Elvis Costello

25 of the Best Sophomore Albums Ever Made

You know how it goes: a band or a musician puts out a stellar first album, receives heaps of praise and success, and then goes back to the recording studio and turns out a second album. What a bummer, it’s not as good. But is this trend a real thing, or just a myth fueled by how disappointed we, as listeners and critics, can be when artists’ albums don’t live up to our expectations? What follows shows that plenty of great artists were able to avoid the sophomore slump — and, in some cases, turned out the best album of their careers.… Read More

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The 20 Best Musical Moments in ‘Veronica Mars': A Playlist

Music has always been an important part of Veronica Mars. The show was ace at making a great scene even better by pairing it with just the right song, creating thoroughly affecting moments that have stuck with viewers long after the show ended its three-season run. It’s impossible to hear The Dandy Warhols’ “We Used To Be Friends” without expecting to hear it followed by a sassy Veronica voiceover (and don’t even bring up the altered version that replaced the original during Season 3). It’s still downright traumatic to listen to Mike Doughty’s “I Hear the Bells,” while the ultimate fate of Veronica and Logan’s relationship is still unknown. In anticipation of the movie — which also has a great soundtrack — here is a look back at the 20 best music moments from the show, complete with a Spotify playlist. … Read More

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Flavorwire Staffers’ Favorite Songs of 2013

With the end of every calendar year comes the customary influx of “Best Of” lists, definitively ranking the créme de la cultural créme of the last 365 days. But sometimes “best” doesn’t accurately describe the things that stick with us most, or that we irrationally love out of personal preference. So to cap off 2013, Flavorwire staffers listed their favorite cultural items of the year — the books, movies, and experiences we’ll be taking into 2014. Click through for Flavorwire’s favorite songs of 2013. … Read More

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Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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10 of the Most Deceptively Depressing Songs in History

The legend of the Hungarian Suicide Song is one of those things that does the rounds on the blogs every few years, and it surfaced again on io9 over the weekend. The song in question — László Jávor and Rezső Seress’s “Szomorú vasárnap,” which translates into English as “Gloomy Sunday” — is famous for having allegedly catalyzed multiple suicides over the years, including its composer Seress’ in 1968. Quite how much truth there is in all this is forever unclear, but one thing’s for sure: the song’s depressing as hell. Still, it’s not always the obviously downbeat songs that cover disturbing and/or depressing subject matter — sometimes it’s the most deceptively jaunty songs that conceal the saddest lyrics.
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The Albums That Flavorwire Staffers Heard Too Early

Earlier this month, we surveyed Flavorwire central for a selection of the books we read too early. The responses we got were both informative and a whole lot of fun, so we decided we’d extend the concept into some of the other areas of culture that we enjoy here — starting with the world of music, and the albums that various staff members listened to at perilously tender ages. From the raunchy through the political to the mildly disconcerting, here are the albums that we listened to too early (including, curiously, not one but two Beatles records.) What are yours? … Read More

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British Pop Culture’s Ambivalent Relationship with Margaret Thatcher: A Retrospective

As you’ve no doubt heard, Margaret Thatcher died this morning, leading to a flood of internet coverage of her divisive years in power and her legacy. The serious commentary is best left to our friends across the Atlantic (if you’re after such, we recommend David Stubbs’ coruscating obituary for the The Quietus.) We’ll limit ourselves to a survey of how the Thatcher era manifested in popular culture — and for all that plenty of outlets have published articles today about anti-Thatcher songs, etc., the truth is rather more nuanced — for every “Margaret on the Guillotine” or “The Day That Thatcher Dies,” there’s a Thatcherite pop star waiting in the wings. Anyway, here’s a brief look at how the Thatcher years and the woman herself have been depicted in popular culture, both at the time and the benefit of hindsight. … Read More

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The Enduring Mysteries Behind 10 Great Love Songs

A few weeks back, we looked at the true stories behind some of our favorite love songs. It’s always fascinating to hear a definitive account of what inspired one of your favorite tunes, but it can be equally enthralling to try to puzzle it out on your own. And, of course, in some cases that’s all you can do, because it may well be that the songwriter in question isn’t providing any answers. So it goes with these tunes, which are all the more fascinating because of the mystery surrounding exactly who they’re about. … Read More

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Extremely Silly Photos of Extremely Serious Musicians

If you’ve ever wanted to see Blixa Bargeld hanging out in the kitchen, Joy Division pretending to be Monty Python, or Leonard Cohen wearing denim cut offs, then click through and get… Read More

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Pop Quiz: Amazon or Christgau?

Yesterday we ran a series of hilariously negative reviews of classic albums, and noted at the time that we could have cited several more from the inimitable Robert Christgau, a man who’s never been shy about putting his most controversial foot forward when it comes to music. Christgau’s hairy-chested prose, idiosyncratic tastes, and habit of reviewing himself rather than the album in question have often perplexed us, as has his Dean of American Rock Critics™ schtick. In view of this, after the jump, we’ve set out a selection of mystifying reviews — both good and bad — of notable records, and we’re asking you: which quote comes from an Amazon commenter, and which was penned by the man himself? The results, which you can find at the end of the post, may or may not surprise you. … Read More

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