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The Best Articles of the Year: Music
Kendrick Lamar, Hip-Hop’s Newest Old-School Star
‘Everybody just wants to have fun, be with the scene,” Kendrick Lamar said when we met in his cramped quarters inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last fall. “Certain people get backstage, people that you would never expect. . . .
How indie musicians are reinventing film music / The Dissolve
Our Exposition columns offer informed, compelling takes on issues around the movies, from opinions about the topics driving films today to reconsiderations of the movies of yesteryear.
Iggy Azalea and Realness in Hip-Hop
“First things first: I’m the realest.” This is the first line of “Fancy,” a single that has dominated the hip-hop charts since June.
Super Heroine: An Interview With Lorde
Although she had no music out at this time last year, by now Lorde requires no introduction. Seventeen years old, from New Zealand, with a richly hushed voice that she lays over minimal beats—you’ve heard all this. You’ve probably also heard her portrayed as some kind of alpha-Daria.
Nicki Minaj: Cheeky Genius
Nicki Minaj's eyeliner is a precision event, a marvel, as if drawn on by the kind of pre-programmed robot arm used for laparoscopic surgeries.
The Reinvention of Taylor Swift
She’s left country behind, sworn off dating and built a fortress around her heart So my brother comes home the other day," Taylor Swift says, "and he goes, 'Oh, my God – I just saw a guy walking down the street with a cat on his head.
Kanye West: A Brand-New Ye
Kanye West has been married for ten days, and he has that new-husband way with the ring still, pulling it on and off like it's something he might yet undo, or do again. The ring is gold, and understated in a way that not much else about Kanye West is.
Pomplamoose 2014 Tour Profits — Medium
Pomplamoose just finished a 28-day tour. We played 24 shows in 23 cities around the United States. It was awesome: Nataly crowd surfed for the first time ever, we sold just under $100,000 in tickets, and we got to rock out with people we love for a full month.
Creativity and the Brain: What We Can Learn From Jazz Musicians
Listening to jazz musicians improvise, how the piano player’s chords toy with the sax player’s runs and the standup bass player’s beats, it may seem like their music-making process is simply magic.
The American Band Championship Belt
When you decide that spending about 27 work hours determining the holders of the American Band Championship Belt going back to 1964 is a good, even noble idea, you quickly come up against two inconvenient facts.1 One, many of the best bands ever aren’t from the United States.
Sia Furler, the Socially Phobic Pop Star
Sia Furler walked into the Silver Lake studio 10 minutes late, ignoring the 22 keyboards and six guitars and giant speakers on her way to the blue velour sofa in the back.
Shut up and spend: inside the electronic music money machine
There was a time, not many years ago, when people used to ask each other what type of music they liked as a way of finding common ground.
Indie Rock’s R&B Movement Reaches Its Saturation Point
A few years back, a critical mass of musicians started making R&B steeped in the sort of art-damaged signifiers indie rock has traditionally claimed as its own.
Losing Yourself All Over Again
Few cities have as rich a cultural and sporting history as Detroit. From the ’80s Pistons to Bob Seger, Eminem to Miguel Cabrera, the Motor City is a rich tapestry of compelling figures, unbelievable moments, and uniquely American ingenuity.
Paul Morley: ‘Pop belongs to the last century. Classical music is more relevant to the future’
During the 1970s and 80s, I mostly listened to pop and rock music, when even the likes of Captain Beefheart, Henry Cow and Popul Vuh were filed under pop.
The Swedish Invasion
Do you like Swedish pop music? The answer is probably yes, even if you can’t name a single artist born in Sweden.
Steve Albini on the surprisingly sturdy state of the music industry – in full
Steve Albini is the producer (he prefers the term “recording engineer”) behind several thousand records. He is also a member of the band Shellac.
Wax and Wane: The Tough Realities Behind Vinyl's Comeback | Pitchfork
If we’re talking about vinyl in 2014, we have to talk about Jack White. In April, rock‘n’roll’s self-appointed analog evangelist celebrated Record Store Day by teaming up with United Record Pressing in Nashville to put out the “World’s Fastest Released Record.” At 10 a.m.
Twenty years after the Wu-Tang Clan invaded and radically altered hip-hop, Shaolin’s finest are struggling to reunite for one more album. Here, a 10-part portrait of how the legendary group lives apart today.
The Church of U2
A few years ago, I was caught up in a big research project about contemporary hymns (or “hymnody,” as they say in the trade). I listened to hundreds of hymns on Spotify; I interviewed a bunch of hymn experts.
The 100 Best Albums of the Decade So Far (2010-2014) | Pitchfork
It's been an interesting decade for the album. As the 2000s ended, conventional wisdom suggested that the album was on its way out, that the future would all be individual tracks and playlists.
Jack White’s Meg White Problem
Before Jack White envisioned the world in red and white, he saw Lime. Harry Lime, that is, the character played by Orson Welles in the classic 1949 noir The Third Man. A Welles fanatic, White quoted dialogue from Citizen Kane on the White Stripes’ 2001 commercial breakthrough, White Blood Cells.
This is the most sampled song ever
Samples and remixes have become a staple of pop music today, with artists blending new and old in seemingly endless combinations. According to the BBC, though, one song has proven particularly popular among DJs and musicians: "Change the Beat," by Fab 5 Freddy.
Stairway to Heaven: The Song Remains Pretty Similar
Weary from touring, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page retreated in 1970 to a stone cottage in Wales, called Bron-Yr-Aur, with no power or running water. Legend has it King Arthur fought his last battle nearby.
In Defense Of Ms. Hill
Yasiin Bey and I make beautiful music together. We are yin and yang, our styles complement each other very nicely. While it’s always a treat for us to perform together as Black Star, the style and pace of our solo performances are different.
Streaming Music Has Left Me Adrift
It’s hard to imagine now, but there once was a time when you could not play any song ever recorded, instantly, from your phone. I call this period adolescence. It lasted approximately 30 years, and it was galvanized by conflict.
Swedish Pop Mafia
How a culturally conservative effort in the 1940s backfired to create the greatest engine of pop music in the world.
Chief Defends Spotify After Snub by Taylor Swift
Spotify is the future. Spotify is the enemy. Spotify doesn’t pay enough. Spotify is music’s best bet for revenue growth. Since it arrived in the United States from Sweden in 2011, Spotify has been cast as both hero and villain in the music industry’s continuing debate over streaming music.