Fred Astaire

Albums: What a Concept!

Long-playing records ushered in the era of the soundtrack, but they also made room for something else—the concept album.
Elvis Presley is shown during a karate workout, as seen in the film 'This Is Elvis', 1981.

Elvis and American Karate

Presley’s embrace of martial arts resonated with working- and middle-class Americans who felt alienated from the US justice system.
The Rolling Stones perform on the set of the pop music television show Thank Your Lucky Stars in Birmingham, England on January 30th, 1965.

Creating the Musical Canon

When you look at the canon of popular music, who's on the list looks very much like those who made the list.
Olivia Rodrigo performs onstage during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021

Thank You, Tweens, for Your Pop Music Icons

Olivia Rodrigo is only the latest star to emerge from the wonderful world of Disney.
The Beatles performing in 1961

The Beatles Got Started in Hamburg. There’s a Reason for That.

The Beatles first played Hamburg's pleasure zone in 1960, in a former strip club near the infamous Reeperbahn.
Beyonce Jay Z

What About the Art in “Apesh*t”?

Beyoncé and Jay-Z's new music video was filmed entirely at the Louvre museum. What messages hide in the histories of the featured artworks?
Kim Jong-hyun

What Exactly is K-Pop, Anyway?

Since the late 90s, K-Pop has been one of South Korea's most important cultural exports. Fans have a deeply emotional attachment to the music.
Rudy Vallee

The Gender Politics of the First Boy Bands

Crooning, a musical style of the late 1920s and early 1930s, was fraught with gender panic. Where the singers manly enough?
Vinyl cover of Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited

How Plato Anticipated Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" would not have surprised Plato. 
Andrei Maximov via Flickr

The Real Meaning Behind Russia’s Eurovision Controversy

The annual Eurovision contest often serves as a stage on which political tensions play out.