pop music

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.

Bored This Way: The Loss of Lady Gaga's Relevance in Pop Culture

Sophia Dorval

Armed with a series of blonde hairstyles, nary a pair of pants and a wardrobe straight out of a pop art coffee table book, Lady Gaga shamelessly presented herself as a breath of postmodern fresh air through her then aloof persona in interviews, attending award shows with her tabloid BFF Perez Hilton, and naturally through her music videos, which were bacchanalian displays of youth, sexuality, consumption, and her and America’s favorite obsession: celebrity. Flash forward to the fall of 2013, when she has bestowed her fourth album Artpop onto the record, ahem, singles “buying” public.  It sells 75 percent less in its first week than its predecessor Born This Way.  

How Pan-Asian Pop Went Global

Andrew Lam

Asian pop culture today crosses borders as easily as the bird flu. Korean rapper Psy, whose 2012 single “Gangnam Style” has garnered a record of close to 2 billion hits on YouTube, is probably the best example. But he’s not alone. Takeshi Kaneshiro, a Taiwanese actor with Japanese ancestry who Time Magazine called the "Asian film industry's Johnny Depp," has starred in Japanese and Chinese language movies for over two decades. 

Godspeed You! Emperor and the Art of Survival

John McGovern

When T.S. Eliot wrote, “Mankind cannot bear much reality,” he inadvertently (“post-rock” hadn’t reached Oxford yet) described Montreal-based Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s bombastic sound. The band’s music is classically structured and is often lumped into a genre called “post-rock,” though the band dismisses this as a pretentious term. “Post-rock” is used to describe instrumental groups that include the traditional rock n’ roll instrumentation -- guitar, drums, bass -- but breaks from pop song structures. Instead, post-rock draws from a diverse array of influences, most evidently jazz and classical music. The detached, introspective sound of many “post-rock” bands is nonexistent in Godspeed’s music. 

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