Watch: Kanye Performs, Bruce Springsteen Fills in for Bono in Surprise Times Square Concert

When you’re walking through Times Square, you’re more likely to get motor-boated by an anthropomorphized M&M than to experience… Read More

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Bono’s Sunglasses Aren’t There to Be Cool — They’re There to Help His Glaucoma

Glaucoma can be quite painful, causing intense pressure in the eyes, not to mention, on occasion, blindness — and,… Read More

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U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ iTunes Release Was About Relevance, Not Altruism

In 2014, it takes Apple and U2 to pull off a musical monoculture that rivals both Beyoncé’s 2013 sneak attack and Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want In Rainbows launch. The tech giants and the world-dominating rockers continued their decade-long business collaboration in a big way yesterday during the launch of Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and two different versions of the iPhone 6. Unbeknownst to the masses, Apple released U2’s unannounced but highly anticipated new album, Songs of Innocence, straight into the music library of every iTunes user worldwide. “This will be the largest album release in history. Over a half-billion people own it. Right now,” Apple CEO Tim Cook announced, before Bono and co. closed out the presentation at Apple’s Cupertino, California campus with the album’s opening track, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone).” … Read More

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The Two Salman Rushdies: Writer and Public Figure

I remember the exact moment I realized there were two Salman Rushdies. It was when I read his 2001 humblebrag about palling around with U2. “I’ve been crossing frontiers all my life — physical, social, intellectual, artistic borderlines,” Rushdie wrote, “and I spotted, in Bono and the Edge, whom I’ve so far come to know better than the others, an equal hunger for the new, for whatever nourishes.” The truth is that Rushdie’s camaraderie with the members of U2 — particularly Bono — makes total sense, and the fact that he finds them to be kindred spirits even more: both of them did their best work in the 1980s, and both of them (at least in Bono’s case) have spent the bulk of their careers advocating and being the faces of specific causes. Bono’s tend to vary, while Rushdie is the freedom of speech hero who faced religious crazies that threatened his life after Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iran, placed a fatwā on Rushdie’s head for his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, which the Ayatollah claimed was “blasphemous against Islam.” … Read More

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10 of Music’s Most Bizarre Alter Egos

This week sees the release of the utilitarianly titled Banks, the first solo release under his own name by Interpol singer Paul Banks. It’s not his first solo release, though — Banks has already put out an album and an EP under the pseudonym Julian Plenti. He appears to have retired the alter ego now, which only makes the whole thing more bizarre — despite the fact that Julian Plenti’s records sounded awfully like Interpol, Banks even insisted on being interviewed in character, reputedly refusing to answer questions that weren’t addressed to “Julian.” In memory of Julian Plenti, then, here are a selection of music’s most strangest and most memorable alter… Read More

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Fantastically Bizarre Watercolor Portraits of Cultural Icons

Ready for some incredibly strange celebrity portraits? Akira Beard‘s ripped-from-the-sketchbook watercolors are blurry but evocative images of beloved cultural icons, from The Dude of Big Lebowski fame to Sigmund Freud to Jesus. But what really complicates the works are the artist’s often-politicized words: “If Janis Joplin were alive today, she would use a cell phone, drink lattes, look youthful in a 20 second Gap commercial, be a leading spokesperson for the anti-drug/alcohol ad campaigns, have a MySpace page with a million friends, and make pop-melodic music that sells,” Beard writes under her portrait. His Mother Teresa clutches a dollar bill, surrounded by musings on money and altruism. Then there’s the hilarious Bono picture, which we won’t ruin for you. Click through to see some of our favorite Beard paintings, then visit his Flickr page to see more of his work. … Read More

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A Selection of the Weirdest Political Endorsements by Musicians

“Everybody in the industry is like, ‘Oh, Obama’s doing such a great job …’ I don’t think so. Not from what I see.” So quoth music industry rebel and political iconoclast Dave Mustaine in an interview with this week, an interview wherein he also discusses his acting ambitions and bitches about Fred Durst. The answer to America’s problems, according to Mustaine, consists of two words, one of which may or may not be a neologism for fecal sludge: Rick Santorum.

Anyone who’s followed Mustaine’s career will know he’s long had conservative inclinations, but he’s not the only musician who’s broken with the liberal norm to make an unlikely political endorsement. From Fidel Castro to Sarah Palin, pretty much every much ideological base has been covered over the years. Here is a selection of the strangest — some hilarious, some plain weird, and at least one hugely depressing. … Read More

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10 Famous Musicians Caught Busking

You’re taking a stroll through Boston Public Garden. You stop to acknowledge the fingerpicking fellow busking nearby, maybe throw him a dollar, and then you realize — surprise! It’s Bruce Springsteen. Well-known rockers rarely take to busking, since they don’t have much need for petty cash, but impromptu public jams from Bruce and other musicians are always appreciated. We’ve gathered some noteworthy street sessions after the cut. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Despite its questionable portrayal of African American women, The Help topped the weekend box office, pulling in $20 million in its second week. Not quite so popular: All of the new films that hit theaters over the weekend, including Conan the Barbarian ($10 million), Fright Night ($8 million), and One Day ($5.1… Read More

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