Listen closely to Sturgill Simpson's classic-sounding country music and you'll hear plenty of surprises, including twists on every element of modern country's church-trucks-and-beer trinity.
Essays by NPR's pop critic on the intersections between music and everything else.
Two writers dig to the bottom of why other people's bad taste in music bothers us so much, and along the way, lay out the new rules for thinking and writing about pop.
Recently, some writers have argued that music criticism is unhealthily obsessed with pop. The problem with that argument: So are musicians in every other genre.
In a keynote event at SXSW, the queen of pop transgression offered support for anyone struggling with self-definition and illustrated how hard it is to steer clear of the constraints of corporate pop.
SXSW can be so overwhelming, so here are six recommendations for keeping keep cool at the Austin music festival — for first-timers, veterans and those following along at home.
Original songs and scores aren't the only music worth paying attention to on Oscar night. Pop music is woven deeply into the performances and plots of many of the year's best movies.
Ann Powers says that for the music lover searching for an immersive streaming service, newcomer Beats Music comes close to offering the complete package.
On the Grammy stage, winners and performers had to deal with the sometimes-uncomfortable will of the show's mainstream tastes. Questions of appropriation and access dogged the show, but a few times, meaningful alliance shone through.
The New Orleans-based bandleader Alynda Lee Segarra talks about the wide range of political and musical inspirations — from her Puerto Rican background to the Occupy movement and women's rights in India — behind her band's new album, Small Town Heroes.
In a one-hour-plus interview with NPR Music's Ann Powers, The Boss talks about his latest album, says the current version of the E Street Band is "the best it's ever been" and shares lessons he learned from his musical heroes as well as playlists full of new music.