Vs. versus Vitalogy

Vs. album cover

If you’re with me here, there’s a good chance you’ve been with Pearl Jam since the beginning—and you may have already asked yourself, “If this guy was interested in a tough period for the band, did he forget about Vitalogy?” It’s a fair question. The general consensus is that PJ’s third record represents equal parts soaring creative victory and spectacular implosion. The band members themselves tend to agree when they reflect on Vitalogy, as does producer Brendan O’Brien. In 2001, he said, the album was “a little strained.” Then he elaborated: “I’m being polite—there was some imploding going on.”

My Midnight Vs. Purchase in the Rearview Mirror

Tower Records logo

If you’re of a certain age and musical bent, the midnight record release party likely holds a special, nostalgic place in your heart. Because they’re where you scored some of the albums that shaped your youth and young adulthood. Because high school and college were decades ago, and the good stuff from that long and challenging era now shines brighter than the mistakes and regrets. Because, perhaps, you’re not sure if you’ve attended a release party since the turn of the millennium.

New 33 1/3’s + upcoming author takeover!

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Vs. roils with fury—and at times, gently steams over the trappings of fame, human faults, and societal injustice. Tapestry is both an anthemic embodiment of second-wave feminism and an apotheosis of the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter sound and scene. To coincide with our latest releases, authors Clint Brownlee and Loren Glass continue to explore these two albums, expanding upon their work right here on the blog.

When Frankie Shot Johnny

Image of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Santi Elijah Holley on the story of Allen Britt and Frankie Baker While most murder ballads traditionally center on the murder of a woman by a man, a few notable ballads flip the script. The most immediate one that comes to mind is, of course, the classic ballad of the spurned woman, “Henry Lee” (or “Love Henry,” as it’s also known), which Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds included on their album Murder Ballads. Though not referenced on Murder Ballads, one of the most popular and widely adapted ballads in…

Virtual ‘Realities’ in The Velvet Rope

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Ayanna Dozier on Janet Jackson, cyber culture, and more. Technophilia and Technophobia were the rage in the late 1990s. As the approaching new millennia loomed on the horizon, society was facing a technological expansion hitherto experienced before. The internet transformed not only our communicative habits but our awareness of space and time itself, producing what scholar John B. Thompson writes as a space-time distanciation (Thompson 1995). This concept refers to how time, regardless of geographic location, now feels as if it operates on a global simultaneity; we feel like we…

Announcement: New 33 1/3 books + upcoming author take-over!

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Grab your headphones and your reading glasses and settle into your favorite cushy chair, because today marks the publication of 3 new 33 1/3 titles—Suicides’s Suicide, Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope, and Various Artists’ I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen.

The Journey of Writing a 33 1/3 on Massive Attack

Ian Bourland just wrote published his new 33 1/3, Massive Attack’s Blue Lines, and now he’s back to tell us about the process of how it came to be. Is it all about the finished product, or the journey it takes to get there? Writing Massive Attack: Blue Lines is the most fun writing assignment I’ve ever had, though it wasn’t really because of the subject matter. Sure, music journalism is about the apex of coolness in our industry, and certainly Massive Attack are synonymous with a certain cosmopolitan mystique.…