This week, reports the Charlottetown Guardian, police in Kensington, Prince Edward Island threatened to force impaired drivers to listen to Nickelback while locked in the back of a police cruiser. But, reports the UK Guardian, "they’re hardly the first band to be turned into a punchline that doesn’t require a set-up. Sting’s career has suffered for years from the notion that he is some kind of tantric sex god, based on a throwaway comment he made in a 1990 interview."
"“A lot of our audiences are kids and teens, and they want to be in on the joke. And they’ll listen again. We’re just a little looser with this stuff than most traditional first ladies.”" -- Michelle Obama, interviewed by Variety.
Lindsay Ellis' (previously) new video series 'Loose Canon' (Previously) takes a look at the different media takes on the same cultural character or property. She takes on the longest and most detailed one yet with the media reaction to and portrayal of the 2001 9/11 attacks. Part 1 (21:21) Part 2 (27:37) (Warning for photos and video of attacks)
The origins of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird' are pretty brief. In this 1970 demo (source), you can hear a short version, with the opening question but no piano intro and extended jam at the end. Though they recorded a long version for their debut album, they also cut a short version for the single. But people want "guitar sagas", such as "Whipping Post," by the Allman Brothers Band,and "Smoke on the Water," by Deep Purple, or maybe it was a silly thing to heckle Florence Henderson and other uncool cats. Decades later, people are still yelling "Freebird!" Sometimes people snap back, like Bill Hicks (NSFW), and sometimes people oblige, like Bob Dylan recently. In case that's not enough, there's (always) more! [more inside]
Tushar Lall arranges Indian classical music versions of well-known pop culture soundtracks. The latest release is Star Wars; there's also Harry Potter, Interstellar, Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean and BBC Sherlock.
Francis Wayne "Frank" Sinatra, better known as Frank Sinatra Jr, died March 16th 2016 aged 72 of a heart attack while on tour in Florida. [more inside]
Dayna Evans writes about Taylor Swift for Gawker: [T]he part of Taylor’s persona that doesn’t get talked about enough [is that] she is a ruthless, publicly capitalist pop star. To think of her as womanhood incarnate is to trick oneself into forgetting about “Bad Blood” and “Better Than Revenge.” Swift isn’t here to help women—she’s here to make bank… Her plan—to be as famous and as rich as she can possibly be—is working, and by using other women as tools of her self-promotion, she is distilling feminism for her own benefit. [more inside]
Lana Del Rey: Why a Death-Obsessed Pop Siren Is Perfect for Late-Stage Capitalist America (mirrored at Salon.com)
Lana Del Rey is pushing the envelope, and here's her message, delivered with a languid pout: 21st-century America is a rotting corpse, deadlocked culturally, economically, and politically. Since there's nothing we can do about it, let's enjoy ourselves as the body-politic disintegrates, perhaps by savoring some toothsome bites of the past: candy-colored Super 8 films, juicy jazz tunes and clips of sultry screen sirens. The future is a retrospective.
All of this echoes the ancient danse macabre, the dance of death, the motif that sprang out of the medieval horrors of war and the plague. It's a plea for fevered amusement while you've still got time.
The A.V. Club asks readers What’s your cultural dealbreaker? which they define as "cultural products that someone can profess to enjoy only while losing all of your respect."
Internet personality Neil Cicierega (previously) has released a new mashup album based on Smash Mouth, "Smooth," "The Power of Love," Daft Punk, and other stuff: Mouth Sounds.
Scratchy Grooves For almost twenty years, starting in 1984, Bill Chambless on WVUD-FM at the University of Delaware, explored the pop music of 1900 to 1940 on vintage recordings, "scratches and all." Stream the shows at this website, migrated from the original cassette tapes and maintained by his son.
Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
"Barely a week goes by without some old white man castigating the yoof of today on the shallowness/stupidity/etc. of their taste in music, art and culture in general. It’s a narrative as old as culture itself — adults throwing up their hands in despair because Kids These Days just don’t get it." But, contrarily, "there’s a subset of music criticism these days that seems to view the taste and aesthetic of teens (and teenage girls, in particular) as weirdly sacred. It’s a sort of creepy offshoot of poptimism, one that starts from an unrealistically monolithic view of teen culture — not all teens like Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, after all — and is, in its own way, as deeply patronizing as claiming from on high that teens have no taste." -- Flavorwire's Tom Hawking on Critical Assumptions about Teen Culture.
Best known for creating the nostalgic mash-up REMEMBER series (previously), Youtube user Thepeterson teams up with Slackstory to create another video clip time machine: REMEMBER 1994
"You live now, Adam Ant, as you have lived many times throughout history, fighting evil wherever you may find it!"
In the long history of love songs the attention of a beautiful woman has been compared to many things – but perhaps only in Pakistan's tribal belt would it be likened to the deadly missile strike of a remotely controlled US drone.
"I am Darth Vader, an Extraterrestrial from the Planet Vulcan!" - The 80's attack in an amazingly detailed and frenetic video for The Death Set's "They Come to Get Us." [SLYT]
The Atlantic explores whether Michael Jackson's contributions, like those of other black artists, are minimized because of his skin color.
Wired takes a look at some pop culture legends that elude fans and collectors.
The AV Club feature Gateways to Geekery is all about the best places to start on some of pop culture's most complex and nuanced artists and genres, including Randy Newman, The Who, Monty Python, steampunk, Sherlock Holmes and 90 others. [more inside]
Then That's What They Called Music is a series of posts on the Onion AV Club where writer Nathan Rabin (previously) listens to all of the NOW! That's What I Call Music CDs from 1999 onwards. The essays read like a history of a forgotten world, reminding you of terrible yet infectious pop tunes, and are full of great links, snappy writing and one man's struggle to deal with why the Black Eyed Peas, the most corporate band in America, are so popular. [more inside]
Rock historian Joseph Burns makes a case for why Arthur Big Boy Crudup's "That's All Right Mama" should be regarded as rock & roll's first song. Not everyone agrees - clips to some of the other contenders inside. Or explore Google's Rock & Roll Timeline. [more inside]
Bollywood Radio, the classics l Top 40 Countdown, news, interviews, talk about the music scene in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam l Bonus links: Indian classical music on Radio Live365 and more.
The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final airs tonight, 21:00 CET. A live stream can be found here. [more inside]
The show Glee has created a remake of Madonna’s original Vogue music video, starring Jane Lynch. It's part of a promotional campaign for their upcoming (4/20) “Madonna” episode. Available at: Hulu, Fox, and Yahoo. [more inside]
The Heavy performing on Late Night, with "an unprecedented encore by request from Dave." (second video courtesy CBS, including off-air encore) [more inside]
Lost At E Minor is an online publication of inspiring art, illustration, photography, music, fashion, film — basically contemporary pop culture.
Nardwuar the Human Serviette is an interesting, abrasive and knowledgeable music journalist. Many of his interviews are on film and posted to youtube. Previously on metafilter. Warning: single link to a youtube user. [more inside]
Vaughn Toulouse was not born Toulouse. He was born Vaughn Cotillard on the island of Jersey on this day in 1959. In the summer of ’78, he left home to tag along on tour with the Clash, which he chronicled in an early issue of The Face. Thus inspired, Toulouse formed a series of bands of his own including Guns For Hire and Department S, which scored a big hit with Is Vic There? (TOTP, Cheggers) and a lesser one with I Want. [more inside]
Riffing on the 1970s as the "Me Generation," Esquire Magazine once referred to the 1980s as the "Re Generation," making the case that all of our popular music, fashion, etc was being recycled from previous decades. They had no idea. Since then, the flood of entertainment has deposited many more sedimentary layers of pop culture. Today, musicians and music videos mine these condensed strata of modern media as raw materials, producing works of hyper-compressed cultural references. Case in point: The Scissor Sisters' "Comfortably Numb", Justice's "DVNO", and The Darkness' "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." [more inside]
Y'all think whatever you want about Michael Jackson now, knaamean? But on this day back in 1983, Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever was being taped before a live audience. Since he was no longer contractually tied to Motown, MJ planned to attend but not perform at the function; he was finally able to negotiate a solo spot singing a non-Motown song. Thriller had been released more than a year prior; Billie Jean had been the Number One single on Billboard's Top 100 for two weeks. It was time for a Pop Culture "Do you remember where you were when...?" moment. And then came the moonwalk.
More 60's Euro Pop
Squeal Like a Pig dot com - Online home of actor Bill McKinney, best known as the villain from Deliverance. There's not much on the site but there is Real versions of three tracks from Bill's album, Love Songs From Antri.
So, why don't you like doing interviews? Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock takes the piss. [wmv]
Mistletunes - your one-stop resource for those half-remembered Rock 'n' Roll Christmas songs of today and yesteryear. I'm partial to the novelty tunes of the '50's and '60's myself (as well a bit of punk), but you can also check out the lists of Hanukkah Hits, Surfin' Christmas, and keep up with the latest Christmas releases.