Music

MusicWeekend

K-Popsicle: Gfriend, Taemin, Red Velvet, Mamamoo

by Lucas Fagen on September 24, 2016

Post image for K-Popsicle: Gfriend, Taemin, Red Velvet, Mamamoo

Faced with the choice between genuine American pop music and the perfect facsimiles crafted by foreign scientist-geniuses running computer algorithms on said pop music (you think I’m exaggerating; read John Seabrook), I’d still pick the American stuff.

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Post image for How Do Rock Heroes Sing?: Beyoncé, Rihanna, and the Megastar Vocal Style

The relevant split isn’t rock vs. pop (both are “pop” artists) but expressive vs. functional, always the key distinction in how pop music presents itself.

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Post image for Prince’s ‘Sign o’ the Times,’ Part II (The Law of Genre)

Since genre is a perceived, externally imposed category rather than an intrinsic musical element, the job of assigning genre usually falls to the critic.

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Post image for Prince’s ‘Sign o’ the Times,’ Part I (A Solitary Genius)

For an ostensible masterpiece, Prince’s Sign o’ the Times (1987) is suspiciously lacking in overt concept.

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Post image for In His New Trio of Releases, Frank Ocean Crafts a Mortal Self-Image

At a time when we swipe through thousands of images a day and cruise through thousands of paintings in an hour at an art fair, it’s only the rarest of artworks that we return to again and again.

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Post image for World Music Doesn’t Exist: Aki Kumar, Lakuta, Metin Batur/Mamed Dzafarov, Choose Amore

There are critics out there made so uncomfortable by how foreign music is marketed to Western listeners, especially Europeans, that they’ve sworn off any sort of foreign style.

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Post image for Gender Menders: Anohni, RuPaul, Gwen Stefani, Now That’s What I Call Country

Like the idiot I am, I got Grimes’s Art Angels very wrong when it surfaced last year.

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MusicWeekend

Eleven Stories by Brandy Clark

by Lucas Fagen on July 23, 2016

Post image for Eleven Stories by Brandy Clark

Country singer Brandy Clark’s new album, Big Day in a Small Town, out since June, is rocking loud and jangling pretty, but the temptation to treat her foremost as a lyricist remains.

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Post image for They Might Be Assholes: Jake Bugg, Panic! at the Disco, The 1975, Drake

The artists featured below have little in common beyond deeply questionable, occasionally revolting public personas and a stubborn willingness to produce compelling art from these personas. Why do some succeed and others fail drastically?

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MusicWeekend

Chance the Rapper’s Musical Playground

by Lucas Fagen on June 18, 2016

Post image for Chance the Rapper’s Musical Playground

Not since fellow Chicago icon Kanye West’s The College Dropout in 2004 has a rapper invented a totally new aesthetic so happy, so inspirational, so kind and funny and friendly and committed to making everybody feel welcome.

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