Music

Can Music Survive Without the Teenybopper Fangirl?

Sandra Canosa

To an outsider, the gathering of Beliebers in such large proportions can be dizzying, if not downright menacing: strange words to ascribe mostly prepubescent girls in the awkward middle stages of growth spurts, hormonal changes, and corrective braces and eyewear. But the apparent strength of their allegiance to Justin – whose music and lyrics are mostly innocuous, if not downright dumb, to most grown adults or “serious” music fans – is what is most disorienting. The communal desires, the vast groupthink, and the worship of a (false?) idol smells of blind consumerism at best and fascism at worst. 

The Opera Industry’s Struggle to Remain Relevant

Angelo Franco

In the fall of 2013, the NYCO filed for bankruptcy. The demise of this major opera company has prompted a series of questions regarding the status of opera as an art form within the modern community, its relevancy, and contributions to society.  While there seems to be a general consensus that opera is struggling, there is discord as to what the industry can do to salvage its future, or if there is anything it can do to begin with.  

Satan, Saturn, and Rock’n’Roll: The Mythology of the 27 Club

Sandra Canosa

Alan Wilson of Canned Heat, Pete Ham of Badfinger, Pigpen McKernan of the Grateful Dead, Kristen Pfaff of Hole, Chris Bell of Big Star, and Amy Winehouse have all passed in the midst of their prime, at age 27. Some comprehensive lists span 50 names or more. It is an uncanny fact that more musicians seem to die at age 27 than at any other age – one that, since Cobain’s death in 1994, have sent conspiracy theorists reeling. 

Exploring Seattle’s Thriving Music Scene

Melinda Parks

It’s no wonder Seattle has been dubbed the “City of Music.” A small town, geographically isolated from mainstream record industries in New York, Chicago, and LA and steeped in the independent spirit of its northwest settlers, Seattle eventually gave rise to an innovative and wholly unique musical scene. In the late 60s, it gave the world rock legend Jimi Hendrix. In the late ‘80s, its underground hardcore punk and heavy metal influences fused to create grunge, made popular nationwide by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. As the ‘90s gave way to the aughts, it became a launching pad for a host of indie rock bands (think Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, or The Head and the Heart).

Why Beyonce’s Superstardom Doesn’t Fade

Mary Kinney

Beyond this, by launching an album unannounced at midnight, Beyoncé allowed everyone to listen and interpret at the same time: this is rare nowadays. The Internet has codified and decentralized the listening and viewing periods, so it is very much about the individual listening right now rather than what everyone is watching because it's on MTV. Comments sections and major launches often create a rush on YouTube or other listening sites, but these shared experiences are extremely rare. For the first time in ages, critics and fans had a shared experience Because of this phenomenon, most reviews were written within mere hours of Beyoncé’s release. The initial reactions were in consensus: unabashed praise.

Eternal Summer of Love: The Evolution of the Music Festival

Sandra Canosa

This summer, chances are you’ll never be too far away from a music festival. For every dog day weekend of the high summer months, there’s an outdoor festival to match in every stretch of the country, of every genre, and of every shape and size. From the behemoth veteran multi-day festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza to backyard one-offs, inner-city park stages, and burgeoning neo-Woodstock imitators popping up around every corner, the dawn of the 21st century has breathed a vigorous new life into the music festival concept.

Modern Feminism: The Role of Women in Music

Sandra Canosa

Miley Cyrus’ responses were flippant, and she denies acting as a role model for anyone – including her largely young-teens female fanbase. But that’s just the thing: as minorities in the music business, women out front-and-center like Miley serve as representatives for the population at large, whether they intend to or not. They serve to inform other females about culturally acceptable modes of behavior and how to express their sexuality while at the same time teaching men what to expect and/or desire from women.

Simple As This: Is Jake Bugg the New Bob Dylan?

Melinda Parks

To see him play live, you would hardly know that Jake Bugg is just a kid. Feet planted before the microphone, head bobbing up and down to the rhythm of his guitar strumming, he exudes the subdued confidence of a more seasoned performer. His voice – distinctively nasal, irresistibly British – carries strongly over the crowd, sounding impressively similar to his studio recordings. He strolls along the edge of the stage at intervals and glances casually about the room, as if to demonstrate just how easily this comes to him. 

Celebrating 80 Years of History at The Apollo

Ted Fox

From its inception 80 years ago this past Sunday, the Apollo Theater probably exerted a greater influence on popular culture than any other entertainment venue in the world. Throughout the years the Apollo, and the thousands of great entertainers who have performed there, have led the way in the presentation of swing, bebop, rhythm and blues, modern jazz, commercially presented gospel, soul, funk and hip-hop. 

Strength in Independence: The Strokes and The National

Sandra Canosa

A dozen years later, the roles aren’t exactly reversed, but the tunes have changed. In the spring of 2013, both bands released new and much-anticipated albums – the Strokes’ fifth, Comedown Machine, and the National’s sixth, Trouble Will Find Me. In terms of sheer numbers alone, the National outsold their former clubmates nearly 2-to-1 in their first week. Trouble Will Find Me popped up on Best of the Year lists from Pitchfork, Stereogum, and Rolling Stone and is nominated for a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album. 

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