Listen To Tons Of B.B. King Today

Blues legend B.B. King died late last night, at 89, in his Las Vegas home, relatively peacefully. He’d been one of those guys who logged 100 shows a year even pushing 90, but he’d been laid up after canceling a 2014 jaunt due to dehydration, exhaustion, and other such complications of diabetes. You may be thinking of… » 5/15/15 9:47am 5/15/15 9:47am

The-Dream's Jewel EP Is Gonna Be Great

Man, R&B producer/singer/songwriter/legend Terius Nash, better known as The-Dream, is so, so good, even if his last full-length album, 2014’s IV Play, was not. But this year has brought us the old Radio Killa we know and love. Last month, he dropped the excellent six-song Crown EP; on July 10, he’ll follow that up… » 5/14/15 3:52pm 5/14/15 3:52pm

Wimpy White Dudes With Guitars Ruined American Idol

American Idol is finally dead, to the delight of those who’ve always hated it, and the relief of those who used to love it. At the peak of its reign, the show was everything to everyone: the launching pad for the pop careers of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Hicks; the linchpin of the Fox prime-time… » 5/13/15 12:35pm 5/13/15 12:35pm

Astral Years: A Seeker's Guide To Van Morrison In The '80s 

Van Morrison has recorded the song “Irish Heartbeat” three times in the past 32 years. It appears most recently on his new record, Duets: Re-working the Catalogue, accompanied by Mark Knopfler. The arrangement and instrumentation are renewed, too; the song is structured to feel more ventilated and relaxed, like a… » 4/27/15 1:49pm 4/27/15 1:49pm

Young Thug Is Digging Deeper, And Getting Better

Young Thug’s The Barter VI met with mixed reactions when it surfaced online a week ago, a seeming anti-climax after months of snowballing hype and controversy. All things considered, the album is a bold move for Thug, counterintuitive as it may seem for such a low-key project. But his fans’ initial ambivalence isn’t… » 4/23/15 1:36pm 4/23/15 1:36pm

The "Blurred Lines" Verdict Is Bad News, Even If You Hate Robin Thicke

Thanks to the decision of a Los Angeles jury yesterday afternoon, pop-music fans have a fun, frightening new game to play: Who's Next? No, not named after the Who album—though maybe its infamous pissing-on-the-wall cover shot might now inspire a lawsuit from Andrew Loog Oldham, who as the Rolling Stones' manager… » 3/11/15 1:31pm 3/11/15 1:31pm

Yes, The Grammys Are Dumb, But It's Not Beck's Fault

So everyone's gonna argue about Beck for a few days, which is a mixed blessing for everyone, Beck included. And, look. He should not have won the Grammy for Album of the Year. I can think of at least nine reasons why. This is all mildly embarrassing, and yet inevitable, as we're talking about the Grammys, and the… » 2/10/15 11:14am 2/10/15 11:14am

Kind Of Weird: How The Köln Concert Made Keith Jarrett A Pop Star

The most improbably exhilarating record I've ever heard was recorded 40 years ago, at a special late show in the Cologne Opera House, in front of a youthful capacity crowd. It's likely the only opera-related album I've ever listened to more than once, but that's fitting, since few of the 1,400 young Germans in… » 2/05/15 3:26pm 2/05/15 3:26pm

Rae Sremmurd Have A Dumb Name And The First Great Pop Album Of 2015

So Rae Sremmurd are two yelping, early-twentysomething, pop-rapping Mississippian brothers who've earned a ton of comparisons to the '90s tween sensations Kris Kross, all of them unwelcome. Which is understandable: These guys are nearly twice as old (and ribald), determined to stick around for way longer, and… » 1/07/15 11:38am 1/07/15 11:38am

Taylor Swift's 1989 Proves That "Pop" Doesn't Mean Anything Anymore

These are trying times to find oneself still riding for Taylor Swift, the Artist. As a celebrity, as a mostly willing punchline, as a cultural nemesis, as a content generator, she's never been bigger or better—this week alone, she's made cat noises, continued stalking her own fans on social media, preened courtside ( » 10/31/14 12:44pm 10/31/14 12:44pm

Dance Like Everyone's Watching: The Strange, Exalted World Of FKA Twigs

Have you seen Pina? It's a dazzling 2011 documentary—a dancer's tribute, really—to the pioneering contemporary German choreographer Pina Bausch, who died unexpectedly during the film's production. Other than Mia Michaels, who choreographed and judged the first five seasons of So You Think You Can Dance, it was the… » 8/08/14 4:03pm 8/08/14 4:03pm

Why I Love So You Think You Can Dance, Dopey (Or Dead) Dads And All

Less than 10 minutes into the first episode of the 11th season of Fox's So You Think You Can Dance, a contestant's dad was onstage dancing to "Blurred Lines." To begin, he set a water bottle on the floor before him, and then, as though initiating an ancient mating ritual, he approached and hovered above that artifact… » 7/16/14 2:17pm 7/16/14 2:17pm

Paramore's "Ain't It Fun" Is The Summer Jam Twitter Desperately Needs

It's a pleasantly sweaty June night at the bucolic, Live Nation-owned Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Mass., and Hayley Williams looks like she's ready for a fight. The lead singer of Paramore is sporting the kind of high-waisted shorts, knee braces, and white high-tops you might associate with a sparring boxer. But… » 7/07/14 2:36pm 7/07/14 2:36pm