Nothing Compares 2 U

That he could write so well in so many different styles is a testament to his virtuoso, but his genius comes out in the subtleties. Like dropping the bass line from ‘When Doves Cry’. Or having live drums alongside the drum machines on ‘Sign O’ the Times’. To paraphrase Mike Scott: we saw the crescent, he saw the whole of the moon.

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The Art of Consumption: Vinyl revival in the digital age

The Art of Consumption: When combined, the internet age and the resurgence of vinyl give a far deeper appreciation of music than either one on its own.

By Jos Gogarty

Superfunkycalifragisexy: The Demise of Sexually Explicit Lyrics

Somewhere between Prince’s “Darling Nikki” and Nelly’s “Tip Drill”, we forgot how to sing about sex. Explicit sexual references have become a ubiquitous part of pop music, but they have also become as bland and as vacuous as Chris Martin’s darkest fantasies. As boring and predictable as Miley twerking. We are saturated with naked flesh and sexual invitations but somehow they’ve never been less appealing. And I can’t help but think that we’re missing out.

By Matteo Tiratelli

How Technology, Space and Place Affect Song Writing

The idea that context determines what music is recorded, played and sung is both obvious and extremely counter intuitive. We don’t normally notice the way that music evolves in response to changes in technology and the spaces in which it is listened to. This doesn’t mean that artists are not reacting creatively and artistically to these changes but merely that their creativity is embedded in its context. What worries me, however, is that the rise of recording and modern technology has undermined their creative control.

By Matteo Tiratelli

Context Is Not A Myth

Just as self-deprecation isn’t the opposite of arrogance but rather its sneaky corollary, so too the subculture(s) spring from the mainstream, germinated by a logic they purportedly oppose. “Sampling” is the example I want to use here: this musical method has degenerated, becoming coloured by some of the very worst aspects of our society.

By Yohann Koshy

Burnt Bridges: where’s the next Andre 3000?

Whilst all real hip hop heads have spent the last 10 years mourning the death of hard core “real” hip hop, a loss at the other end of the spectrum has gone unreported. Yes, I’m here to grieve at the tomb of the R’n’B cross over artist.

By Luca Tiratelli

Changing Eras In Hip-Hop

Tim Westwood’s history of hiphop breaks down into six stages: 1) the foundations in the Bronx, 2) “pro-black”/Public enemy, 3) gangsta rap and G Funk, 4) grimy New York/ Wu Tang Clan, 5) club music and “celebrating life” and finally 6) the current era. More interesting than this brief outline of over 30 years of history was his assertion that the changing of these eras come about as a result of one seminal record, which affects the whole scene for ever more…

By Luca Tiratelli

Welcome to the world of… Tom Waits

An introduction to the lyrics and music of one of America’s finest songwriters: Tom Waits.

by Matteo Tiratelli

Marvin Gaye: Sanctified Man

The tensions between sex, love and God are a recurring theme in Marvin Gaye’s lyrics and they have inspired some of his most sublime as well as his weakest moments. The way he deals with these themes is always a reflection of his changing personal situation and so over time we see dramatic shifts in his understanding of sexuality, romance and spirituality.

by Matteo Tiratelli

“Once in a lifetime”. A self-defeating pop song

Despite its critical acclaim “Once in a Lifetime” has always seemed to me to be strangely half-hearted. Instead of revealing the anxiety and pain of our search for meaning, it rests in a limbo of anaesthetised bliss. This failing can be best revealed through thinking about our immediate relationship with art and the ways in which music can either present us with a world or try to reconfigure the world around us.

by Matteo Tiratelli