to Get Alone"

While there are obvious downsides to the kind of discography that the Beach Boys have assembled -- it's dense, lengthy, and larded with inconsistent results -- one of the payoffs deserves special mention: those moments of discovery.

Culture

White Jumpsuits, Catsuited Babes, Pornstaches and Other Joys of ‘70s Sci-Fi Television

As the idealism of the ‘60s congealed into the malaise of the ‘70s, TV offered us small bands of forlorn humans in tight suits, roaming the stars. These are the “the starlost shows”.

Thomas Foster
Music

Eastern Dragons Meet Western Tigers: Wu-Tang Clan's Debut Helped Asian Films Find a New Audience

Quentin Tarantino himself arguably wouldn’t have been so emboldened to make the Kill Bill films without that fire set forth by the Wu’s debut.

Christopher Smith
Music

Lou Reed Owned the '70s

Perhaps because it represented his formation as a solo artist, his manifestation of “Lou Reed”, as opposed to “Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground”, Reed owned the '70s more than any other decade.

Music

Black Vinyl: Confessions of a Music Collector

When I touched a copy of the Beatles’ Rarities from The Odd, Older Man’s box of records, the hair stood on the back of my neck.

Kurt Wildermuth
Music

Rick Rubin's Soundtrack for 'Less Than Zero' Perfectly Emulates the Excessive '80s

While the crowd dances to the beat of Jimi Hendrix’s soul/psychedelic classic, “Fire”, Robert Downey, Jr.’s character has a moment of reflection, but casts it aside and throws himself into the dance.

Music

The Mysterious Legacy of Q Lazzarus' "Goodbye Horses"

Some 25 years ago, Q Lazzarus' sole hit, the hypnotic dance-thump that is "Goodbye Horses", soundtracked a fairly popular Jonathan Demme movie. Amazingly, it wasn't Silence With the Lambs. With an anniversary vinyl release upon us, we dig up even more facts about this glorious pop anomaly ...


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