Category Archives: Music

My Sweet George

Why are we sometimes moved to tears when famous artists die? I thought of this question while pondering the anniversary of George Harrison’s death today. I did not know George Harrison. I never met him. Yet when I learned of … Continue reading

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Why I Listen to Bad Sinatra

On a cold November afternoon, I’ve immersed myself in a bad Frank Sinatra album from 1974, Some Nice Things I’ve Missed. Why would I do that? Because experiencing an artist’s lesser work helps you understand them better, like reading chapters … Continue reading

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Paul McCartney’s September Surprise

Great artists surprise you. At this point in his life, Sir Paul McCartney has everything: fame, fortune, and enduring love from devoted fans at a global scale. He has created history. And yet, on “I Don’t Know,” the lead single … Continue reading

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Drake’s “Scorpion” Defines Success in the Streaming Era — for Better or Worse

The glory years for the record album are over, but the record album isn’t dead yet. In the age of streaming, it actually might benefit artists to release long albums consisting of multiple tracks, as the success of Drake’s Scorpion demonstrates. … Continue reading

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Thank You, Sir Paul

We needed Paul McCartney this past week. Fortunately, we got him. This was the kind of week that made me want to declare a media blackout. The news was dominated by ugly reports about immigrant children being ripped from their … Continue reading

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Five Great Songs about Summer

Welcome to the season of sticky sno-cones, loud suburban street festivals, and music spilling out of open windows of fast cars. And music always makes the summer season. To celebrate the arrival of summer, check out these five great songs … Continue reading

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The Train Is Coming

The minstrel warned us that the train is coming. On an oppressively hot June night in Chicago, Robert Plant sang 13 songs of longing, joy, and carnality with a voice that has grown sweeter and softer over 69 years. His … Continue reading

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“This Is America” Reignites a Musical Resistance

The musical resistance just came roaring back with the release of the searing “This Is America,” by the irrepressible Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover). Here is a song that reminds us of music’s power to provoke and confront society in … Continue reading

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The Best and Worst Musicians in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Music purists love to trash the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for being a creaky institution run by out-of-touch guardians of all that is old and irrelevant. And yet, music writers can’t stop talking about the Hall, which, ironically, … Continue reading

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6 Reasons Why Jack White is the Lord of Vinyl

In 2017, sales of vinyl records rose for the 12th straight year. Although vinyl records still account for only 8.5 percent of total album sales, their 14.32 units sold in 2017 represent the most since Nielsen began tracking record sales … Continue reading

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