By Hiram Lee, 9 October 2017
In truth, “Bodak Yellow” is a vulgar work that glorifies backward and genuinely anti-social impulses.
By Hiram Lee, 5 October 2017
Tom Petty died suddenly October 2 at the age of 66. He was a genuine and unpretentious songwriter and performer.
By James Brewer, 21 September 2017
Scott D. Rosenbaum’s film documents the lives of three blues musicians whose talents graced the bands of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
By Hiram Lee, 24 August 2017
The latest album by songwriter Randy Newman satirizes Vladimir Putin, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the conflict between science and religion.
“The night our eyes changed”
By Paul Bond, 16 August 2017
Music mogul Simon Cowell brought together high-profile figures for a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, but a far more powerful and politically interesting response has come from local artists.
By Paul Bond, 2 August 2017
The revival of the fortunes of traditional Cajun music owes much to Menard’s love of country music, and his warmly nasal voice.
By Nick Barrickman, 24 July 2017
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s 4:44, released June 30 on his Roc Nation label and available through Carter’s streaming service Tidal, is the rapper and entrepreneur’s thirteenth studio album.
Roger Waters’ Is This the Life We Really Want?: An angry, depressed protest against war and nationalism
By Kevin Reed, 9 June 2017
In 12 tracks and 55 minutes, Waters paints a picture of a desperate world and he issues an angry protest—if also a disheartened outburst—against the things that make it so.
By Norisa Diaz, 5 June 2017
The New York-based band has been banished from the music industry following social media allegations of sexual assault, undermining the long-standing legal principle that the accused is presumed “innocent until proven guilty.”
By Adam Soroka, 22 May 2017
Cornell (born July 20, 1964 in Seattle, Washington) will be best remembered as the lead vocalist of the Seattle metal band Soundgarden. His vocals combined an R&B sensibility with a dynamic, multi-octave range.
By Matthew Brennan, 18 May 2017
The album is June’s first proper release since the 2013 album Pushing Against a Stone, which made her a nationally known artist in the US.
By Hiram Lee, 15 April 2017
Folk singer Rhiannon Giddens’ latest album will almost certainly be counted among the best of this year.
By Hiram Lee, 23 March 2017
It would be difficult to overstate Berry’s influence on American popular music in the second half of the 20th century. Perhaps more than any other artist in the genre, he defined the sound of rock ’n’ roll.
By Hiram Lee, 27 February 2017
Indie rock veterans The Flaming Lips have returned with a new album of mostly detached psychedelia.
By Fred Mazelis, 20 February 2017
A late 19th century composer who has some detractors gets his big moment at Carnegie Hall.
Columnist Myles E. Johnson on Beyoncé at the Grammys
By David Walsh, 16 February 2017
The February 14 op-ed piece in the Times by Myles E. Johnson (“What Beyoncé Won Was Bigger Than a Grammy”) is an especially repugnant example of racialism.
By Nick Barrickman, 15 February 2017
Numerous Grammy Award-winning music artists took to the stage on Sunday’s awards ceremony to criticize the new US administration.
By Nick Barrickman, 15 February 2017
Axelrod crafted and inspired some of the more haunting, cinematic and versatile popular American music during the second half of the 20th century.
By Nick Barrickman, 7 January 2017
Bey’s humane and charismatic personality was on display at his Washington, D.C. performances; with the artist rapping, crooning, drumming and at times breaking into dance on stage.
By Hiram Lee and Matthew Brennan, 31 December 2016
Much of the pop music released in North America this past year was uninspired and superficial. Some was merely empty-headed and crude.
By Kevin Reed, 17 December 2016
Greg Lake was a founder, along with schoolmate Robert Fripp, of the British band King Crimson in 1968 and later the 1970s’ supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
By Fred Mazelis, 29 November 2016
The opera has received almost a dozen productions since its premiere five years ago.
By Hiram Lee, 23 November 2016
Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, famed for songs such as “Suzanne,” “The Stranger Song,” “So Long, Marianne,” “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” “Famous Blue Raincoat” and “Bird on the Wire,” died November 7 at the age of 82.
By Evan Winters, 26 October 2016
Members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, together with other musicians and PSO students, played to hundreds of people in person and thousands more online.
By Verena Nees, 19 September 2016
The summer music festival was held in Berlin for the seventeenth time and attracted an audience of 26,000 to the Berlin concert hall at the Gendarmenmarkt.
Toots Thielemans: 1922-2016
By James Brewer, 25 August 2016
The Belgian-born multi-instrumental jazz musician became widely known for his virtuosic harmonica playing.
By David Walsh and Zac Corrigan, 18 July 2016
M.I.A. has every right to criticize Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, who travel in privileged circles around the Obamas and other leading Democratic Party figures.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 16 July 2016
In addition to a remarkable command of his instrument, guitarist Häns’che Weiss was distinguished by his thrilling musicality.
By Hiram Lee, 6 July 2016
Ralph Stanley led one of the most remarkable groups in Bluegrass music and was among the genre’s greatest banjo players and singers.
By George Marlowe, 6 June 2016
The World Socialist Web Site spoke to Anohni about her new album.
“If I killed your mother with a drone bomb, how would you feel?”—Crisis
By Zac Corrigan, 6 June 2016
Anohni is the British-born, American transgender singer formerly known as Antony Hegarty who released five albums under the name Antony and the Johnsons.
By Hiram Lee, 27 April 2016
While music icon Prince, who died April 21 at the age of 57, was among the more electrifying performers of his generation, his work could be terribly uneven.
By Fred Mazelis, 23 April 2016
Copland’s jazz-influenced Piano Concerto deserves a higher profile in the orchestral repertoire.
By Matthew MacEgan, 22 April 2016
Harvey’s new album is the product of the artist’s investigation into the poverty and devastation being inflicted on different parts of the globe.
By John Andrews, 7 April 2016
Films based on the lives and personas of post-World War II jazz musicians Chet Baker and Miles Davis have been released recently.
By Hiram Lee, 29 March 2016
The members of A Tribe Called Quest were more relatable than the superstar rappers who came before them and more sensitive and intelligent than the lyricists of then-emerging gangster rap.
By Nick Barrickman, 21 March 2016
A talented musician, Yancey is considered by many to have been among the greatest of all hip hop producers.
By Hiram Lee, 15 March 2016
Legendary music producer George Martin, who supervised almost all of the Beatles’ recordings, died on March 8.
By Jeff Lusanne, 22 January 2016
An album fusing Western jazz traditions and traditional Arab music preserves an endangered Iraqi art form and creates a new sound.
30 December 2015
World Socialist Web Site music writers pick their favorite recordings of 2015.
An interview with performer, educator and archivist of the Great American Songbook, Michael Feinstein
By Barry Grey, 23 December 2015
“I feel that this body of work is timeless, because it has a level of craft, inspiration and quality that transcends the era in which it was created.”
By Nick Barrickman, 20 November 2015
Look What This World Did To Us (April 2015, Mello Music Group) is the third full-length studio album from Detroit-area rapper/producer Red Pill (born Chris Orrick, 1987).
By James Brewer, 18 November 2015
Recorded at a series of shows in Northern California in 2006, this live CD epitomizes Allison at his best.
By Hiram Lee, 12 November 2015
On tour at the time of his death, Toussaint suffered a heart attack following a performance at the Teatro Lara in Madrid, Spain.
By Jeff Lusanne, 17 September 2015
The Epic is a striking new work in jazz that successfully incorporates many influences into a unique new big band sound, and provides an engaging concert experience.
By Hiram Lee, 9 September 2015
The latest album from the neo-soul singer is an interesting but uneven effort.
By Verena Nees, 31 August 2015
The annual Young Euro Classic youth orchestra festival recently concluded with a memorable performance in the Berlin Concert Hall.
By Nick Barrickman, 25 August 2015
Straight Outta Compton is a hip hop biopic focusing on the rise to prominence of the influential hip hop group N.W.A. in the late 1980s.
By Nick Barrickman, 21 August 2015
While avoiding many of the more overt expressions of self-absorption, many of the Oddisee’s attempts to reflect reality remain purely on an individual and superficial plane.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 August 2015
Asif Kapadia’s documentary is a straightforward and compelling account of the performer’s life starting at the age of fourteen.
By Kevin Reed, 30 July 2015
The British-born bass player, song writer and vocalist for the progressive rock band Yes, died on June 27 at his home in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 67.
What Happened, Miss Simone?: The life of African-American singer, pianist and civil rights activist Nina Simone
By Helen Hayes and Fred Mazelis, 22 July 2015
Simone did not so much move between different genres—jazz, gospel, blues and folk—as combine them into her own unique and powerful style.
By Nancy Hanover, 29 June 2015
The WSWS is reposting a 2010 review of Strange Fruit, a book by British journalist and scientist Kenan Malik, who penned a thoughtful look on the complex biological, social and historical issues involved in the notion of race and racism.
By Nick Barrickman, 1 June 2015
Despite the album’s billing as socially conscious “political rap” by certain critics, the focus of To Pimp ... is largely on the rapper himself and his personal experiences in the music world.
By James Brewer, 18 May 2015
The iconic American blues artist died May 15 at 89, after dozens of albums and decades of intensive touring.
By Nick Barrickman and David Walsh, 20 February 2015
In recent months, the hip hop music industry has witnessed a controversy surrounding the commercial success of Australian-born rapper Iggy Azalea.
By James Brewer, 3 January 2015
The iconic British rock performer died on December 22 of lung cancer at the age of 70.
By our reporters, 31 December 2014
World Socialist Web Site music writers pick their favorite pop and jazz recordings of 2014.
By Hiram Lee, 27 December 2014
The music of saxophonists Stephens and Smith reveals some of the strengths and weaknesses in contemporary jazz.
By Nick Barrickman, 10 December 2014
Run the Jewels 2 is the second full-length studio effort from the hip hop duo Run the Jewels, consisting of rapper Killer Mike and rapper-producer El-P.
By Eric London, 25 November 2014
The musician has broken through with his third album, which combines late-1960s rock influences with the plaintive drawl of the Southwestern country desperado.
By Fred Mazelis, 13 November 2014
The latest contract follows a pattern across the US, but there is also growing anger at the corporate stranglehold on culture.
By Dylan Lubao, 16 October 2014
Kelsey Waldon sets out to tell small-town stories in her debut album.
By Fred Mazelis, 20 August 2014
An all-night bargaining session produced a four-year deal based on “equality of sacrifice.”
By Nick Barrickman, 6 August 2014
Francis is best known for his passionate vocal performances and thought-provoking lyrics that express understandable anger at the conditions of modern society.
By Fred Mazelis, 25 July 2014
This “lost opera,” written in the late 1960s, deserves a permanent place in the repertoire.
By our reporters, 12 July 2014
World Socialist Web Site music reviewers pick some of the more interesting albums or songs released in the first half of 2014.
By Hiram Lee, 7 July 2014
Lyricist Gerry Goffin passed away in June at the age of 75. Together with composer Carole King, he wrote many of the better known pop hits of the 1960s.
By Nick Barrickman, 30 June 2014
Formed in 1987 in Philadelphia, The Roots have produced some of the more interesting and oppositional music in hip hop.
By Nick Barrickman and David Walsh, 26 June 2014
The notion that the official hip hop world represents anything “subversive” or “oppositional” is laughable and should be put to rest, once and for all.
By Hiram Lee, 16 June 2014
The Detroit-based Royal Garden Trio perform classic jazz and popular songs from the 1920s and 1930s. Their work deserves a larger audience.
By Matthew Brennan, 14 June 2014
Though not a huge deviation, Beyoncé is musically a bit more experimental than her previous albums.
By Fred Mazelis, 12 June 2014
A one-man show in New York reveals something of the man behind the myth about an iconic figure in jazz history
By Zac Corrigan, 27 May 2014
The latest album from Mark Kozelek, who records as Sun Kil Moon, concerns the often tragic lives of the singer’s friends and family members.
By Hiram Lee, 24 May 2014
Following last year’s successful collaboration with Daft Punk, producer and performer Pharrell Williams has returned with Girl, a hit album of his own.
By Nick Barrickman, 22 May 2014
The group consists of rapper Slug (Sean Daley, born 1972) and producer Ant (Anthony Davis)
By Hiram Lee, 17 May 2014
Indie-pop band Tune-Yards has returned with a strong follow-up to its 2011 release Whokill.
By Hiram Lee, 13 May 2014
American singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has returned with a new best-of collection.
By Hiram Lee, 7 May 2014
Out Among the Stars collects material recorded by country music legend Johnny Cash in the early 1980s and never before released to the public.
By Fred Mazelis, 14 April 2014
The used instruments were accumulated in a ten-day drive conducted by classical station WQXR that ended on April 7.
By Fred Mazelis, 11 April 2014
The program performed April 2 by the New York Philharmonic was a powerful demonstration of the heights reached by classical music in the first half of the last century.
By Eric London, 10 March 2014
The Southern alternative-country group has set high standards after 18 years of making music—but they have not outdone themselves on their newest release.
By David Walsh, 30 January 2014
In a career that lasted almost three quarters of a century, Seeger wrote, co-wrote or was identified with a number of the most popular folk or protest songs of the second half of the twentieth century.
By D. Lencho, 8 January 2014
These great, although lesser-known figures in jazz, who died in the last few months of 2013, left a legacy of beautiful music.
By Hiram Lee, 7 January 2014
Singer Phil Everly, one half of the early Rock ‘n’ Roll duo The Everly Brothers, has died at the age of 74.
By our reporters, 27 December 2013
World Socialist Web Site music writers pick their favorite pop and jazz recordings of 2013.
By Zac Corrigan, 24 December 2013
A refugee of the Sri-Lankan civil war, MIA makes pop music that shows an awareness of and sensitivity to the lives of impoverished victims of imperialism around the world.
By Juan Verala Luz and Toby Reese, 19 November 2013
Jake Bellows’ debut solo project New Ocean is an artist’s attempt to understand who he is and why he writes music.
By Nick Barrickman, 15 November 2013
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is the eighth full-length studio solo album from American rap artist Eminem.
By Dylan Lubao, 14 November 2013
In his latest album, folk musician Barton Carroll paints a picture of small-town Appalachia and its musical influence on him.
By Hiram Lee, 29 October 2013
Lou Reed, founder of the influential rock band The Velvet Underground, has died at the age of 71.
By Ed Hightower, 25 October 2013
Sixteen-year-old New Zealand pop singer Lorde places themes of social inequality front and center on her debut album Pure Heroine.
By Fred Mazelis, 10 October 2013
It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this iconic figure. Opera—certainly Italian opera—cannot be spoken of without mentioning Verdi’s name.
By Fred Mazelis, 25 September 2013
An important new book explores the period of musical history brought to an end by fascist barbarism.
By Hiram Lee, 6 September 2013
Glasgow-based rock band Franz Ferdinand have returned with their first album in four years.
By Hiram Lee, 27 August 2013
Rhythm and blues great Bobby “Blue” Bland, whose hits included “Cry, Cry, Cry” and “Turn on Your Lovelight,” died this summer at the age of 83.
By Ben Trent, 12 August 2013
The metalcore band Heaven Shall Burn, from Saalfeld in eastern Germany, released their seventh studio album in April of this year, simply entitled Veto.
By Khara Sikhan, 10 August 2013
”Shaker Aamer” is the latest song by British singer/songwriter PJ Harvey, titled for the name of a prisoner held in Guantánamo Bay since 2002.
By Nick Barrickman and Zac Corrigan, 19 July 2013
Yeezus is Kanye West’s sixth major label album and the artist’s fifth album to debut at number one on Billboard charts in the US.
By Dylan Lubao, 8 July 2013
In The Ash & Clay, the Milk Carton Kids—Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan—examine an America at the crossroads.