January 25, 2009 |
The winter-and-spring mix of pop-music releases is never so blockbuster-packed as the holiday shopping season, but there are still some heavy-duty headliners on the way. Some of the world's biggest rockers and rappers reclaim the spotlight, while the ur-jam band comes back to life. And the returns of a smart-mouthed British wit and a sultry Philadelphia chanteuse are among the subtler musical pleasures in the months ahead. Lily Allen, It's Not Me, It's You. The smart-mouthed Brit who made a fabulously cheeky splash with 2007's Alright, Still comes back with another comma in her album title.
May 10, 1987 |
Major players in the black/urban music and radio business gathered recently at Bally's Park Place Casino Hotel for "Super Summit Conference," sponsored by the music-industry tipsheet Impact. Included on the "Trendsetter" panel were Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the hottest writing-producing team in - forget black music - the whole of pop music. The floor was open for questions. "Jimmy and Terry," queried a disc-jockey voice that could give a bullfrog pause, "can you clear up the rumors regarding the Time reunion and movie?
February 3, 1993 |
And now, here's something for the youngsters," Ed Sullivan used to say in his half-apologetic introductions for longhaired bands such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Animals when they performed on his variety show. Nowadays, with those "youngsters" of yore sitting in the prime easy chair, American television no longer treats popular music as the pimply little monster only let out to play for a few minutes on weekends. Pop is the soundtrack of America's collective life.
September 3, 2006 |
Justin Timberlake is doing the anxiety-ridden post-9/11 world a huge favor. He's bringing "SexyBack. " Have the Sept. 11 attacks had as profound an effect on pop music as they did on geopolitics? Yep. They've made it sillier. Not exclusively, of course. Along with a parade of Pussycat Dolls and "Promiscuous" boys and girls, there have been serious responses to the tragic events of that clear blue day. The most impressive, by far, has been Bruce Springsteen's The Rising, which did its inspirational best in 2002 to make sense of the rubble left behind.
August 16, 1990 |
For a pop music lover, plugging into a good cause has never been easier or more entertaining. The biggest flurry of charity albums ever to be released in a single year is coming between now and the holiday season. Just buy, enjoy, and take your tax deduction (where applicable.) Music Speaks Louder Than Words (Epic) celebrates the spirit of glasnost, with a catchy collection of light rock and soul songs jointly composed in Russia (in November 1988) by seasoned U.S. writers and the best pop tunesmiths from the USSR.
February 10, 1992 |
Rage, it seems, is all the rage in pop music nowadays. Last month, the rap group Public Enemy released a controversial video titled "By the Time I Get to Arizona," which portrays rapper Chuck D leading a paramilitary force on a mission to kill Arizona politicians for opposing the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The clip also features simulated footage of 1960s civil rights marches. Critics say the Public Enemy clip is representative of an upsurge in hateful lyrics and visuals in pop music.
April 19, 2009 |
No money that's why I'm mad Need a livin' that's why I rap . . . I'm cheap, can't brag about what I got My five-star meals come from IHOP. - Rugged N Raw, "I'm Broke and Proud" You're losin' your job, your house and your car Hittin' rock bottom don't feel that far Nothin' good is gonna come along All I can do is play this song. - Loudon Wainwright III, "Times Is Hard" Pop music escapism isn't about to go out of fashion, but hard times are back in style.
April 10, 1993 |
Check the United States Golf Association rule book. What does it say about a player listening to Pearl Jam on his Walkman in the middle of his backswing? That would be covered by Rule 14-3, "Artificial Devices and Unusual Equipment," which states that a "player shall not use any unusual equipment: (a) which might assist him in making a stroke, (b) for the purpose of measuring distance, or (c) which might assist him in gripping the club. " That is good news for Triton junior John Hagerty 3d, who resorted to musical assistance last week as a way to clear his head and break out of a rare slump.
May 15, 1994 |
Every year in mid-March, a horde of music-business types descends on this bursting-with-talent town for the South by Southwest Music & Media Conference (SXSW), and is amazed at the breadth of Texas music. There are conjunto accordionists. Red-hot blues guitarists. Left-of-center country pickers. Singer-songwriters of every stripe. Unencumbered by major- label recording contracts, they play Austin clubs year-round, refining their musicianship, developing their stagecraft and not making a whole lot of money in the process.
March 9, 1986 |
Pop music is by now so pervasive in the background of movies that few mass- market films do not yield sound-track albums. Ever since the massive success of the sound track to Saturday Night Fever in 1977 - a two-record set that sold more than 30 million copies - pop music has been used with increasing sophistication as popular art and as a marketing tool. The latest development in sound-track-album fever is the insertion of pop music into movies that might not necessarily seem appropriate vehicles.