Surly and overstuffed, Los Campesinos!'s "Romance Is Boring" takes an unsurprisingly dim view of domestic bliss.
January 27, 2010 It's fitting that, when the title track to the Welsh group's new album Romance Is Boring gives way to a guitar solo, it's a fractured, discontented mess — all shards and shrapnel, frayed nerves and raw power. Surly and overstuffed, "Romance Is Boring" takes an unsurprisingly dim view of domestic bliss.
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In "Fish Sticks," The Heligoats' Chris Otepka can barely keep up with the speed of his own ideas.
courtesy of the artist
January 20, 2010 "Fish Sticks" requires multiple listens to pin down its meaning; the song churns so urgently — it's so overstuffed — that it can be hard to parse. At its core, though, it's about a guy who starts a biosphere in a swamp, only to discover that doing so alienates him from both the world he's escaping and the one he's made for himself.
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January 3, 2010 In this solo show, John Darnielle's songs fit nearly into distinct categories: new and quiet, new and loud, old and quiet, and old and loud. It's no surprise that all four approaches serve him well.
December 29, 2009 By Stephen Thompson
Last week, I appeared on Morning Edition to ruminate on one of the most significant events of the past decade in music — namely, the debut of American Idol in the summer of 2002. Included in the piece was the chorus of a "son...
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December 24, 2009 Though critical consensus formed around some sonically beautiful records, Song of the Day editor Stephen Thompson is far more likely to dwell on albums and songs that exude a fair bit earned insight, even ache. Thompson's Top 10 may be the equivalent of a single teardrop in a vast sea of year-end reflection, but the music is pretty glorious.
December 23, 2009 Launched in 2002, American Idol wasn't the first TV show to make a pop star, and it hasn't been the last. But the show has changed the way the public interacts with the machinery of the music industry. NPR Music's Stephen Thompson looks at the show and describes his own brush with Idol glory.
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The charming London indie-folk band Fanfarlo performs a holiday-themed set in the NPR Music offices.
December 16, 2009 After playing a pair of songs from Reservoir, the band closed with a cover of Low's 1999 song "Just Like Christmas." Fanfarlo's members had practiced it all the way from Baltimore to D.C., not exactly a trek across continents, but the result was, well, perfect.
November 30, 2009 Sometimes, an idea is so perverse and bizarre that it needs to be carried out and followed to its logical end. So once we hatched the idea to bring long-haired, wild-eyed, keyboard-pounding, sublimely over-the-top party-rocker Andrew W.K. to perform an intimate concert at Bob Boilen's desk, there was no abandoning it. It simply had to happen.
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November 27, 2009 As "Home" grows more clamorous and kind, it gets catchier, building to a freewheeling celebration rooted in unmistakable affection. It sounds terrific here, but when it's blown out in 360-degree live performance, "Home" is enough to make even the tiniest heart grow three sizes.
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November 20, 2009 How will we listen to music in the next decade? How will we acquire it? What will it sound like?
November 18, 2009 What's your favorite new genre of the decade? Of all the brand-new styles, be they occasionally awkward combinations of influences or wholly-formed means of expression, or genres that hit the mainstream in the past ten years, which produced the be...
Today in Song of the Day: Our two-week survey of the decade -- one popular song per year, per weekday -- continues with Kelly Clarkson's 2005 hit "Since U Been Gone."
photo courtesy of the artist
November 16, 2009 By Stephen Thompson
Today in Song of the Day: Our two-week survey of the decade — one popular song per year, per weekday — continues with Kelly Clarkson's 2005 hit "Since U Been Gone." (photo courtesy of the artist)
November 16, 2009 In the dynamite 2005 single "Since U Been Gone," Clarkson belts out one of the decade's great pop songs, following a familiar formula — jilted ex-girlfriend indignantly declares independence — but infusing it with energy, charisma and full-throated intensity. Sure, the over-the-top, loud-louder-loudest production helps. But it's an unmistakably great pop-rock song, thanks most of all to an unmistakably great pop-rock singer.
The signs of Idolatry.
November 13, 2009 Two of NPR's most devoted viewers of American Idol — Monkey See blogger Linda Holmes and NPR Music editor Stephen Thompson — carry on a 90-minute chat via Instant Messenger about the show, its rosters of future superstars and forgotten also-rans...
Maybe this is the easiest way to make sure your cash goes straight to the person who made it.
Getty Images, Lew Robertson
November 10, 2009 Last week, Eliot Van Buskirk, columnist and blogger at Wired, and Jay Sweet, Paste magazine's editor at large, got together in a chat room (so '90s!) to talk about paying for music now.
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