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Singing the Suburbs

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Canadian band Arcade Fire just won Album of the Year for their record, "The Suburbs." Today, a scholar of suburbia deconstructs the Grammy-winning album. Plus: a look the enduring genre of docu-opera. And later: a live performance from British classical pianist Paul Lewis.

"The Suburbs," Deconstructed

Top honors at this year’s Grammy Awards went to a collection of songs about growing up outside the urban core. Today: a reaction to Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” from sociologist Christopher Niedt of Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies.

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Operatic Lives

Sometimes the plots of operas are ripped straight from the tabloids. The Washington Post's classical music critic Anne Midgette joins us for a look at the grand tradition of documentary operas, and the genre's recent crop --from "Nixon in China" to Anna Nicole Smith.

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In Studio: Paul Lewis

The film and play called Billy Elliott tells of a boy from a hardscrabble life in northern England who achieves his dream of becoming a dancer. It’s pure Hollywood – but it’s not far from the story of Paul Lewis. The son of a laid-off Liverpool dock worker is now recognized as one of England’s great classical pianists. He plays live for us.

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Playlist: Deconstructing Suburbia + Paul Lewis

Click through to see today's Soundcheck playlist!

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Joan Soriano

Gig Alert: Joan Soriano

Joan Soriano is a Dominican bachata artist who brings out the music's gritty, bittersweet roots, and he takes the stage at 92Y Tribeca tonight. Download his "Que Pasará Manaña" here for free.

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