Ann Powers

Ann Powers appears in the following:

From The Isleys To Aaliyah To Frank Ocean, The Evolution Of 'Love'

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Frank Ocean's cover of The Isley Brothers' "At Your Best (You Are Love)" shows how the singer is re-imagining R&B for the future by exploding stereotypes about gender.


Andrew Combs, 'Nothing To Lose'

Monday, January 26, 2015

For any young artist, an important leap happens when influences are absorbed and the act of mining the past transforms into something personal.


First Listen: Diana Krall, 'Wallflower'

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The singer takes a loving look back at the '70s and '80s pop that helped shape her. Along the way, without grandstanding, Krall strips away the baggage of the original performers' iconic personas.


Bjork's 'Vulnicura': An Inquiry Into Melodrama

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

If its songs demand that the listener get uncomfortably close to the viscera of romantic experience, they do so the better to expose how humans move through pain and finally justify leaving it behind.


The Deslondes, 'Fought The Blues And Won'

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Fought the Blues and Won" offers a great example of the Deslondes' easy feel. It's rooted in the blues and in the prodigal twang of great honky-tonkers like Lefty Frizzell.


How One Of Gospel's Essential Songs Gave 'Selma' Its Soul

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A hymn favored by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helps the Oscar-nominated film make a well-known historical story powerfully intimate. But the song has a tragic story of its own.


Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, 'Whenever You See Me'

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The retro-rocking siblings worked with The Clash's Mick Jones on this brassy kiss-off.


Musicians You'll Tell Your Friends About In 2015

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The new year offers a new set of musical surprises. Here is a section of 10 acts โ€” under-the-radar or about to explode โ€” who are ready for their moment in the spotlight.


Top 10 Top 40 For 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dig below the strata of pop songs so ubiquitous you can't stand to hear them any more, and you'll find plenty of riches in the Top 40, from country crossover to innovative R&B and classic pop.


Listen To 'The Eye,' A New Song By Brandi Carlile

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Brandi Carlile will put out her fifth album, The Firewatcher's Daughter, in March. She talks with Ann Powers about family, her new album and the necessary recklessness of first-take rock and roll.


In 2014, Pop Followed Beyonce's Lead

Friday, December 12, 2014

Beyonce's 2013 self-titled album explicitly connected feminism to sexual confidence; it cast a long shadow over the female-led pop singles that dominated Top 40 this year.


The Political Folk Song Of The Year

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A brand new video for Hurray for the Riff Raff's "The Body Electric," which questions the long history of the murder ballad and gender-based violence, brings the song's activism to searing life.


Ann Powers' Top 15 Albums Of 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NPR Music's pop critic, Ann Powers, says each of her favorite albums of 2014 gave her new tools to cope with and learn from the world around her, even as that world crashed in from outside.


First Listen: 'When I Reach That Heavenly Shore: Unearthly Black Gospel 1926-1936'

Sunday, November 30, 2014

They might seem dusty, almost mystical or supernatural, but the vibrant songs on this three-disc set come from a a golden age of gospel that set the path for rock and roll.


Lead Belly, 'I'm So Glad, I Done Got Over'

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Smithsonian opens its archives and shares a comprehensive collection of previously unheard recordings by blues legend Lead Belly.


Nora Jane Struthers, 'The Same Road'

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"The Same Road" is the first offering from Nora Jane Struthers' next album, and shows off her band's propulsive new direction. Rooted in bluegrass, Struthers is a serious woman with a light heart.


TV On The Radio And The Paradox Of The Midcareer Band

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Past the hype of the newcomer, not yet granted the deference of veterans, the allure of a band making a go of it in the murky middle may be subtle, but it can still be potent.


Houndmouth, 'For No One'

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Indiana band will release its second album in 2015. This early sample is a striking, vibrating, epic folk ballad with almost surreal imagery and a story line that twists in odd directions.


Wild Moccasins, 'Eye Makeup'

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The new video for "Eye Makeup" honors the wigged-out, sequin-flashing drag goddesses who helped the punk and New Wave scenes tear apart fundamental ideas of identity and power.


First Listen: Marianne Faithfull, 'Give My Love To London'

Sunday, November 02, 2014

There's fire in the rock 'n' roll survivor's delivery, and it's redemptive. Twenty albums in, Faithfull can still spin the kind of tale that silences a room, then fills it with something unexpected.