Tag Archives: Jay-Z

SNL: Betty White/Jay-Z

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HOWARD MEGDAL: There are certain pleasures to Fred Armisen’s Lawrence Welk- but I’ll be honest. With a week, news-wise, like we just had, this was…

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90s: The Golden Age of Music?

AKIE BERMISS: I should make it clear from the outset that it is not my position that the 90s was THE golden age of music. Just perhaps one of many golden mini-eras that come and go with the tides. And I should also make it clear that there is very little scientific evidence to back up the arguments I am going to presently make. What follows is, rather, a pseudo-scholarly attempt to draw up a basic outline of musical trends in the last half century or so.

I speak, of course, of music. Of the last great golden age of music: the 90s. But not as an isolated incident, rather, as a the most recent evidence of a decidedly unproven trend of artistic flowering under a Democratic presidency. It seems curious to me that we can so often think of artistic artifacts as being simply art’s domain when, in fact, we all know that outward influences are always at play. That often art is a sign of the times. Or art can act as a cultural and societal artifact as potently as an “artistic” one. Certainly anthropologists look to art in order to gauge the tenor and timbre of a civilization. Why shouldn’t we (albeit on a more micro-level)?

STEPHON JOHNSON: While the 90′s could be considered last real golden age for music, the way music was consumed and experienced back then might cloud our judgement of the decade. Continue reading

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Alicia Keys

AKIE BERMISS: When I say Alicia Key’s new The Element Of Freedom album is un-listenable, I am NOT exaggerating. The album is an unmitigated disaster of musical mediocrity. Its not that the songs themselves are horrible, per se. Each one is a nice, bland, soft-rock-pop single on its own. Each could be the end-credits music for an early-90s action-romance (read: Speed). But put them all back-to-back and they amount to some of the most uninteresting, soporific music I have heard all year.

STEPHON JOHNSON: I agree that Alicia Keys’ new album is dull, conservative and safe. But we’ve known that about Keys for a while now. The Element of Freedom doesn’t have the element of surprise. Clive Davis probably likes it that way. Continue reading

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Jay-Z: New Album and Music’s Michael Jordan

STEPHON JOHNSON: Jay-Z will always get significant attention whenever he releases an album. Whether you like him or not, that attention, along with his legacy, is well-deserved.

LUCAS O’NEILL: It’s fitting that Michael Jordan will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend as Jay-Z drops his latest offering, The Blueprint 3. Conceding from the jump that sports/music parallels are invariably somewhat forced, there are nevertheless similarities between these two G.O.A.T.s. Continue reading

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