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Deep Dive: “Begin Again” by Taylor Swift

For no particular reason, here’s an in-depth analysis of the 2012 song “Begin Again” by Taylor Swift Taylor Swift’s fourth album, Red, ends with the ballad “Begin Again.” It’s the closest any of her music has sounded to “country” since her Fearless days. Swift and co. released it as Red’s second single – preceding the…

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What Christina Grimmie Meant to Me

In our 2015 end-of-year recap, I declared myself a “freakazoid obsessive of YouTube covers,” which is a bit of an imprecise description. What usually happens is I’ll stumble on a performance I really connect with, then spend the next few weeks listening to every cover by that singer or group. My favorite individual songs will go on…

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Songs of the Summer Mixtape Draft, Part 3

Read Part 1 and Part 2 Dan (Feb. 2016) Dear Colton, How time flies! Six months ago, in the middle of the July heat, we brainstormed the idea of a Billboard-based summer mixtape fantasy draft. One month, thirty songs, and 12,000 words later, we sent our mixtapes out to judges for assessment. Another two months…

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Songs of the Summer Mixtape Draft, Part 1

Intro from Dan (Feb. 2016) As I write this, February snow falls, the heat of summer far from my mind. But the long-brewing project I’m about to share with you comes from warmer times. Last July, Colton and I came up with the idea of a summer pop fantasy draft, and spent the next couple months…

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First Impressions Review: The Life of Pablo by Kanye West

The most important thing to remember when thinking about TLOP and the insane lead up to its release is the one thing that’s remained constant throughout the rapper’s whole career: Kanye West is full of contradictions. It might be infuriating, but it’s true: The moment you think you can generalize something about Kanye, he’ll swerve. How…

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Ranking Ariana Grande’s Songs from My Everything

Katy Perry said it best in an interview: Ariana Grande has the best female vocal in pop music today. It’s difficult to fight such a statement, as bold as it stands. Despite being mocked for her height and youthful appearance, in addition to amassing a reputation as a diva and Mariah Carey copy cat, it’s…

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My Ten Favorite Songs of the Decade So Far

10. Jessi J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang” I would call this my “guilty pleasure” selection, but, as Colton and I have repeatedly noted, there should be no guilt in the pleasure of a finely-crafted pop number. The Max Martin-produced “Bang Bang” is probably my favorite pop radio staple this decade, with a sizzling beat,…

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Beach House Turn Up the Silence

Beach House are, mostly, well-understood by now.  We expect them to craft heavenly dream pop that’s less noisy than classic shoegaze but not as sparsely bleak as all-time mopers like Red House Painters.  As they’ve proved before on songs like ‘Myth’ and ‘Lazuli,’ they represent another in a long and distinguished line of bands who…