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Tag: Music

Browse our essays and reviews on music.

Robin D. G. Kelley

Thelonious Monk lost (and found) in Paris.

Nojang Khatami

From street demonstrations to song, dance, film, and poetry, women are advancing a long legacy of struggle against authoritarianism in Iran.

Bongani Madondo, Robin D. G. Kelley
Robin D. G. Kelley and Bongani Madondo honor the writer's life, work, and legacy.
Douglas Shadle
The field is reckoning with a long legacy of racial exclusion, despite its universalist claims.
Michael Reagan

Sixty years ago, a pathbreaking jazz album from Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, and Oscar Brown, Jr., fused politics and art in the fight for Black liberation. Black artists are taking similar strides today.

Emily Lordi
A Sun Ra tribute concert by a member of the pathbreaking pop group Labelle leads to reflections on how Black women artists and scientists have often been at the vanguard of their disciplines—though most are still awaiting due recognition.
Tyehimba Jess
The Sacred Black Masculine in My Life
Byrd McDaniel

Through online fan communities and digital platforms like TikTok, popular music is finding powerful new ways to shape everyday activism, protest, and resistance.

Vijay Iyer, Robin D. G. Kelley
Robin D. G. Kelley talks with musician Vijay Iyer about systems of oppression, the responsibility of artists, and how jazz sells proximity to blackness to white people.
Andrea L. Dennis, Erik Nielson
Prosecutors use defendants’ rap lyrics to win cases despite the flimsiest evidence. Behind this rests a unique paranoia around hip hop and a long history of criminalizing black art. 
Paul Hockenos

30 years after the Wall, the story of Berlin's anarchist utopia.

David Ritz
Grammy winner David Ritz, who cowrote Marvin Gaye’s legendary “Sexual Healing,” recalls how the song emerged from Gaye’s struggles with faith, drug addiction, and childhood abuse.
Ed Pavlić

‘Amazing Grace,’ the long-lost film of Franklin’s gospel album, offers a lesson in the deep connections between gospel and soul music.

Christopher Lebron

Kanye represents what happens when the liberties of artistic genius are confused for political insight.

Peter E. Gordon

A personal essay on family, death, and the healing power of music.

Christopher Lebron
What Afrofuturism can teach us about surviving Trump.
Jo Guldi

Mentorship is how the humanities justify themselves.

Judith Levine

On the feminist essayist, journalist, and music critic.

Hal Stucker

Overestimating the counterculture of the 1960s

Dave Byrne

A new collection of Lead Belly's recordings.

Colin Fleming

After years of obscurity, the “5” Royales are finally getting their due.

Colin Fleming

Drake was an artist so out of step with his own time that he came to be in lockstep with things not bound by time.

Dave Byrne

The Making of an American Folk Song

Simon Waxman
If gangsta rap lyrics are evidence of criminality, what are we to make of gruesome murders depicted in many folk and country songs?
Alan A. Stone

Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis.

Megan Pugh

The novel House of Earth shows Woody Guthrie in a different light, exiled from the Dust Bowl but dreaming of it still.

Michael Zapruder, Dan Chelotti

Michael Zapruder discusses converting poetry into music.

Megan Pugh

In the 1930s and ’40s, American dance was about working men and women, not dying swans.

Scott Saul

Robin D.G. Kelley’s Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original restores the pianist and composer to the history he lived through.

Nicholas Delbanco
How growing old shapes aesthetic vision.
Scott Saul
The disenchantment and re-enchantment of Chico Buarque.
Dmitri Tymoczko

Milton Babbitt and John Cage. 

Dmitri Tymoczko

What the composer and Kant had in common.

Scott Saul

A review of two books on Coltrane.

Jonathan Gill

Invitations to danger and salvation that makes the blues the blues.

Mark Zanger

Rap poetry is full of cutting-edge linguistic innovations.

Michael Kimmelman

The world of piano competition.

Glenn Gould

Despite being a prolific composer, Ernst Krenek is one of the least understood musical figures of the twentieth century.

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Just in time for the holidays, get any three print issues of Boston Review for just $35 – that’s 40% off the cover price!

Before December 9, mix and match any three issues for one low price using code 3FOR35.

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