Popcast

Popcast Podcast

The Popcast is hosted by Jon Caramanica, a pop music critic for The New York Times. It covers the latest in popular music criticism, trends and news.

Is TikTok a Music Industry Friend or Troll?
“Old Town Road” showed the app’s potential as a hit generator. But its relationship to the business is far more complex. Guest: Taylor Lorenz....

TikTok Musicindustry



The Music Lost to Coronavirus, Part 1
Remembering Joe Diffie, Mona Foot and DJ Black N Mild. Guests: Hits' Holly Gleason; Jacob Bernstein; and Elena Bergeron....

Coronavirus JoeDiffie DJBlackNMild MonaFoot

The Welcome Return of the Chicks
How would Nashville be different if it hadn’t pushed the trio away? A conversation about “Gaslighter” and beyond. Guests: Jewly Hight and Slate's Carl Wilson....

NatalieMaines Gaslighter TheChicks



The Timely Agitation of Run the Jewels
Killer Mike and El-P’s anti-government and pro-justice hip-hop feels like it anticipated the current moment. Guest: Pitchfork's Sheldon Pearce....

El-P RuntheJewels RTJ4 KillerMike

Lil Baby Is Warming Up to the Spotlight
His protest song “The Bigger Picture” marks a high point in his evolution from reluctant up-and-comer to one of hip-hop’s reliable superstars. Guest: Joe Coscarelli....

LilBaby TheBiggerPicture



The Many Lives of Doja Cat
The pop star took an extremely nonlinear path to No. 1, and continues to push the boundaries of online behavior. Guest: Lakin Starling....


Dua Lipa, Dance-Pop Crusader
The English pop star has given fans an upbeat album at a very dark time. Guest: Caryn Ganz....

FutureNostalgia DuaLipa


What Is the Role of Criticism in a Crisis?
The coronavirus pandemic has upended the world, and the arts are reeling. Pop music critics are asking (and facing) hard questions. Guests: The Ringer's Rob Harvilla, New York's Craig Jenkins and Lindsay Zoladz....

criticism coronavirus

How Will Pop Music Respond to the Coronavirus?
The ways the pandemic has already reshaped the year, and what might happen in pop next. Guests: The New York Times's Ben Sisario and Jon Pareles....

coronavirus covid-19 musicindustryjobs musicindustry


The Unrelenting Space Jams of Tame Impala
How has Kevin Parker built and sustained his successful psych-rock project — and where will he head next? Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles and Pitchfork's Jillian Mapes....

KevinParker psychrock TameImpala



How TikTok Is Killing the Radio Songwriter
Songs that work in 15-second bursts are different from tracks that succeed on the FM dial. Guests: The writer Aimee Cliff and GodMode's Nick Sylvester....

viralsongs LilNasX TikTok


Debating the Best Albums of 2019
How do you measure a year in pop? Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles, Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz....

bestalbumsof2019

Juice WRLD and the Crisis of SoundCloud Rap-Era Fame
Success is coming faster than ever for a new generation of musicians. But at what price? Guests: David Turner; the directors Ramez Silyan and Sebastian Jones....

juicewrld soundcloudrap LilPeep XXXTentacion


Dissecting the 2020 Grammy Nominations
Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X lead the way. But has the Recording Academy’s relationship to pop changed? Guests: The full New York Times pop music team....

BillieEilish Lizzo LilNasX TaylorSwift Grammys


Can Reality Television Produce a Plausible Rap Star?
Netflix’s “Rhythm + Flow” is the most recent example of the reality-TV business trying to get into the hip-hop business. Guests: Complex's Frazier Tharpe and Stereogum's Tom Breihan....

hip-hop realitytv rap Rhythm+Flow



How Does Post Malone Sound Like Everything and Nothing?
A conversation about his rapid rise and the questions — about genre and race — glossed over along the way. Guests: Pitchfork's Jayson Greene and The New York Times Magazine's Jonah Weiner....

Hollywood'sBleeding PostMalone



A Tribute to David Berman, Who Never Hid His Truth
Conversations about his songwriting, his struggles and his striking sweetness outside of music. Guests: Jeff Johnson; The New Yorker's Amanda Petrusich; and Nick Weidenfeld....

SilverJews PurpleMountains DavidBerman



Taylor vs. Scooter: The Pop Music Civil War of 2019
The superstar complained that the powerful manager acquired her master recordings, setting off a debate that divided the industry. Guest: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli...

ScooterBraun TaylorSwift

Why Are the Movies So Obsessed With Pop Stars?
From “Rocketman” to “Her Smell,” “Blaze” to “Vox Lux,” the film industry seems to think all musicians have the same ups and downs. Guests: The New York Times's A.O. Scott; Vanity Fair's K. Austin Collins; Kristen Yoonsoo Kim....

musicmovies Rocketman MileyCyrus BohemianRhapsody AStarIsBorn VoxLux BlackMirror HerSmell


Bob Dylan’s Excellent Adventure
The Rolling Thunder Revue was more than a tour: It was a chance for the songwriter to play with the truth. Guest: The New York Times's Jon Pareles...

RollingThunderRevue BobDylan


Are AirPods Worth the Costs?
Apple’s wireless earbuds have led to questions about personal tech as environmental scourge and punch line. Guests: The New York Times's Brian X. Chen and Motherboard's Caroline Haskins....

Apple AirPods

Vampire Weekend, Indie Rock Heretics Turned Anxious Jam Band
Ezra Koenig’s literate group has returned, sparking questions about how it was received in the past, and where it stands in the current climate. Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles; The Ringer's Rob Harvilla...

EzraKoenig FatheroftheBride VampireWeekend IndieRock


How Gospel and Pop Learn From Each Other
From Kanye West to serpentwithfeet to the Stellar Awards returning to BET, the genres’ dialogue has been evolving. Guest: The New Yorker's Briana Younger...

KanyeWest popmusic gospelmusic

Is Billie Eilish the Future of Pop?
The 17-year-old musician has been revising the rules of young stardom. But she may be more of a classicist than her aesthetic would suggest. Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli; Meaghan Garvey...

billieeilish BillieEilish


Boy Bands, Now Featuring Grown Men
Backstreet’s back, the New Kids put out a new single and groups in the K-pop ecosystem are thriving. Why are boy bands so central to pop music? Guests: Jezebel's Maria Sherman and Billboard's Andrew Unterberger...

BTS NSync BackstreetBoys boybands

How a Viral Rap Star Rocketed From Meme to Hit
Blueface’s “Thotiana” is a nearly perfectly engineered hit of the social media age. Guests: The Fader's Ben Dandridge-Lemco and Pitchfork's Alphonse Pierre....

blueface thotiana

Can Michael Jackson’s Legacy Ever Really Be Derailed?
The documentary “Leaving Neverland” details devastating allegations of sexual abuse. How do fans process them, and Jackson’s body of work? Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli, Aisha Harris and Ben Sisario...

MichaelJackson LeavingNeverland


The Hip-Hop Superstar as Local Newsmaker
Musicians often make headlines; balancing coverage of their art with coverage of the accusations they face isn’t always easy. Guest: The South Florida Sun Sentinel's Brett Clarkson...

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Behind the Ryan Adams Investigation
The musician has been accused of dangling career opportunities while pursuing female artists for sex, then turning domineering and vengeful. He denies the claims. Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli and Melena Ryzik....

RyanAdams

The 2019 Grammys Make Up for Last Year, Somewhat
After a terrible ceremony that minimized women and nonwhite artists, the Recording Academy tried something else: the opposite. Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli, Caryn Ganz and Jon Pareles....

TheGrammys Grammys


Listening to Pop Music’s Class of 2019
From British punk-rap to 1970s-influenced country to morbid electronic pop, a guide to new artists to watch. Guest: The New York Times's Jon Pareles....

billieeilish newartists artiststowatch


Bad Bunny Is Just Getting Started
His was the defining voice of 2018. What’s next for this Puerto Rican new-pop superstar? Guests: Remezcla's Eduardo Cepeda and Isabelia Herrera; and Rolling Stone's Suzy Exposito....

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The New Battles Over the Direction of Jazz
What did the music, innovations and arguments of 2018 tell us about where the genre is headed next? Guests: John Murph and Giovanni Russonello...

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A New Kind of Pop Star Has Arrived
K-pop, Latin trap and melodic hip-hop — once regarded as subgenres — have become the center of the pop conversation. Guest: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli...

BTS BadBunny CardiB Drake popstars

Listening to the Best Songs of 2018
The 1975’s millennial anthem, “Shallow” and a lot of Bad Bunny: Why did these tracks define the year in pop? Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles, Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz...

bestof2018 bestsongs


6ix9ine’s Troubled Past and Uncertain Future
A conversation about the Brooklyn rapper’s arrest and musical prospects as he releases “Dummy Boy” while behind bars. Guest: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli....

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The Gentle Return of Mariah Carey
With her 15th album, “Caution,” the singer has entered a new phase of her long career. Guests: Michael Arceneaux; Jezebel's Julianne Escobedo Shepherd; The New Yorker's Briana Younger....

R&B MariahCarey


Robyn, Pop’s Reluctant Pacesetter
With “Honey,” the Swedish star returns to a landscape she’s quietly shaped for over 20 years. Guests: The New York Times's Caryn Ganz; the Guardian's Laura Snapes; Jezebel's Hazel Cills...

Robyn honey


For Those About to Rock, An Uncertain Fate
Is rock music in 2018 a sound, a mood or a retail category? Where do Twenty One Pilots, the 1975 and Greta Van Fleet fit in? Guests: The New York Times's Caryn Ganz; Rolling Stone's Kory Grow; the Ringer's Lindsay Zoladz...

twentyonepilots rockmusic gretavanfleet the1975

‘A Star Is Born’ Is Here. Let’s Discuss.
What does Bradley Cooper’s remake starring Lady Gaga say about the pop music business — and the film industry — today? Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli, Manohla Dargis, Caryn Ganz, Wesley Morris and Jon Pareles...

BradleyCooper LadyGaga AStarisBorn


What Makes for a Great Celebrity Profile?
Writing in-depth features about stars can be an art form. But it’s been changing in recent years. Guests: The New York Times Magazine's Vanessa Grigoriadis; GQ's Zach Baron....

celebrityprofile


Remembering Mac Miller, Low-Key Hip-Hop Bellwether
The 26-year-old rapper and producer stood at the crossroads of movements that have been shaping popular music over the past decade. Guests: ItsTheReal's Eric and Jeff Rosenthal; Pitchfork's Sheldon Pearce; and Eric Renner Brown....

MacMiller

Remembering The Village Voice, Music Criticism's Crucible: Part 2
Forty years of writers and editors share memories about helping invent a language to talk about music, and the artists they critiqued — some grateful, some not. Guests: Ann Powers, Evelyn McDonnell, Chuck Eddy, Rob Harvilla and Tom Breihan....

musicwriting musiccriticism TheVillageVoice VillageVoice

Remembering The Village Voice, Music Criticism's Crucible: Part 1
Forty years of writers and editors share memories about helping invent a language to talk about music, and the artists they critiqued — some grateful, some not. Guests: Robert Christgau, Jon Pareles, Nelson George, Kyle Gann and Joe Levy....

musicwriting musiccriticism VillageVoice TheVillageVoice


How We Arrived at Ariana Grande’s Big Moment
“Sweetener” has taken the singer to new heights at a moment of transition for the top ranks of female vocalists. Guests: The Ringer's Lindsay Zoladz; VF.com's Josh Duboff; and Billboard's Nolan Feeney....

Sweetener ArianaGrande

Nicki Minaj and Travis Scott, Rivals With Common Problems
One is an old-style hip-hop star, one comes from a newer school. But both are facing challenges making effective albums and defining their artistic identities. Guests: David Turner and Briana Younger....

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Can Guns N’ Roses, or Any Artist, Erase an Unflattering Moment?
What happens when a band wipes a stain from its historical record? Or when physical albums vanish, replaced by different digital versions? Guests: Mark Richardson; Rolling Stone's Christopher R. Weingarten; and The New York Times's Caryn Ganz....

canon legacy GunsN'Roses

Who’s in Charge of Telling Whitney Houston’s Story?
Two documentaries have attempted to unpack the life of one of pop’s transformative figures, whose complex legacy is still riddled with questions. Guests: Naima Cochrane; Jezebel's Rich Juzwiak; Alan Light; and The Times's Joe Coscarelli....

whitney WhitneyHouston


When Superfans Attack
A writer critiqued Nicki Minaj online; the rapper’s fans responded in force. How does celebrity fandom become a vicious tool online, and what’s behind stan culture? Guests: iOneDigital's Janeé Bolden; Who? Weekly's Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber; The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz....

stans NickiMinaj superfans

Drake: Platinum in a Day, but Still at a Crossroads
With his new double album, “Scorpion,” the rapper and singer is grappling with brand maintenance. Is he innovating, and where can he go next? Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli and Reggie Ugwu; Sheldon Pearce; and Jasmine Sanders....

Scorpion Drake

Kanye West: You Asked, We Answered
Was "Ye" rushed, and does it matter? How do women fit into Kanye’s world? Are conversations about politics with him fruitless? Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli and Reggie Ugwu, and the Ringer's Justin Charity....

Ye KanyeWest


XXXTentacion, Mourning and Morality
The 20-year-old broke out of the SoundCloud rap scene and reached No 1. But he faced accusations of violent crimes against a woman, and leaves behind a troubling legacy. Guests: Noisey's Lawrence Burney and Miami New Times's Tarpley Hitt....

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Drake vs. Pusha-T, Unpacked
An excavation of the skeletons animating the back-and-forth between the two rappers — and a conversation about who’s inching ahead....

pusha-t Drake

Yes, We Stuck With ‘American Idol’
Maddie Poppe won the show, rebooted on ABC with a new cast of judges. What worked, what didn’t and who really stood out? Two longtime “Idol” enthusiasts discuss....

LukeBryan RyanSeacrest AmericanIdol maddiepoppe LionelRichie KatyPerry


Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar Break Boundaries
A Coachella set stunning in scope and execution. The first Pulitzer Prize winner who isn’t from classical or jazz. A conversation about the two artists’ triumphs....

KendrickLamar beychella Beyonce


Cardi B Arrives at the Top
The 25-year-old’s LP “Invasion of Privacy” is part of her broad-scale pop culture takeover. A conversation about her rise and debut album....

invasionofprivacy cardib


Ashlee Simpson: You Asked, We Answered
Part two of our conversation about the mid-2000s pop star features debates about her MTV reality show and “S.N.L.” debacle, and a listener mailbag....

ashleesimpson

Was Ashlee Simpson Underappreciated? Discuss
In the mid-2000s, the pop singer had platinum albums and an MTV reality show. Hear the first of two conversations about Ms. Simpson’s misunderstood career....

ashleesimpson


In Defense of Soundtracks. And Fergie.
What’s responsible for the recent soundtrack renaissance that brought albums from “Black Panther” and “The Greatest Showman” to the top of the charts?...

thegreatestshowman BlackPanther soundtracks fiftyshadesfreed Fergie


Can the Grammys Be Fixed?
Big stars didn’t show up. Ratings were down. Hip-hop was once again shut out of the major categories. Can “music’s biggest night” represent what’s really happening in music?...

grammys TheGrammys

Hear What Music Will Sound Like in 2018
Flamboyant hip-hop, promising punk rock, intricate bluegrass and more: a conversation about the artists we’re looking forward to following this year....


Remembering the Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan
The lead singer of the Irish rock band, who died at 46, wrote songs in the 1990s that deeply touched young women and Irish listeners while appealing to a worldwide audience...

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Will Eminem Ever Change?
After a brief break from the spotlight, the rapper returned with “Revival,” an album that revisited familiar tropes and sounds. Where can he go from here?...

Eminem


Remembering Lil Peep
The 21-year-old rapper, who died last week, found a unique way to unite the languages of hip-hop and emo....

soundcloudrap lilpeep






Kesha and Taylor Swift Find New Voices
On “Rainbow,” Kesha steps away from her old persona but keeps her former spark. In court, Taylor Swift speaks with no filter....

kesha taylorswift



Can K-pop Conquer America?
Fanaticism about this Korean genre is on the rise in the United States, but it hasn’t cracked mainstream pop culture...

k-pop


Latin Pop Thrives, No Bieber Required
“Despacito” is the first Spanish-language song to top the chart since “Macarena,” but there are many more interesting shifts in Latin pop today....

Latinmusic despacito latinpop


Paramore Returns, Headed Straight For the 1980s
One of the most impressive rock bands working in the mainstream has taken a left turn. Where is Paramore headed, and how did it inspire scores of artists?...

paramore hayleywilliams pop-punk

Finding Feist’s Pleasure and Pain
The singer-songwriter’s new album is a low-fi exploration of extreme emotions. How does it relate to her earlier hits, and how did she get here?...

feist music





Were There Any Real Winners at the Grammys?
It was an awards show filled with flubs, tear, apologies and protests. The New York Times pop music writers discuss Adele, Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper and more on Popcast....

BeyonceLemonade TheGrammys Grammys Beyonce Adele

Will the Grammy Awards End With a Big Surprise?
The New York Times pop team debates whether Sturgill Simpson will pull out a surprise victory in a night stacked with Adele vs. Beyoncé face-offs....

BeyonceLemonade SturgillSimpson Beyonce Adele Grammys



10 Songs That Tell the Story of 2016
A round table of pop experts discuss the year in tracks, from Maren Morris's "Rich" to Twenty One Pilots' "Ride" to Rihanna's "Sex With Me."...

bestsongs yearinpop


Pop Music Trends in 2016
The pop music team discusses news themes and what may shape it for years to come....

popmusic

The Best Albums of 2016
This week, The New York Times music team reflects on albums that defined 2016....

contemporarymusic


Revisiting Kanye West's 'The Life of Pablo'
After a series of bizarre shows, Kanye West canceled the remainder of his "Saint Pablo" tour last week. This weekend, we're listening back to the conversation Jon Caramanica led at the time of the album's release....

hip-hop


Popcast: What’s Next for Kesha?
The pop star has been locked in an ugly contract dispute with Dr. Luke; two writers who have examined her case break down the pop star’s situation....

popmusic



Popcast: The Next Teen Star Machine
Shawn Mendes broke out on Vine. The next breeding ground for pop stars might be Musical.ly, a social music app for teens....

contemporarymusic

Popcast: Fall Preview
The pop music team discusses some of their favorite upcoming fall releases....

contemporarymusic






Popcast: Hip-Hop Concerts and the Police
After a fatal shooting at a T.I. concert, Jon Caramanica and Joe Coscarelli discuss rap, race and security with Minya Oh, a.k.a. Miss Info, and Joie Manda of Interscope Records....

hip-hop Police

Popcast: Arthur Russell
New York Times music critics discuss Mr. Russell’s wide-angle, slow-release significance....

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Popcast: Remembering Prince
New York Times culture critics discuss Prince’s music and impact....

Princeremembered RememberingPrince Prince

Popcast: Caetano Veloso
Mr. Veloso, the great Brazilian singer and songwriter, discusses current events in his country....

CaetanoVeloso Brazil


Popcast: Jazz Artists in Exile
New York Times music critics discuss recent biopics about Miles Davis and Chet Baker....

MilesDavis jazz ChetBaker jazzmusic

Popcast: Jazz in Museums
Nate Chinen and Ben Ratliff on the ways jazz is being presented at museum spaces....

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Popcast: Gwen Stefani Returns
Ben Ratliff, Times music critic and Caryn Ganz, Times pop music editor, discuss the singer’s new album....

NoDoubt GwenStefani




Popcast: Love, Death and David Bowie
A conversation about the pop star’s life and work with the philosopher Simon Critchley, author of “Bowie.”...

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Popcast: Joanna Newsom
Ben Ratliff and Melissa Marturano talk about the critique of Ms. Newsom and her music....

JoannaNewsom



Popcast: The Weeknd
Times critics discuss The Weeknd’s music and new album, “Beauty Behind the Madness.”...

TheWeeknd


Popcast: ‘Where Are Ü Now’
Times music critics discuss Justin Bieber’s collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo....

JustinBieber Skillrex Diplo WhereAreUNow

Carly Rae Jepsen Grows Up
With “Emotion,” the singer known best for “Call Me Maybe” embraces a seductive side to her music....

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Popcast: ‘Straight Outta Compton’
Jon Caramanica and Reginald C. Dennis, a founding editor of XXL magazine, discuss N.W.A and the film....

StraightOuttaCompton movies hip-hop rap N.W.A


Popcast: Titus Andronicus
Ben Ratliff and Joe Coscarelli discuss the New Jersey punk band and their new album....

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Reggae’s Summer Flirtation
A look at the desire for a reggae or reggae-like worldwide pop hit between Memorial Day and Labor Day....

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Hip-Hop’s Silent Majority
Hip-hop’s mainstream can often be confused with prosperity gospel, so it’s striking that in 2015, at least a couple of the genre’s biggest selling stars want nothing to do with such narratives....

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Apple Music and Beats 1
Ben Ratliff and Ben Sisario discuss Apple Music, the much-anticipated music-streaming service to be launched June 30....

Streaming Apple Beats




U2 Prepares to Go on Tour
Ben Ratliff and Jon Pareles discuss U2 and “Songs of Innocence” as the group heads out on a world tour....

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New Albums By Zac Brown Band and Tyler Farr
Joe Coscarelli and Jon Caramanica discuss records from country dissenters and what, if anything, country’s borders mean anymore....

ZacBrownBand CountryMusic TylerFarr



Blurred Legal Lines
Ben Sisario, Jon Caramanica and Ben Ratliff discuss the “Blurred Lines” copyright trial....

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Who Is Boots?
Ben Ratliff and Jon Pareles discuss the 28-year-old singer, songwriter and producer....

musicproducer Boots producer

Grammys Post-Mortem
Jon Caramanica and Ben Ratliff discuss Kanye West, Beck, Iggy Azalea, Papa John’s and other stars of the show....

Beck KanyeWest TheGrammys IggyAzalea Grammys

Björk Gets Personal
Jon Pareles tells Ben Ratliff about club-hopping with Björk in Iceland and listening to her new album, “Vulnerica,” which was released last week....

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Sleater-Kinney Returns
Ben Ratliff and Jon Pareles are joined by Caryn Ganz, of RollingStone.com, to discuss “No Cities to Love,” the new album by Sleater-Kinney....

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All About Meghan Trainor
Ben Ratliff and Joe Coscarelli discuss Ms. Trainor as surprise, as a formula, as contrivance and as a product of Nantucket, hip-hop and Nashville....

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The Year in Jazz 2014
Jon Pareles, Nate Chinen and Ben Ratliff discuss the movements of jazz in 2014....

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The Year in Pop 2014
Ben Ratliff, Jon Pareles, Jon Caramanica and Nate Chinen discuss pop music’s dominant themes, lessons and preoccupations in 2014....

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The Best Albums of 2014
The pop critics of The New York Times discuss their lists of the Top 10 albums of the year....

bestalbums yearinmusic yearinpop


The Pop Savvy of ‘Beyond the Lights’
Jon Caramanica and A.O. Scott discuss what this modern update of “The Bodyguard” gets right about the music business....

movies TheBodyguard BeyondtheLights popmusic

London Calls Mary J. Blige
Jon Caramanica and Ben Ratliff discuss Mary J. Blige and her new album, “The London Sessions.”...

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Dave Grohl’s ‘Sonic Highways’
Ben Ratliff and Jon Caramanica discuss “Sonic Highways,” the new album and HBO mini-series by Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters....

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The Myth of Scott Walker
Jon Caramanica and Ben Ratliff discuss Scott Walker and “Soused,” his new album with the drone-metal band Sunn O)))....

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Parsing Steve Coleman’s Genius
Ben Ratliff and Nate Chinen discuss the jazz saxophonist, a recent winner of a MacArthur “genius” grant....

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The Alchemist
Ben Ratliff talks to Jennifer Herrema of the band Black Bananas....

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Songs of the Summer
Jon Caramanica and Ben Ratliff discuss some of the most popular songs of the summer....

SongoftheSummer