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Maura Johnston

Maura Johnston

Most Recently: What's Left Of Pop Music In The Miley Era?

I have no idea what I am doing.

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; the Boston lineup had three of my favorite artists of 2013, and the show itself would serve as a chance for me to take the temperature of the pop world in a place away from Twitter—or at least in a different slice of it. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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 about two weeks later. READ MORE

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
● Jamie Foxx
● Whoopi Goldberg
● Spike Lee
● Sherri Shepherd
● Alicia Keys
● John Leguizamo
● Guy in Steelers jersey who was quite possibly a Steeler READ MORE

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. READ MORE

The Naked Truth About Getting People To Click, Revealed

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

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’. " READ MORE

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.) READ MORE

'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]

'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."