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Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

YET ANOTHER WHITE pop star has wandered into the thorny world of racial drag. Taylor Swift, in case you missed her, is an American musician who began her career in a calculated blend of country crosso...

Duane Allman, Skydog, Explained

Duane Allman, Skydog, Explained

JIMI HENDRIX lived nearly three years longer — that’s the kind of premature we’re talking about when we talk about the premature death of Duane Allman, who died less than a month before he would...

Bobsession

Bobsession

WE DON’T CHOOSE our obsessions; our obsessions choose us. If we chose them, then they wouldn’t be obsessions; they’d be pet projects or hobbyhorses. They wouldn’t be ways of life. They’d be ...

Living Fast: Revisiting Oasis's "Definitely Maybe"

Living Fast: Revisiting Oasis's "Definitely Maybe"

THE YEAR 1994 had solid significance for the direction 1990s Britain eventually took. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the mutually destructive, deadlocked certainties of the 1980s had given way to ...

The Last Donut of the Night

The Last Donut of the Night

J DILLA WAS NOT well as he worked to finish his now widely heralded Donuts. Friends recall him frail, tirelessly tinkering with the final tracks from his hospital bed. A lasting photograph reveals the...

Heroic Age Post-Modernism

Heroic Age Post-Modernism

IN SPITE of their now relatively modest reputation, Welsh pop band Super Furry Animals were among the great countercultural heroes of the trans-millennium era. Perhaps the last truly worthwhile Creati...

Revolutionary Performances

Revolutionary Performances

THE FIGURE of the Black Revolutionary, to a particular and change-minded audience, appeals for many reasons. The figure can represent not only who we want to be, but also what we want the nation to b...

Alienated Old Man Creates Some Sad Music

Alienated Old Man Creates Some Sad Music

IN 1966, when Leonard Cohen was recording his debut album at Columbia Records’s Studio E in New York, he was assigned a producer named John Simon, who had recently scored a hit with the Cyrkle’s ...

Irritated Critics

Irritated Critics

THE ESSENTIAL ELLEN WILLIS sprung to life because of a remark by an irritated critic (is there any other kind?) in this very publication. At the end of her review of Out of the Vinyl Deeps, the excell...

An Invisible Man, A Visible Voice

An Invisible Man, A Visible Voice

A MAN CALLED DESTRUCTION records the life of pop idol-turned-cult hero Alex Chilton. “In titling his 1995 album A Man Called Destruction — his last solo release filled with mostly his own songs ...

Experiments in Taste

Experiments in Taste

THE LONG RUNNING 33 1/3 series consists of books in which a writer dissects a single album. Most authors examine albums they love — usually rock albums already firmly entrenched in the canon (Exile...