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The Popcast is hosted by Jon Caramanica, a pop music critic for The New York Times. It covers the latest in popular music criticism, trends and news.


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Can Record Labels Be Trusted to Preserve Music History?

A 2008 fire destroyed master recordings for a who?s who of popular music. A new investigation explores the damage done. Guest: The New York Times Magazine's Jody Rosen

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Bob Dylan?s Excellent Adventure

The Rolling Thunder Revue was more than a tour: It was a chance for the songwriter to play with the truth. Guest: The New York Times's Jon Pareles

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Megan Thee Stallion and Rap?s Rising Generation of Women

Hip-hop has historically been inhospitable to female performers. A new class is finding fresh paths to break through. Guests: The Atlantic's Hannah Giorgis and Vulture's Hunter Harris.

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Are AirPods Worth the Costs?

Apple?s wireless earbuds have led to questions about personal tech as environmental scourge and punch line. Guests: The New York Times's Brian X. Chen and Motherboard's Caroline Haskins.

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Vampire Weekend, Indie Rock Heretics Turned Anxious Jam Band

Ezra Koenig?s literate group has returned, sparking questions about how it was received in the past, and where it stands in the current climate. Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles; The Ringer's Rob Harvilla

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The Return of Bikini Kill and the Long Tail of Riot Grrrl

A movement of punk-powered feminism that began in the early 1990s has a fresh urgency in 2019. Guests: Evelyn McDonnell, Elisabeth Vincentelli and Caryn Ganz

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How Gospel and Pop Learn From Each Other

From Kanye West to serpentwithfeet to the Stellar Awards returning to BET, the genres? dialogue has been evolving. Guest: The New Yorker's Briana Younger

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Is Billie Eilish the Future of Pop?

The 17-year-old musician has been revising the rules of young stardom. But she may be more of a classicist than her aesthetic would suggest. Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli; Meaghan Garvey

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Lil Nas X and the Long History of Country-Rap

?Old Town Road? is the latest flash point in the two-decades-long dialogue between Nashville and hip-hop. Guest: Average Joes Entertainment's Shannon Houchins

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Boy Bands, Now Featuring Grown Men

Backstreet?s back, the New Kids put out a new single and groups in the K-pop ecosystem are thriving. Why are boy bands so central to pop music? Guests: Jezebel's Maria Sherman and Billboard's Andrew Unterberger

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How a Viral Rap Star Rocketed From Meme to Hit

Blueface?s ?Thotiana? is a nearly perfectly engineered hit of the social media age. Guests: The Fader's Ben Dandridge-Lemco and Pitchfork's Alphonse Pierre.

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Can Michael Jackson?s Legacy Ever Really Be Derailed?

The documentary ?Leaving Neverland? details devastating allegations of sexual abuse. How do fans process them, and Jackson?s body of work? Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli, Aisha Harris and Ben Sisario

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The Hip-Hop Superstar as Local Newsmaker

Musicians often make headlines; balancing coverage of their art with coverage of the accusations they face isn?t always easy. Guest: The South Florida Sun Sentinel's Brett Clarkson

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Behind the Ryan Adams Investigation

The musician has been accused of dangling career opportunities while pursuing female artists for sex, then turning domineering and vengeful. He denies the claims. Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli and Melena Ryzik.

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The 2019 Grammys Make Up for Last Year, Somewhat

After a terrible ceremony that minimized women and nonwhite artists, the Recording Academy tried something else: the opposite. Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli, Caryn Ganz and Jon Pareles.

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Maggie Rogers and Sharon Van Etten Break Free From Old Expectations

Two singer-songwriters at different points in their careers are staking claim to new creative ground. Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli; The Ringer's Lindsay Zoladz

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Fyre Festival?s Post-Mortems: We?ve Still Got Questions

Two documentaries examining Billy McFarland?s debacle aim to shed new light on the scammers and victims. Guests: The New York Times's Aisha Harris, Wesley Morris and Melena Ryzik.

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Listening to Pop Music?s Class of 2019

From British punk-rap to 1970s-influenced country to morbid electronic pop, a guide to new artists to watch. Guest: The New York Times's Jon Pareles.

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Bad Bunny Is Just Getting Started

His was the defining voice of 2018. What?s next for this Puerto Rican new-pop superstar? Guests: Remezcla's Eduardo Cepeda and Isabelia Herrera; and Rolling Stone's Suzy Exposito.

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The New Battles Over the Direction of Jazz

What did the music, innovations and arguments of 2018 tell us about where the genre is headed next? Guests: John Murph and Giovanni Russonello

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Your Questions About Pop Music, Answered (or Ruled Unanswerable)

The Popcast wraps 2018 discussing Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, streaming and crying. Guest: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli

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A New Kind of Pop Star Has Arrived

K-pop, Latin trap and melodic hip-hop ? once regarded as subgenres ? have become the center of the pop conversation. Guest: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli

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Listening to the Best Songs of 2018

The 1975?s millennial anthem, ?Shallow? and a lot of Bad Bunny: Why did these tracks define the year in pop? Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles, Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz

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How the Grammy Nominations Really Made Us Feel

Music's big awards show is trying to make big changes. So what do these nominations tell us? Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles. Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz

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Debating the Best Albums of 2018: Janelle Monáe, Soccer Mommy and More

Drake, Mitski, Ariana Grande ? whose albums defined the year? (And will albums matter next year?) Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles, Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz

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6ix9ine?s Troubled Past and Uncertain Future

A conversation about the Brooklyn rapper?s arrest and musical prospects as he releases ?Dummy Boy? while behind bars. Guest: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli.

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The Gentle Return of Mariah Carey

With her 15th album, ?Caution,? the singer has entered a new phase of her long career. Guests: Michael Arceneaux; Jezebel's Julianne Escobedo Shepherd; The New Yorker's Briana Younger.

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Kane Brown, Pistol Annies and Country Music?s Inclusion Problem

The tug of war between how the genre advertises itself and how it?s actually evolving is growing more tense. Guests: Nick Murray; Natalie Weiner.

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Remembering Roy Hargrove, Who Brought Jazz History Into Tomorrow

The trumpeter, who died at 49, was a singular figure dedicated to keeping jazz?s past in dialogue with its future. Guests: The New York Times's Giovanni Russonello; Jozen Cummings.

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Robyn, Pop?s Reluctant Pacesetter

With ?Honey,? the Swedish star returns to a landscape she?s quietly shaped for over 20 years. Guests: The New York Times's Caryn Ganz; the Guardian's Laura Snapes; Jezebel's Hazel Cills

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BTS Conquered America. What?s Next for K-Pop?

Now that K-pop is successful on its own terms, the questions it faces are changing. Guest: Billboard's Jeff Benjamin.

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For Those About to Rock, An Uncertain Fate

Is rock music in 2018 a sound, a mood or a retail category? Where do Twenty One Pilots, the 1975 and Greta Van Fleet fit in? Guests: The New York Times's Caryn Ganz; Rolling Stone's Kory Grow; the Ringer's Lindsay Zoladz

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?A Star Is Born? Is Here. Let?s Discuss.

What does Bradley Cooper?s remake starring Lady Gaga say about the pop music business ? and the film industry ? today? Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli, Manohla Dargis, Caryn Ganz, Wesley Morris and Jon Pareles

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How Lil Wayne Became One of Hip-Hop?s Most Durable Stars

Tracing the rapper?s evolution from a teen in New Orleans to his long-awaited album ?Tha Carter V.? Guests: XXL's Vanessa Satten; The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli

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Should They Stay or Should They Go? Pop Stars and Retirement

Why do some artists stick around and others choose to retreat? Guest: The New York Times's Jon Pareles

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What Makes for a Great Celebrity Profile?

Writing in-depth features about stars can be an art form. But it?s been changing in recent years. Guests: The New York Times Magazine's Vanessa Grigoriadis; GQ's Zach Baron.

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Remembering Mac Miller, Low-Key Hip-Hop Bellwether

The 26-year-old rapper and producer stood at the crossroads of movements that have been shaping popular music over the past decade. Guests: ItsTheReal's Eric and Jeff Rosenthal; Pitchfork's Sheldon Pearce; and Eric Renner Brown.

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Remembering The Village Voice, Music Criticism's Crucible: Part 2

Forty years of writers and editors share memories about helping invent a language to talk about music, and the artists they critiqued ? some grateful, some not. Guests: Ann Powers, Evelyn McDonnell, Chuck Eddy, Rob Harvilla and Tom Breihan.

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Remembering The Village Voice, Music Criticism's Crucible: Part 1

Forty years of writers and editors share memories about helping invent a language to talk about music, and the artists they critiqued ? some grateful, some not. Guests: Robert Christgau, Jon Pareles, Nelson George, Kyle Gann and Joe Levy.

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How We Arrived at Ariana Grande?s Big Moment

?Sweetener? has taken the singer to new heights at a moment of transition for the top ranks of female vocalists. Guests: The Ringer's Lindsay Zoladz;'s Josh Duboff; and Billboard's Nolan Feeney.

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Nicki Minaj and Travis Scott, Rivals With Common Problems

One is an old-style hip-hop star, one comes from a newer school. But both are facing challenges making effective albums and defining their artistic identities. Guests: David Turner and Briana Younger.

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Aretha Franklin: The Artist We Knew, and the Woman We Didn?t

The Queen of Soul leaves a towering legacy. How will we remember her? Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles and Wesley Morris; and David Ritz.

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The Shrinking Space Between Band T-Shirt and High Fashion

Merch has become a crucial part of a musician?s rise. Here?s how it?s evolved. Guests: Procell's Brian Procell; The Cut's Emilia Petrarca; and Grailed's Lawrence Schlossman.

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Can Guns N? Roses, or Any Artist, Erase an Unflattering Moment?

What happens when a band wipes a stain from its historical record? Or when physical albums vanish, replaced by different digital versions? Guests: Mark Richardson; Rolling Stone's Christopher R. Weingarten; and The New York Times's Caryn Ganz.

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Who?s in Charge of Telling Whitney Houston?s Story?

Two documentaries have attempted to unpack the life of one of pop?s transformative figures, whose complex legacy is still riddled with questions. Guests: Naima Cochrane; Jezebel's Rich Juzwiak; Alan Light; and The Times's Joe Coscarelli.

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When Superfans Attack

A writer critiqued Nicki Minaj online; the rapper?s fans responded in force. How does celebrity fandom become a vicious tool online, and what?s behind stan culture? Guests: iOneDigital's Janeé Bolden; Who? Weekly's Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber; The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz.

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Drake: Platinum in a Day, but Still at a Crossroads

With his new double album, ?Scorpion,? the rapper and singer is grappling with brand maintenance. Is he innovating, and where can he go next? Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli and Reggie Ugwu; Sheldon Pearce; and Jasmine Sanders.

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Kanye West: You Asked, We Answered

Was "Ye" rushed, and does it matter? How do women fit into Kanye?s world? Are conversations about politics with him fruitless? Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli and Reggie Ugwu, and the Ringer's Justin Charity.

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XXXTentacion, Mourning and Morality

The 20-year-old broke out of the SoundCloud rap scene and reached No 1. But he faced accusations of violent crimes against a woman, and leaves behind a troubling legacy. Guests: Noisey's Lawrence Burney and Miami New Times's Tarpley Hitt.

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Charlie Puth and Shawn Mendes, Would-Be Pop Kings

Boy bands are on the rise and young male singers have some choices to make. A conversation about two performers with their sights set on pop ubiquity.

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