Monday, December 16th, 2013
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What's Left Of Pop Music In The Miley Era?

In the shower I listen to Kiss 108, Boston's Clear Channel-operated pop station, a fair amount, and so in addition to hearing the vowel-crazed Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z collaboration "Holy Grail" a lot I have been subjected to ads for the station's Jingle Ball, which took place at the TD Garden this past Saturday. Miley Cyrus was the scheduled headliner; the bill also included Enrique Iglesias, Paramore, Selena Gomez, Flo Rida, Fall Out Boy, Robin Thicke and Fifth Harmony. (Each year, a cast of Clear Channel-approved pop stars whips through the country's biggest markets, with lineups growing and shrinking in accordance with each city's prestige level.) I was pretty excited; [...]

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18

The Year In Internet Outrage

Last weekend, in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, and the revelation that the person behind it might have been a troubled young man, a writer in Idaho, Liza Long, put up a blog post, ""I Am Adam Lanza's Mother," that purported to speak to the experience of Nancy Lanza, who had been her own son's first victim. Tightly written and extremely candid about the violent rages and suicide threats of her son, it quickly spread beyond its original home on the web, picking up millions of pageviews from Gawker, BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post and other outlets looking for another weekend traffic jolt during a trying time.

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0

Christmas Music: Saint Etienne, Mariah Carey, Tuscadero, Mary Timony

I wrote a Christmas song once. It's been lost to the sands of time and warped cassettes, but it was a track that was not-very-vaguely about a dude I'd been seeing at the time. He lived in another state and liked Star Wars, which I had last seen when I was three, so I took the melody of the Bach-Gounod "Ave Maria," wrote a few lyrics about lightsabers and plane trips, and asked a four-track-enabled friend to assist with guitar parts and recording. Et voila, a holiday love song, sung by a totally twee me. Sweaters and cocoa for all! Oh, and the guy and I broke up [...]

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12

People Who Danced Onstage at Madison Square Garden on Saturday While Prince and Sheila E Played 'A Love Bizarre'

● ?uestlove ● Dr. Cornel West ● Naomi Campbell ● Tavis Smiley

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12

PJ Harvey, "Written On The Forehead"

This just in: A new PJ Harvey song from her forthcoming album Let England Shake, which comes out next February. The song is a half-spiky, half-spacey track that finds Harvey exploring the upper register of her voice the way she did on White Chalk; it is called "Written On The Forehead," and it's definitely not what I expected after hearing other songs she'd been working on. (A sampling of artists/labels name-checked by friends who'd heard the track: Deerhunter, Cocteau Twins, the Knife, Kate Bush, "early 4AD," "almost Stones Throw.") But what fun would the predictable be? Stream after the jump.

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3

The Naked Truth About Getting People To Click, Revealed

It's a trick question! The answer is actually "pageview bait."

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1

Snoop Dogg And Bachelor Parties: A Match Made In A Very Logical Place

"When I heard the royal family wanted to have me perform in celebration of Prince William’s marriage, I knew I had to give them a little something. ’Wet’ is the perfect anthem for Prince William or any playa to get the club smokin’. " —At 4:20 p.m. PT, Snoop Dogg will have a very classy wedding present for the prince: "Wet," an "anthem made for Prince William’s bachelor party and all bachelor parties around the world to follow." Somewhere, 50 Cent is bumming over his inability to think of this idea first.

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112

Why The Ads For Christmas Engagement Rings Make Me Uncomfortable

It's not even December, but the "aggravating trends in holiday commercials" list is already filling itself out quite nicely, and right behind the chart-topping scourge of twee that is Pomplamoose has to be the surge in ads for diamond merchants like Jared, Zales, and Kay, all of which have decided that the best way for a man to celebrate the season is to put a sparkly ring on his intended's finger. But all these ads are doing for me, a red-blooded American female, is solidifying my belief that that I never want someone in a relationship with me to feel like they have to "propose."

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31

Receptionists: Just Another Budgetary Item To Cut

The next casualty of the recession: Receptionists, who are, as one expert quoted by the Wall Street Journal says, a "a nonproductive use of a person." (That the person who proffered said opinion is a management consultant resulted in me making one of those laugh-cry-sneeze sounds.)

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5

'Bon Appetit' Eats The Future

The new issue of Bon Appetit declares Grant Achatz's Chicago restaurant Next, a high-concept, ticketed joint that will "serve four menus per year from great moments in culinary history — or the future," one of the best restaurants in the country for a celebration. Perhaps the magazine took the restaurant's idea of eating in "the future" seriously, since the place has yet to open, and likely won't until early 2011. [Via]

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39

'Cowboys & Aliens' Is Not Kidding, You Guys

"By the time the film, which cost about $100 million to produce, opens next July, the studio expects advertising and future promotions to have persuaded almost everyone that Mr. Favreau’s movie is a tough-minded adventure on the order of Clint Eastwood’s 'Unforgiven'—with aliens."

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25

Patrick Stump, "Spotlight"

I have been patiently (OK, semi-patiently) waiting for the release of the first full-length by Patrick Stump, the former Fall Out Boy lead singer and ex-Law & Order guest star who also happens to possess one of the best voices in pop today. He also has finely tuned musical instincts; I saw him play a brief set at SXSW in March, where he pulled off a Jon Brion-at-Largo style "play all the instruments then loop them" bit and a Bobby Womack cover. (It was awesome. Too short, of course, but awesome.) Last night he released the first single off his forthcoming record, "Spotlight," in not one but [...]

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32

Ladies Who Blog, Listed

Here is a list of "125 Fearless Female Bloggers," most of whom apparently possess that quality because they're not afraid to post about SEO practices, people being "Too Fake On Facebook," and "How To Get Incoming One Way Backlinks to Your Blog." What these women are trying to say aside from "Look at me! I have a message!" is unclear, but that is precisely why I am never not fascinated by the alternate-universe Internet; it's not even the medium that is the message over there, but its amplification. [Via]

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New Music: The Joy Formidable, LeeLou, PJ Harvey, Kylie Minogue, and Florrie

Over the past two years the new band I've been most thankful for is the Welsh trio The Joy Formidable; led by a powerhouse blonde named Ritzy Bryan, they sound like all the best bits of alt-nation's brief matriarchal rule, full of energy and passion and galloping drums. Last year, I probably would have worn out the grooves on their hyperactive single "Cradle" had I listened to it in physical form, and this year I have them on repeat again thanks to "I Don't Want To See You Like This," an impassioned look at a broken relationship that's currently fighting it out for the top [...]

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98

Liveblogging The 2010 American Music Awards: Teenage Dreams Of Prom Themes Past

Because nothing makes popular music more fun than typing alongside friends, it's time to do that "liveblogging" thing in honor of the 2010 American Music Awards, which celebrate the most popular of the most popular music that this country has to offer, complete with the sort of pomp that only the most craven enterprises can possess. Join me after the jump for the Black Eyed Peas, Christina Aguilera, Katy (sigh) Perry, the results of allowing 13-year-olds to vote (online) (for their favorite male pop stars), and OMG NEW KIDS AND BACKSTREET BOYS TOGETHER!!

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10

We Will Be Liveblogging The American Music Awards This Weekend!

The American Music Awards are simultaneously the silliest and the most honest music-related gala. Nominees are based on things like Soundscan numbers and online streams instead of trifles like artistic intent or legend status, and the winners are dubbed "favorites," not "bests." Yet there's an air of seriousness about it that you'd never see at, say, MTV's Video Music Awards, one that will be ever more present this year as the Black Eyed Peas bring us their latest wedding-floor-filler "The Time (Dirty Bit)" live for the first time on TV and Train play That Train Song You Hear Everywhere one more time. Which is to say, come [...]

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3

New Music: Marnie Stern, Sky Larkin, Shakira and the xx

My greatest regret of CMJ week, which just blew through New York in a whirlwind of panels and open bars and late-night Kanye sightings, was missing the almost-dozen performances by Marnie Stern. Marnie's self-titled album, which came out earlier this month on Kill Rock Stars, is my favorite record of the year—brash but vulnerable, energetic but melancholy, and full of . Plus, "Female Guitar Players Are The New Black" is not only a great title that sorta-forces critics to deal with their "OMG a girl is playing guitar really fast that's like so weird" biases, it's a whirlwind of a track, with an army of Sterns leading [...]

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88

iTunes' "69-Cent One-Hit Wonders" Ranked By Relative Tolerability

16. Baha Men, "Who Let The Dogs Out"

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33

Firefox Eats Its Own Tail

Shortly after embarking on my blogging stint at The Awl this week, I noted to Alex that my experience with the backend seemed extra-gloppy compared with my last stint on the site, and he agreed — the exact terminology involved the phrases "SUCKED BIG TIME" (all caps in original) and "terrible for me lately." What happened? The common threads between mine and Alex's experience seemed to involve WordPress and our browser of choice: Firefox. Could the once-nimble browser be hindering me? I inquired with a tech-savvy friend of mine to find out.

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8

"Pap Smear! Pap Smear!" Just Doesn't Have The Same Ring

A crisis pregnancy center in St. Cloud, Minn., has figured out a way to entice local students who might not otherwise appreciate their mix of sex education and religious lecturing (not to mention whoosh-filled videos): According to a coupon inside the most recent edition of the St. Cloud University annual agenda, the Pregnancy Resource Center of St. Cloud, Minn is packaging its STD, HIV, and Pap tests with a free cheese pizza at the local Little Caesars. (One pizza per person only, alas. Although given the religious bent of this place… if you're pregnant, does that mean you're eligible to eat for two?) [Via]

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