Video Vault 110: Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde at 25

On the 25th anniversary of The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, 33 1/3 author Andrew Barker gives us a glimpse at the greatness of this hip-hop foursome and their debut album. Twenty five years ago today, Los Angeles’ inimitable oddballs The Pharcyde released Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, their first and unquestionably greatest album. There’s something bittersweet about watching such a touchstone of youthful exuberance and melancholy cross the quarter-century mark. Not only because the album was so pioneering that it would probably be an even bigger hit if it were…

Nothing Has Been Done Before, Day 5: Alternate Takes and Outtakes

For the portion of author Robert Loss’s guest spot, he takes us through the music and artists he could not quite fit into the book. You can read his more on his study of newness and popular music in Nothing Has Been Done Before: Seeking the New in 21st Century American Popular Music. Nothing Has Been Done Before is the second book in a new series from Bloomsbury, Alternate Takes: Critical Responses to Popular Music. The point of the series is “to examine popular music from critical perspectives that challenge the…

Nothing Has Been Done Before, Day 4: American Studies

Today guest blogger Robert Loss writes about the multifaceted notion of “American-ness” and how it unfolds across genres of popular music. Whether they mean to or not, every American artist tells his or her version of the American story. The “American” descriptor in the book’s subtitle (“Seeking the New in 21st-Century American Popular Music”) winds its way throughout the book as a constantly changing narrative, a set of beliefs, a place, a people, visions of the past, and visions of the future. Sometimes the American-ness is treated explicitly. In “Revivals…

Nothing Has Been Done Before, Day 3: Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize for Literature

We continue with guest blogger and author Robert Loss, whose new book Nothing Has Been Done Before explores the idea of newness in popular music. Today, read about how he wrote his Bob Dylan chapter and how Dylan’s Nobel Prize win changed the course of his writing. Plus, a Dylan playlist. The situation is always changing. The book you might have written five years ago about Prince would be very different from the book you’d write today. We could say the same about Taylor Swift, or retro music, or newness in general.…

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…

Video Vault, Episode 43: On the Run

Prior to May 2014 I was extremely ambivalent about Beyoncé. Yes, I respected her enormous ass talent but was never a Destiny’s Child fan and none of her solo work spoke to me until the Unfortunate Incident of the Sister in the Elevator, which had the happy result of exposing me to her most recent album – the top-secret “audio-visual medium” she dropped last December complete with 17 videos. One of the few things I’ve ever paid for on iTunes – and the fastest selling album in the history of the iTunes Store, both in…

The 33 1/3 New Author Q&A: Jenn Pelly

Today, we bring you a Q&A with Jenn Pelly, who will be writing the 33 1/3 on The Raincoats! Tell us a bit about yourself in an extended author biography. My name is Jenn Pelly and I am from Long Island, N.Y. I was born exactly 10 years after The Raincoats. I decided to become a writer when I was five, after an author came to one of my Daisy’s meetings and read to us from an illustrated children’s book about anthropomorphic soap bubbles who hang out at the edge…

Wolf in White Van – The SECOND Brilliant Novel From John Darnielle

Over the summer I had the pleasure of reading John Darnielle’s new novel Wolf in White Van. It’s a dark story of a man whose life is ruined by a self-inflicted gun shot wound that leaves him horribly disfigured instead of dead. But this character, Sean, is sympathetic. He is lonely and self-aware and the hours he spends alone in his small suburban house are spent concocting an elaborate mail-order choose your own adventure game that he runs through ads placed in obscure magazines. Sean’s game is called Trace Italian…