Then & Now: Country

Of all the musical genres we’ve studied in this series—electronica, soul, synthpop, punk and hip-hop thus far—perhaps none is as divisive as today’s topic: Country.

Nov 7, 2018

Then & Now: The Reign of Hip Hop

Many genres of popular music boast to have “changed the landscape.” Some of them even make a strong case for the claim. But of all the musical styles to have arisen in the past few decades, it’s arguable that none has had as deep an impact as hip hop. And though it’s unquestionably an expression of the African-American experience, it’s found resonance in every corner of the globe and on every continent. (Yes, including Antarctica.)   

Sep 13, 2018

Then & Now: The Enduring Power of Soul

“We want these words, Tender and bold, They don't have to be strong, Just give us a whole lot of soul.”

Aug 23, 2018

Electronica: Then & Now

Of all the musical styles jostling for their place in the spotlight, perhaps none is as all-encompassing as electronica. In many regards the first truly global genre, electronica isn’t bound by any specific language, cultural boundary or geographic limitation.

Jul 17, 2018

Punk: Then & Now

Imagine, if you will, the musical landscape of 1976. Disco and soft rock rule the airwaves; in November of that year, Captain & Tennille’s “Muskrat Love,” strangely, will go to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Mainstream music remains placid, pleasant, and unchallenging, save the occasional sprinklings of prog and harder-edged stuff. “Harder” meaning, in this case, Boston and Ted Nugent.

Now, picture a sonic hand grenade thrown into the center of this safe and serene environment: A deafening wave of crashing guitars and furious, bile-spewing singers set on destroying everything that’s come before it. We’re talking, of course, about punk rock.

Jun 21, 2018