Nicki Minaj (left) and Madonna perform during the halftime show at the Super Bowl in February. In a song from Madonna's new album, MDNA, the two singers each play with traditionally feminine and masculine gender roles. Rob Carr/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Rob Carr/Getty Images

Bonnie Raitt's new album, Slipstream, comes out April 10. Matt Mindlin hide caption

itoggle caption Matt Mindlin

Nas performs his classic 1994 album, Illmatic, on stage at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas during the 2012 SXSW music conference. Heather Kennedy/WireImage/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Heather Kennedy/WireImage/Getty Images

Bruce Springsteen and the retooled E Street Band ripped through a nearly three-hour "secret" concert at the Moody Theater, the new home of Austin City Limits, during SXSW. Ever the showman, Springsteen crowd-surfed. Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW

The Record

Ann Powers From The Streets Of Austin

Our critic is down at the SXSW music convention, trying to take in as much of the action as she can.

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"Human expression is not confined to guitars." In his keynote address at SXSW Bruce Springsteen spoke of his love for pop of all flavors. Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW

Sinead O'Connor's new album, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? comes out March 5. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist