Streams

John Schaefer

John Schaefer appears in the following:

Open Mind for the Opening Ceremonies

Monday, August 11, 2008

Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremonies at Bird’s Nest

I am, and have always been, a big sports fan. And therefore, I have always hated the Olympics opening ceremonies. Huge spectacles, garish costumes and even more garish music, and not ...

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Why Lead Belly was more than a blues singer

Friday, August 01, 2008

Musicians generally hate being stuck into one stylistic box. Debussy and Ravel disliked the term “Impressionist.” Steve Reich and Philip Glass still rail against the use of the term “Minimalist” for their music. Miles Davis hated the term “jazz.” Well, you might think that someone like Lead Belly (and that ...

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Soundtracks With Super Powers

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Iron ManIt’s the summer of the superhero. Batman returns in “The Dark Knight,” and we have eponymous films from Hancock, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man (wow – just had to type that three times because I kept writing “Iran ...

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Casting a Stone...at the iPhone

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

iPhone 3G

It's tempting to look down on all those people standing in lines around the block at the various Apple stores, waiting to buy yet another Apple gizmo. Tempting to say, 'look at them; they're like addicts. Apple hooks them, and then ...

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Abba - Love em or Hate em, they're back

Monday, July 28, 2008

Abba is on the big screen (Mamma Mia was the #3 movie in the country this past weekend). Abba is on the Billboard charts (the Mamma Mia soundtrack is #3 there too). And Abba is on Broadway (Mamma Mia has been playing to full houses for 7 years). What year ...

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What Makes a Summer Song?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Last year we polled our Soundcheck listeners for their pick of the Summer Song of 2007… now, my recollection was that the listeners correctly picked Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” which of course did go on to become the de facto anthem of last summer. But in checking the actual results, it seems ...

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On the use (and abuse) of music for your baby

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is anybody REALLY surprised to find that babies respond to music? I don’t mean the so-called “Mozart effect,” which has been pretty well debunked at this point – even though lots of unscrupulous producers continue to market Classical Lite recordings to gullible parents. I mean the recent studies that show, ...

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John Schaefer on Contemporary Music

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

As longtime listeners will know, I am a huge fan of new music. My nightly “New Sounds” program here at WNYC has celebrated many types of new music since (gulp) 1982. So when I read Joe Queenan’s article, “Admit It, You’re As Bored As I Am,” my first inclination was ...

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How Music Can Shape your Worldview

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sarfraz Manzoor’s book, “Greetings From Bury Park,” would seem to be pretty specific at first glance: the surprising story of how a young Pakistani immigrant to Britain deals with his strict Muslim father and the very different society around him – through the intermediary of Bruce Springsteen’s music.

The ...

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The Soul of Hip-Hop Retreats to the Underground

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mr. LifSo hip-hop is in trouble? Sales are down? The music's lost its edge? Sorry, but weren't we just saying those exact same things about rock a few years ago? And it turned out that rock wasn't dead at all - ...

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Only the Best at Shea

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

When I was a kid, some of the older kids in my neighborhood in Queens were making noise about a concert they were going to see at Shea Stadium. Part of the excitement was just the fact that Shea was hosting a concert. And part of it was the band ...

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The Music Festival: Friend or Foe?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I love music. I love live music. I love lots of live music. I just don't love it all at once. To me, that's one of the problems with the big summer music festivals - when the music is coming at you all day and into the evening, it doesn't ...

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Music: The Oldest Weapon

Monday, July 14, 2008

MetallicaMusic has probably been used as a weapon of war for as long as we’ve waged wars. The Scots marched with their highland pipes and drums because they believed the music would pump up their warriors – and if their enemies got ...

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The Shape of Things to Come

Friday, July 11, 2008

As Alex Ross points out in his recent article in the New Yorker, we’re being increasingly told that China is the future of classical music. The numbers are staggering – 30 million piano and/or violin students (conservatively – more enthusiastic numbers-crunchers say as many as 100 million); conservatories 10 ...

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Debating the Appeal of Live Albums

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

So I’m trying to figure out just what I think of live albums. My initial reaction is: not much. At least, not in rock music. If you like an artist or band enough to go see them live, odds are the recording of that very same event just won’t live ...

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Hot Topic: Coldplay

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Today’s Smackdown is about Coldplay, but for me, you can’t talk about Coldplay without also talking about Radiohead. 40 years ago it was the Beatles or The Stones. Now it’s Coldplay or Radiohead – two British rock bands with big ambitions, grand ideas, and apparently unlimited time to muck around ...

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The Club Shuffle

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What’s new? Well, a bunch of music venues are new – Drom, Le Poisson Rouge, the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, the High Line Ballroom. And there are new locations for some old ones – both Galapagos and the Issue Project Room are moving from their Brooklyn neighborhoods (Williamsburg and Gowanus, respectively) ...

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Classical's Wild Years

Friday, June 27, 2008

Reading accounts of concerts in the days of Beethoven, it’s evident that what we now call Classical Music was in fact the arena rock of its time. Orchestras played almost free-form events, with movements of a symphony played again, immediately, if they went over well the first time, and solo ...

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Whale Songs: Music or Nature's Noise?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Humpback Whale TailIs THAT music? It’s a question that has often been asked, usually in an incredulous tone, often by parents who greet their teenagers’ choice of music with a mix of confusion and revulsion. But it’s a question that critics asked ...

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Music Therapy: Science or Art? Or Neither?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Music therapy sounds like such a great idea. And it actually seems plausible too – we’ve all noticed how a favorite song coming on the radio can be a real mood-lifter. So the idea of music having some kind of physical and/or psychological benefit seems quite rational. But it also ...

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