Marvin Gaye's hit record "What's Going On" encapsulates the political turmoil of 1971 while also inspiring hope for change.
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Critics widely consider 1971 one of the best years in music history. For NPR's 50th anniversary, public radio stations turn back the clock and reflect on the year's best tracks.
May 3, 2021
A regularly updated playlist that keeps track of new songs deemed absolutely essential by the NPR Music staff.
January 21, 2021
Comic book artist Daniel Warren Johnson (
Murder Falcon, Extremity) illustrates the music of Viking's Choice. Horns up!
Daniel Warren Johnson
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Where heavy metal, heady psych, dreamy ambient, furious punk and cotton-candy pop music all come to freak out. Curated by Lars Gotrich.
June 17, 2019
We danced in kitchens, took long drives, caught up in backyards or on video chat, watched weddings from our living rooms. We found ways to thrive.
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Consider this the soundtrack for the summer that wasn't, with hopes of summers to come.
December 30, 2020
Conductor Gustavo Dudamel was announced as the next music director of the Paris Opera on April 16. He is the the music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
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Need a deep discovery experience? Try 1000 years of music. Our mantra: Bach, Beethoven, before and beyond.
June 20, 2019
Think of it as a silver lining playlist, a whopper of a mixtape to close out a bummer of a year.
December 3, 2020
October 15, 2020 Louder Than A Riot reveals the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration. Follow along with the music featured in every episode.
Lil Baby performs during a Juneteenth voter registration rally on June 19, 2020 at Murphy Park Fairgrounds in Atlanta, Ga. One week earlier, he released "The Bigger Picture," a song protesting police brutality.
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These songs take on some of the ugliest stories in our history and reflect the commitment of Black musicians to telling the truth of how Black people have been wronged, and survived, and fought back.
June 26, 2020
Lil Wayne, shown performing at Coachella in 2016, is one of the artists featuring in NPR Music's Southern rap canon.
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Stream the songs, plus selected tracks from the albums and mixtapes, that comprise our list of the 130 greatest releases in Southern rap history.
August 3, 2020
Music speaks truth to anger and frustration, but also provides a sense of hope and beauty.
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Music has always been a vital part of protest and social justice. We asked our young Black listeners: Is there one song that's helping you address your feelings right now?
June 10, 2020
What the creator of NPR Music's June 17, 2019 All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts is listening to right now.
World Cafe, produced by WXPN in Philadelphia.
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Listen to the songs featured on public radio's most popular music show.
June 18, 2019
A week of celebrating the musical corazón of Mexico.
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A breakdown of all the reasons and ways members of the May 7, 2021 Alt.Latino community hold Mexican Regional near and dear to their hearts.
From Mac Phipps and C Murder to Snoop Dogg and Drakeo The Ruler, rap lyrics have been used in court cases to try and put rappers behind bars.
March 12, 2021
Win Butler (L) of Arcade Fire and DJ Michael Brun participate in the Krewe du Kanaval parade on February 15, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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Haiti's influence on one of America's most musical cities is explored in a new audio documentary, February 1, 2021 Kanaval, hosted by Leyla McCalla and produced by WXPN.
Bootsy Collins, funk bassist, performing live concert performance at the Hammersmith Odeon, in Hammersmith, London, England in June 1978.
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Sometimes bass guitar can be an overlooked instrument. Sometimes it gets relegated to the background. Not today, my friends. Not today.
October 6, 2020
World Cafe celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month
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Take a musical journey throughout Latin America, through cities in Central America, South America and Mexico to explore the rising Latinx voices and sounds that often fall under the radar.
September 14, 2020
Members of This Heat — from left, Gareth Williams, Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward — in Cold Storage.
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This Heat lasted for less than seven years, but helped shape the future of music, from noise rock to experimental electronica. Today, its groundbreaking catalog is finally available to stream.
August 21, 2020
The trumpeter Eddie Gale, who worked with the likes of Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor, passed away on July 10 at the age of 78.
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The trumpeter, who died last week at the age of 78, was at the vanguard of jazz's midcentury development and is regarded as a legend by his peers.
July 15, 2020
A song by the K-pop group BTS, shown here performing during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, is included in our starter kit.
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Korean pop's near-total global ubiquity may be intimidating for the uninitiated, but getting into the music shouldn't be. Our introduction includes tracks by H.O.T., Girls Generation, BTS and more.
July 13, 2020
Tracy Chapman, shown here at the 39th Grammy Awards, is included in our starter kit for women's music.
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Women's music is music written by, for and about women (and, more often than not, women who love women). Our starter kit includes music by Cris Williamson, Ferron, Toshi Reagan, Ani DiFranco and more.
June 17, 2020
Team Dresch's song "Fagetarian and Dyke" is featured in our playlist of queer punk.
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"Queer punk" might be redundant if making over-the-top statements at the top of your lungs isn't precisely what makes punk "punk" and queer "queer." Here's a guide to the genre's history and legacy.
June 15, 2020
Jake Blount is a banjo and fiddle player and queer activist. His new album,
Spider Tales, links country and bluegrass traditions in America with roots in African mythology.
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These music makers have wildly different relationships with genre and cultural conventions. They don't look or sound alike or share the same aims or aspirations. That's the point.
June 11, 2020
Lucinda Williams's iconic fifth album,
Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, defined Americana, but it's just one peak in a career that stretches 20 years forward and back in time from that moment.
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Williams's new album, April 24, 2020 Good Souls Better Angels, is another remarkable entry in a catalog that has, across more than a dozen albums, shaped Americana. Here's a map of her career's many high points.