Music

Music

The season of list-making, specifically (for us) lists about the year's best music, is rapidly descending. But before the craziness begins over who had the best album or song in 2017, we thought we'd look back at some of our previous top-ten lists to see if they even hold up. As you can imagine, some albums we once thought were great have since lost their luster, while others haven't aged a day.

The Memphis gospel-soul man Don Bryant may not like rain, but he's sure dreaming about snow this holiday season.

José James, the eclectic, groove-minded jazz singer, has made no secret of his fondness for Bill Withers. There's a medley that James has been singing in concert for years, linking Withers' despondent anthem "Ain't No Sunshine" with an upturning grace note, "Grandma's Hands."

Paul Kelly On Mountain Stage

Nov 14, 2017

One of the most prominent and beloved singer-songwriters in Australia, Paul Kelly made his first appearance on Mountain Stage in 1992. For this, his sixth appearance on the show, Kelly brought a seven-piece band to perform songs from his latest release, Life Is Fine.

Considering all the unique monikers MCs have concocted throughout the history of rap, Aminé — Adam Daniel's middle name by birth — isn't all that strange. But that hasn't kept him from becoming the hip-hop artist with the hardest-to-pronounce name of the moment. He's been called everything from anime (as in Japanese animation) to amino (as in the acid).

Updated 8:41 a.m., Tue., Nov. 14.

The band Brand New is postponing its comeback tour of the U.K. following accusations of sexual misconduct against its singer, Jesse Lacey, made public last week on social media.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

"The value of Death," wrote songwriter Sean Bean, of Boston's Bad History Month, in a dense, intimate introduction to new album Dead and Loving It, "is that it's an infallibly reliable fixed point on the horizon to navigate by when I'm lost at sea."

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

Review: Charlotte Gainsbourg, 'Rest'

Nov 13, 2017

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

The 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards are set to air live from Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 16. Alt.Latino's Felix Contreras visits the show to give his predictions — and some possible predicaments — ahead of this year's ceremony.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Since she was 16 years old, Puerto Rico's Ileana Cabra has been trading slick bars in musical sparring matches with her brothers, René Pérez Joglar and Eduardo Cabra Martinez, better known as the Grammy-winning hip-hop duo Calle 13.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now we turn to a story of love, friendship and music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUITE: JUDY BLUE EYES")

CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH: (Singing) It's getting to the point where I'm no fun anymore.

When songwriter David Yazbek, whose mother is Jewish and father Lebanese, decided to write a musical that fused his two cultural backgrounds, he knew he didn't want it to be about tribal conflict.

His new Broadway show, The Band's Visit, attempts to do something that seems almost unfashionable: look at two historically antagonistic cultures and tell a story about their commonality.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Country Music Association Awards ceremony was Wednesday, but people are still talking about the show because of what wasn't said that night. The CMA tried to create a politics-free zone for hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, and for reporters covering the event.

William Patrick Corgan would be the first to admit that many people's image of him was locked down back in 1995 as Billy Corgan: frontman of The Smashing Pumpkins. The Pumpkins had just released Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the album with the song "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" -– you know, the one where despite all his rage, he's still just a rat in a cage?

Digital lip-syncing aimed at teens is officially a big, big business: Chinese tech company Bytedance has announced it plans to "merge" with — acquire — Musical.ly, a popular lip-synching app launched in China in 2013.

Financial terms of the deal weren't included in today's announcement, but news reports put the deal's value at between $800 million and $1 billion.

For decades now, country's aesthetic and ideological sensibilities have been shaped as much by the music's modern, middle-class suburban appeal as its rural working-class roots, which can make for quite the rhetorical push-and-pull (likely one of many factors that contributed to the Dixie Chicks' famed expulsion from the format over voicing distaste for the second President Bush during a U.K. concert). Working-class political speech hasn't always been recognized as political at all; it's just as likely to be dismissed as class resentment.

Ruth Laredo On Piano Jazz

Nov 10, 2017

One of the premier classical pianists of her generation, Ruth Laredo (1937–2005) was known as America's First Lady of the Piano. In partnership with Marian McPartland and Dick Hyman, Laredo produced wildly popular Three Piano Crossover Concerts, exploring the boundaries between classical music and jazz.

Eminem And Beyoncé 'Walk On Water'

Nov 10, 2017

The mysterious rollout of Eminem's Revival, his upcoming album and first in four years, has brought out its biggest guns yet with the release of new song, "Walk on Water," by summoning the Queen Bey herself.

Advisory: The above video contains language some may find offensive.

All too often, Southern-bred MCs get squeezed into a stereotypical box to reach the masses. Not so with Pell, the Mississippi-by-way-of-New-Orleans artist whose sound is as eclectic as his look.

Benjamin Zander: How Does Music Transform Us?

Nov 10, 2017

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Art Changes Us.

About Benjamin Zander's TED Talk

Years of conducting a world-famous orchestra have shown Benjamin Zander the power of classical music. He says music speaks to our emotions — and has the ability to reach everybody.

About Benjamin Zander

His Electro Blue Voice is as meditative as it is menacing, the Italian noise-rock band's collection of high-strung scrapes and howls driven by motorik percussion. Mental Hoop, its second record following Ruthless Sperm and a series of EPs, draws back on the pleasantries and dives headfirst into the nastier end of the band's sound.

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