Chastity Belt's latest is a killer album, laid back but upbeat, honest and laser sharp, a highly unified piece of work by four people who know exactly what they want to say and how to say it.
11 Jun 2017
In "First We Take Manhattan", Leonard Cohen recognized the shared appeal of extremism in politics and art as the allure of power.
14 May 2017
America's working poor exist in a shadow cast by the harsh light of prosperity. "Working Poor" speaks from those shadows, creates light within that space, and insists on being heard.
12 Jul 2016
Their style is loose, but not without form; cluttered, though sometimes spare; common, but not ordinary; discounted, but not cheap; public, but out-of-the-way; historical, but liable to disappear at any moment.
14 Jun 2016
The Life of Pablo is an ideological attack against the pop institutions that continually try to mystify art and control the artist's identity for profit.
03 Apr 2016
When you see and hear a group of children in star-spangled cheerleader outfits lip-syncing the words “Cowardice! Are you serious?” to an EDM reworking of the 1917 patriotic song “Over There”, that is the moment you should wake up.
06 Mar 2016
As we use the term today, authenticity allows no truth from art, only from artists. It visits art the way one visits a subway station or an airport: to get to somewhere else.
03 Feb 2016
The working class song has to speak of boundaries and ambition, but it also has to say where the performer stands among the people, among the classes—or where he thinks he stands, or wants to stand.
11 Jan 2016
Is it possible that the very idea of the working class doesn't exist in popular music today -- as if it's been erased?
09 Nov 2015
"Hell You Talmbout" and "Cry No More" are a new kind of protest song that reintroduces traditional minimalism and congregational singing into this contemporary moment.
13 Sep 2015
Both rockists and poptimists treat music as not much more than a social commodity, a consumerized product within the spectacle of American capitalism.
09 Aug 2015
Complicated, fabulous and deeply progressive, Angels in America may be more pressing and relevant in the time of SCOTUS' decision on marriage equality than it was during the height of the AIDS crises.
08 Jul 2015
The problem isn't that Rihanna's "American Oxygen" fails as political art, it's that we might consider it a success instead of a mere gesture.
05 May 2015
Disturbing, funny, alluring and repulsive in a uniquely American way that no one likes to admit, The Voices should trouble you.
23 Mar 2015
Time (The Revelator) conjures a hazy post-millennial American dream of disappointment and ambition that's disturbed by what it sees and hears.
18 Jun 2014
There are times when you hear Kurt Cobain sing that you believe no other voice has ever told the truth about suffering. But it's more complicated than that, isn't it?
06 Apr 2014
While most pop singers bounce from one marketable persona to another, Janelle Monáe stands her ground in this Afrofuturist vision she's been creating for about a decade. Other pop artists are tourists; she's building a city.
28 Oct 2013
Traditionalism is the key to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, beginning with their devotion to the past -- but it's a past with all the rough edges, those cuts that make us bleed, rendered dull and ineffectual.
18 Aug 2013
In "Accidental Racist", history is a generic blob, a "back then" that can safely take the blame for vague injustices while more recent history is overlooked in order to soothe one's own ego. 'Cause these days, it's All About You.
06 Jun 2013
Critically, commercially and historically, gospel is the great overlooked American music, maybe because few genres of music force you to confront your beliefs so immediately.
17 Apr 2013
Listening to the NRA's Wayne LaPierre speak around the massacring of children without missing a beat, it's easy to agree with Lewis Black that this century is starting to look just as physically dangerous as the last one—even if, as Steven Pinker claims, it's actually more peaceful.
18 Mar 2013
On negotiations between the pop/rock singer, a media-savvy audience, corporations, and meaning itself. Entranced by media, we turn everything into media; beholden to commerce, we turn life into a commodity.
29 Nov 2012
Why has Springsteen set aside his storytelling in favor of social jeremiads? Who is he singing to? Why is he trying to do something different now, or is it just, as some critics claim, his brand of righteous rock as usual? The critical questions are not about the subjects, but instead, style, method and strategy.
07 Jun 2012
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