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'Live at Carnegie Hall' Captures Bill Withers at His Grittiest and Most Introspective

Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Matchbox Twenty: Aren't We All a Little "Unwell" in the Time of Coronavirus?

Say what you will about Matchbox Twenty – I know I once did. But during this COVID-19 pandemic, we're all going "crazy" and feeling "a little unwell" in this time of isolation, and I'm turning to their music.

Music

'Piano Duets' Asserts Ella Fitzgerald's Interpretive Greatness

Though called "The First Lady of Song", Ella Fitzgerald is more lauded for her spectacular vocal sound than for her interpretations of lyrics, but a new reissue should help correct that understanding of her art.

Music

Nirvana's 'MTV Unplugged in New York' 25 Years Later

Recorded in late 1993 and achieving notoriety as leader Kurt Cobain's epitaph, Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York is back for a 25th anniversary reissue. Are the new rehearsal tracks enough to justify buying the album again?

Music

'Blue', 'Tapestry', and Oil: Or, Oil Capitalism in Two Key Singer-Songwriter Albums

Joni Mitchell's Blue and Carole King's Tapestry were fueled by petroculture, which powered the rise of feminism in music. How? Read on.

Music

Aretha Franklin: Context, Intersectionality, and the Rock Canon

Viewing Aretha Franklin's work through a focus on race, gender, and other categories of analysis can challenge us to do the same with all music, acknowledging how multiple points of oppression and privilege impact the production, consumption, and reception of a wide range of music.

Music

10 Conversation-Shifting Contemporary Books About Music

These are multiple works of genre history and works tackling important issues of race, class, and gender. All challenge dominant narratives of music.

Music

Is Brilliant Appropriation a Contradiction? On Gillian Welch and Pastiche

The historical references the virtuosic instrumental work, and the stunning close harmonies all took intelligence and skill to master, but that doesn't mean that Time (The Revelator) should be beyond critique.

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.

Joshua Friedberg
Music

The Fluke That Wasn't: Reconsidering the Success of Ray Charles' Country Music Landmark

How did Ray Charles become a key face and voice for country music in the '60s?

Joshua Friedberg
Music

Textbook Oppositions and Alternatives: Re-Thinking the Role of Race in '60s Rock and Soul Music

Black rock musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, and Arthur Lee (Love), as well as white soul musicians in the racially integrated bands playing on recordings of singers like Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, existed during the '60s. So why is rock and soul so black and white?

Josh Friedberg
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