Director Steve McQueen semi-submerged a narrative that roots out the way music has fed both racism and the fight against it, from the time in which his hero Solomon Northup lived to the present.
Essays by NPR's pop critic on the intersections between music and everything else.
Listening to lost sounds, even in gorgeous new packages, isn't all that's needed when it comes to really understanding how popular music has shaped Americans' lives.
Reed made me realize that, for all of my self-stylings as a rebel in love with noise that stripped away the unnecessary, I didn't know the first thing about rock music inflicting the pain of clarity.
In unstable times likes ours, and on both "Blurred Lines" and "Hold On, We're Going Home," the good girl's temptation or redemption resurfaces as a theme.
We all know what's most often excavated: Nirvana's roar, Biggie's cool murmur, the futuristic sigh of Aaliyah. But there's more to the decade than those obvious landmarks.
Three Nashville shows remind me that country is a genre of music that's constantly changing, even if it's deceptively homespun.
Two new albums, by the veteran industrial rock group Nine Inch Nails and the young rapper Earl Sweatshirt, offer distinct visions of anxiety and isolation. One is confrontational and cathartic, the other sly, inward and static.
In a live arena show that trades in a well-schooled range of summertime-friendly pop, the hit-making machine known as Bruno Mars is one of our moment's most valuable historians of popular music.
For 25 years, Sub Pop has been putting out music that speaks to the sound of its home town, Seattle. Today, the music may not all be local, but the label's artists are mostly specialists who have perfected a certain style.
The personal differences that surfaced during the studio sessions of the spellbinding country duo The Civil Wars resulted in a canceled tour, a dissolved partnership and a second album that crackles with tension.