Tag: Pop and Rock Music

Taylor Swift Emerges From the Darkness Unbroken on ‘Lover’

Two years ago, Taylor Swift was painted into a corner, and lashed out. “Reputation,” her sixth album, was her darkest, her most aggrieved and, not coincidentally, her most stylistically experimental. She was already a pop star, but “Reputation” was when she arrived into the understanding that klieg lights can scald. Often a conscientious objector, she […]

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Portishead’s ‘Dummy’ Is 25. The Band Asks That You Play It Loud.

In the summer of 1994, when American alternative rock kids were kicking up mud to Nine Inch Nails and Green Day, “Dummy,” the debut album from the Bristol, U.K.-based group Portishead, rolled in like a moody fog. While it was rooted in the hip-hop production techniques of sampling, scratching, crate-digging and loop-making, “Dummy” was a […]

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Taylor Swift’s ‘Lover’ Arrives the Old-Fashioned Way, and With Twists

As the pop music landscape has shifted over and over again this decade, major artists have repeatedly attempted to reinvent the album release for a digital time: There have been surprise albums, visual albums, albums edited after-the-fact, albums with little notice and no advance singles, streaming-only albums, video-only albums and so on. And then there […]

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Neil Young’s Lonely Quest to Save Music

Neil Young is crankier than a hermit being stung by bees. He hates Spotify. He hates Facebook. He hates Apple. He hates Steve Jobs. He hates what digital technology is doing to music. “I’m only one person standing there going, ‘Hey, this is [expletive] up!’ ” he shouted, ranting away on the porch of his longtime […]

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How Ahmed Gallab, Sudanese-American Musician, Spends His Sundays

Ahmed Gallab is the frontman for the band Sinkane, which blends Krautrock, prog rock, electronic music, free jazz and funk rock with some Sudanese pop thrown in. Born in London, Mr. Gallab then lived in Sudan until he was 5. After that, he grew up mostly in Ohio, but he has always embraced his Sudanese […]

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In Central Park, a Concert for Immigrant Rights. And Selena.

Doris Muñoz saw the crowd streaming in — grandmothers, young children and college students, many outfitted in Selena T-shirts — and pulled out her phone. “I had to FaceTime my mom and just cry it out,” she said recently. It was July of last year, and Muñoz, a Los Angeles-based music promoter and manager, was […]

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At ‘Black Woodstock,’ an All-Star Lineup Delivered Joy and Renewal to 300,000

Woodstock was big and messy, thrilling and stirring — and summed up finally by Jimi Hendrix, whose festival-closing set included his towering, take-a-knee reading of the national anthem. It was an admixture of disaffection and patriotism, bold as love and black as hell. But Hendrix was one of the few black musicians at an event […]

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Sleater-Kinney Grasps at a New Sound on ‘The Center Won’t Hold’

The idea sounded promising. Sleater-Kinney, the three-woman band that arose from the riot grrrl movement to make smart, knotty, engaged, passionately ambitious indie rock, was getting produced by Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, a songwriter with startling ideas and constantly shifting guises. The result is “The Center Won’t Hold,” an album that all […]

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‘Yellow Submarine’ & Me

The whimsical animated musical about the Beatles delights me in new ways thanks to daily viewings with my 4-year-old. ImageLike this toy inspired by the movie, “Yellow Submarine” appeals to children.CreditTony Cenicola/The New York Times Part of being a parent to a 4-year-old is surrendering yourself to the routines and rituals that govern your child’s […]

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Henri Belolo, a Founder of the Village People, Dies at 82

Henri Belolo, a creator of the Village People, the disco group that found mainstream success by performing campy songs like “Y.M.C.A.” while attired as macho archetypes, died on Aug. 3 at his home in Paris. He was 82. His son Jonathan said the cause was pancreatic cancer. Mr. Belolo had been a music producer and […]

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David Berman, Silver Jews Leader and Indie-Rock Poet, Dies at 52

David Berman, the reluctant songwriter and poet whose dry baritone and wry, wordy compositions anchored Silver Jews, a critically lauded staple of the 1990s indie-rock scene, died on Wednesday. He was 52. His death was announced by his record label, Drag City, which released music by Silver Jews and Berman’s latest band, Purple Mountains. We […]

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How Woodstock Hobbled the American Rock Festival for 30 Years

For the hundreds of thousands of people who descended on Bethel, N.Y., over a rainy weekend in August 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was a defining cultural moment — a peaceful demonstration of the glories of rock music, with a starry lineup including Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Santana, the Grateful Dead and a […]

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Review: In ‘Bat Out of Hell,’ Paradise by the LED Light

Let’s say you’re just a girl or just a boy on a hot summer night in a dark city street with a heart pumping blood and a soul spurting dreams and a profound investment in Meat Loaf’s back catalog. Vroom into New York City Center. Jim Steinman’s “Bat Out of Hell: The Musical,” directed by […]

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5 Woodstock Myths, Debunked

Fifty years after Woodstock, legends about the music festival are tightly braided with the reality of its three chaotic days. The 1969 show was muddy enough (literally and figuratively) for many people to believe both the myths and the debunking, sometimes simultaneously. Even the name of Woodstock doesn’t hold up to cursory fact-checking, as most […]

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This Summer Stinks. But at Least We’ve Got ‘Old Town Road.’

[embedded content] America may be split over the meaning of its national anthem, but there was no argument about the anthem that ruled this summer: Everywhere you went, wherever you looked, we were all riding til we couldn’t no more. The song’s twangy, earworming jubilation crossed generations and genres, infecting kids on TikTok and grandparents […]

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How Santana Hallucinated Through One of Woodstock’s Best Sets (His Own)

“Every Woodstock musician I’ve talked to, when asked what performances they liked, immediately cites Santana as an obvious mega-highlight,” said Andy Zax, the co-producer of “Woodstock — Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive,” a mammoth 38-CD boxed set released on Aug. 2. Santana, a psychedelic jam band from San Francisco that incorporated […]

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Excavating the Lost Work of Peter Laughner, a Rock ’n’ Roll Tragedy

In the four decades since his death, Peter Laughner has become something of a punk rock Rorschach blot. Is he an underground icon, historical footnote, tragic figure, cautionary tale of unrealized potential, rock ’n’ roll cliché, or some combination of the above? Laughner (pronounced LOCK-ner), a guitarist and singer-songwriter, was a member of the Cleveland […]

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Barry Manilow Just Wanted to Write the Songs. He’s Still Singing Them.

“What if we did ‘I Write the Songs’ in E?” Barry Manilow asked. He was rehearsing, layered in black, in a nearly empty Lunt-Fontanne Theater in Midtown Manhattan, preparing for his fifth Broadway run since 1977, a hit-packed show called “Manilow Broadway.” The goal was to ease a transition from “Somewhere in the Night” to […]

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Joan Baez on 3 Days of Pregnancy and Priggishness at Woodstock

Two months before Woodstock, Joan Baez released her 11th LP, “David’s Album.” The title referred to her husband at the time, David Harris, who, by the early Saturday morning Baez sang, was in prison for resisting the draft. Baez was also six months pregnant and the most politically active artist on the bill, with a […]

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