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The Best Articles of the Year
Josh Gordon and the NFL’s Drug Problem
Back in May, news leaked that Pro Bowl Browns receiver Josh Gordon had tested positive for marijuana. He had done so before, as a rookie, and then tested positive for codeine a year ago. With this, his third offense, he’s facing a yearlong ban from the NFL.
How Much College Quarterbacks Are Worth
This February, amid the ongoing debate about whether college athletes should be paid, the University of Iowa’s Athletic Director Gary Barta went on TV and said he wasn’t in favor of paying athletes because doing so would be too complicated.
Bill Walsh’s Coaching Tapes: An Enduring Genius
Editor’s note: This is the third in The MMQB’s 10-part series NFL 95: A History of Pro Football in 95 Objects, commemorating the 95th season of the NFL in 2014.
Revisiting the Y2K-Compliant Quarterbacks
Nearly 15 years later, I remember three things about Y2K.
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.
How to Scale Yourself and Get More Done Than You Thought Possible
This counterintuitive advice is one of a dozen-plus productivity practices preached by Scott Hanselman, a program manager at Microsoft, author and avid blogger and speaker. Hanselman's not the person you'd to expect to hear encourage dropping the ball and discourage burning the midnight oil.
The Disease of Being Busy
I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: “I’m so busy… I am so busy… have so much going on.” Almost immediately after, I ran into another friend and asked him how he was.
No Time to Think
ONE of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is “super busy,” “crazy busy” or “insanely busy.” Nobody is just “fine” anymore.
The Physics of Productivity: Newton’s Laws of Getting Stuff Done
In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his groundbreaking book, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which described his three laws of motion. In the process, Newton laid the foundation for classical mechanics and redefined the way the world looked at physics and science.
70% of Time Could Be Used Better - How the Best CEOs Get the Most Out of Every Day
The average tech CEO works about 300 days a year, 14 hours a day. That’s 4,200 hours a year. The stats for most other tech leaders and startup employees aren’t too far off. It sounds like a lot of time, but for most, it’s not enough. Nearly 30% of that time gets sunk into email.
25+ apps to make your everyday life easier
At our small, fast-moving nonprofit company, everyone does a couple of jobs — and productivity apps help us manage roles that shift between coding, writing/designing and running a full-scale conference twice a year. We asked the TED staff what apps they can’t live without.
For A More Ordered Life, Organize Like A Chef
Americans are obsessed with celebrity chefs. We talk about them, tweet about them and try to eat like them. But could we learn something more from them than recipes and technique?
Getting Over Procrastination
Want to hear my favorite procrastination joke? I’ll tell you later. Piers Steel, a psychologist at the University of Calgary, has saved up countless such lines while researching the nature of procrastination. Formerly a terrible procrastinator himself, he figures a dose of humor can’t hurt.
Stop People from Wasting Your Time
We’re all too busy, spending our days in back-to-back meetings and our nights feverishly responding to emails. (Adam Grant, a famously responsive Wharton professor, told me that on an “average day” he’ll spend 3-4 hours answering messages.
6 CEO Productivity Tips to Steal for Yourself
Everyone knows that leading a company is one of the toughest gigs around.
How to Stop Time
IN the unlikely event that we could ever unite under the banner of a single saint, it might just be St. Expeditus.
5 Things You Should be Doing to Have an Insanely Productive Week
A productive week depends largely on what you focus on every working day and how much time you allocate to activities that take up your time (i.e. busy work). Working harder does not necessarily mean you are being productive. There will always be a better way to complete that task.
The Exact Amount Of Time You Should Work Every Day
Editor's Note: This is one of the most-read leadership articles of 2014. Click here to see the full list. You know that taking frequent breaks is good for your productivity, focus, and creativity, but you just never seem to get around to it.
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture, launched a billion dollar self-help industry, alienated my generation, and killed uncounted people through its wild pursuit.
20 Time-Management Lessons Everyone Should Learn In Their 20s
Reuters/Tony GentileWhen you're just starting your career, you need all the help you can get managing your time. Even when you're working hard, you could be wasting a tremendous amount of time either by trying to multitask or by focusing too much on minute details.
Discovering Two Screens Aren’t Better Than One
For years, techies have argued that getting an extra monitor or two for your desktop computer is an especially effective way to increase personal productivity. The logic seemed airtight: Two (or more) computer monitors means more room on your virtual desktop, which means more room to do your work.
5 Incredibly Effective Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder
Regular readers know I definitely believe in the power of hard work. As Jimmy Spithill, skipper of Team Oracle USA, says, "Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy." But we can all work smarter, too.
My Secret To Ridiculous Productivity. (I’m Using It Now)
I’m not saying this to brag–although I am certainly proud of these accomplishments. I am saying these things to prove that I know what I am talking about when it comes to productivity. Right now–as I type–I have a timer ticking down.