Nothing Has Been Done Before, Day 2: An Extended Timeline

Even though Nothing Has Been Done Before centers on music made since 2000, it is, at times, intensely historical, tracing stories and ideas that reach back to more than a century ago. Author Robert Loss explores some of the defining moments in pop music history on that extended timeline.   1859—Let’s start in the year that minstrel-show innovator Dan Emmett debuts “I Wish I Was in the Land of Dixie,” a song he likely stole from Ellen Snowden, the matriarch of a Black American family of musicians who were his…

Nothing Has Been Done Before Day 1: ‘Newness’ and Popular Music

This week, we bring you posts from guest blogger Robert Loss, author of Nothing Has Been Done Before. Read on to learn what inspired him to write the book, why he thinks that there is room for newness in popular music, and how this newness can evade being defined by demands of consumerist culture in popular music. Plus! A bonus playlist to accompany the music covered in the book. “Britney Spears is constantly coming up with something new and innovative. Pere Ubu does the same old thing. ‘New’ is a trap and…

Album Anniversary: Celebrating 20 years of The Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka

Join us today in celebrating the 20th anniversary of Zaireeka by the Flaming Lips with Mark Richardson, author of The Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka, who explains the distinct listening experience that The Flaming Lips brought with this unique four-part album. Twenty years ago, the Flaming Lips album Zaireeka was released into a different world. We were rushing to a new age of speed and convenience, but many aspects of life still moved at a crawl. News came through newspapers and television broadcasts, and the 28.8 modem was standard (for people with internet,…

Video Vault 109: Björk’s best little video oddities

There is a huge sea of Björk interviews, TV appearances and live shows out there on the internet to get wonderfully lost in. Whole days can go that way, easily. There’s also many a rare gem to be found, if you dig deep – and in the course of writing my 33 1/3, I definitely dug deep. Months on, YouTube is still going “Hey! Maybe you’d like to watch this other Björk video!” And do you know what, I still would. Here are some of the best little video oddities…

Remembering Tom Petty: 33 1/3 Southern Accents author reflects on Petty’s legacy, the album, and the trappings of heritage

This week, Michael Washburn, author of Tom Petty’s Southern Accents (coming Fall 2018!), reflects on Tom Petty’s impact on American culture, what Tom Petty’s Southern heritage meant to him, and how Petty approached the representations of Southern heritage in Southern Accents. Tom Petty’s death last week provoked a torrent of deserved, heartfelt tributes. The 66 year-old rock star bridged late-70s rock radio to the video generation, and he continued writing solid songs well into the 21st century. Petty’s death revealed him as an institution that we’d long taken for granted. It’s only…

Björk Week – Day 5: Six connections between Homogenic and Utopia

To celebrate this week’s release of Bjork’s Homogenic, we’re pleased to bring you the fifth and final installment of Björk Week by author Emily Mackay! Six connections between Homogenic and Utopia. One of the main reasons I can’t stop obsessing over Homogenic so much is that I can always find paths from Björk’s more recent work leading back to it. Medulla’s concern with national and global identity, Volta’s feminist politics, Biophilia’s unification of nature and technology… there’s always a thread back to the album that for me, really defined what…

Björk Week – Day 4: A whistle-stop tour of Iceland

To celebrate today’s release of Björk’s Homogenic, we’re pleased to share with you the fourth installment of Björk Week by author Emily Mackay! A whistle-stop tour of Iceland. Björk presents her music and personality as so much founded on her home country that soon enough, all smitten Björk fans will find themselves longing to take a trip to Iceland. If you’re lucky enough to make it out there, here are a few Björk-related places you might want to check out (and a whole load of nerd-facts to boot). Reykjavík harbour Before she…

Björk Week – Day 3: The pleasure is all mine: Björk and remixing

To celebrate this week’s release of Björk’s Homogenic, we’re pleased to bring you the third installment of Björk Week by author Emily Mackay! The pleasure is all mine: Björk and remixing. Björk’s love of collaboration is not, to her, a sideshow to the main ego feature; it’s a core part of her work. “That’s my biggest turn-on,” she said in the book that accompanied the release of her second album Post. “To meet someone who comes from a completely different place than I do. I’ll show them everything; I’ll give them everything I’ve…

Björk Week – Day 2: Björk’s musical past lives

To celebrate this week’s release of Björk’s Homogenic, we’re pleased to bring you the second installment of Björk Week by author Emily Mackay! Bjork’s musical past lives. Björk presented herself as fresh-faced ingenue on 1993’s Debut – for its 2015 reissue, she chose the words ‘beginner’, ‘shy’, ‘humility’ and ‘virgin’ to describe its character. In reality, although she was a new face to much of the global audience that album captured, the 27-year-old had been queen of the Icelandic scene for many years. Most music fans, especially we of advancing age, know…

Björk Week: Day 1 – Why it had to be Homogenic

To celebrate this week’s release of Björk’s Homogenic, we’re pleased to bring you the first installment of Björk Week by author Emily Mackay! The same year I began writing this book, I finally took my old stereo back from my parents’ house. I’d got the system, a 5-CD changer with two cassette decks and a turntable, in 1997, the year Björk’s album Homogenic was released. I was 16. I can remember how it was when I first played Homogenic on that stereo, the great dizzying swoop and a fillip in the…