10 of the Worst Key Changes in Music

The key change is like pretty much any other musical trope: if it’s used well, it can be an effective and inventive way to signal a shift in the mood or tone of a song; if it’s used badly, it can be a godawful cliché that makes your ears hurt and your heart fill with existential despair. We may get around to looking at the former in due course, but for now, it’s more fun to look at the latter — so here are ten of the poorest key changes in music, ranked from the worst to the absolute worst. … Read More

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20 Albums We Can’t Believe Are 20 Years Old

Yesterday, Slanted and Enchanted, the debut album from alt-rock legends Pavement, turned 20 years old. Wait, we can hear you saying to your computer screen, already? Yep, it came out in 1992. Now, we don’t know about you, but the realization that one of our favorite albums of all-time officially has two decades under its belt makes us feel super old. Not that this is the first time something like this has happened — last year, we freaked out over a handful of films that we told ourselves couldn’t possibly be ten years old already, and we’ve only just gotten over that shock. But time marches on irrepressibly, so if you’re in the mood to realize just how long it’s been since you first heard of Dr. Dre, click through to read our list of 20 albums we really can’t believe are 20 years old already. … Read More

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Literary Mixtape: Randle McMurphy from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: the lovable rabble-rouser of Ken Kesey’s masterpiece, Randle McMurphy. … Read More

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15 Great Posthumous Albums

Had he lived, Tupac Shakur would have celebrated his 40th birthday this summer. It’s interesting to contemplate what a grizzled Tupac would sound like; The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, Shakur’s first posthumously released album, introduced his darker side, a sinister, new sound that, unfortunately, never got the chance to evolve. While the rapper is now notorious for his posthumous albums, having released nine since his death in 1996, The Don Killuminati puts most of Shakur’s early discography to shame.

While it’s true that posthumous albums can be exploitative, pushed onto the market by opportunistic handlers and record labels (ahem, Michael), they can also can be legitimate contributions to an artist’s discography and true gifts to their fans. Now, in hopes that chatter about new material from the late Amy Winehouse will add up to more than just an attempt to cash in, we’ve collected 15 great records that gave dearly departed musicians new life. … Read More

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