Ann Powers

Ann Powers appears in the following:

First Listen: Robert Plant, 'Lullaby And... The Ceaseless Roar'

Monday, September 01, 2014

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats once famously evoked the drift of time through the image of old men gazing at their own watery reflections. "Everything alters, and one by one we drop away," Yeats' elders say as they themselves sit solidly at the shore. Robert Plant is ...


Taylor Swift Aims For Pop's Throne

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Erstwhile country singer Taylor Swift has a new sound and a new goal: to be the world's biggest pop star, with all the attention and provocation that comes with the job.


A Tale Of Two Polls

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Two surveys claim to capture the public's view of the Common Core State Standards. But they tell very different stories.


Top 40 In A Summer Of Discontent

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Those of us who are lucky enough to be technologically interconnected are currently enduring an overwhelming summer of discontent. To say so is to wring the obvious from a cliché. The information so easily available now, jumping onto mobile screens in pulsing letters, makes age-old problems immediate. Racism. Conflicts over ...


Top Stories: Some Protests Turn Violent In Ferguson

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Good morning, here is our early story:

-- Fresh Clashes In Ferguson, Mo., As National Guard Arrives.

And here are more early headlines:

Report: Iraq Opens Effort To Retake Tiktrit From Militants. (Reuters)

Syrian Warplanes Strike Islamist Militants. (Al Jazeera)

Thousands Get Evacuation Calls Ahead Of California ...


First Listen: Shovels & Rope, 'Swimmin' Time'

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's easy to feel the romance in the musical relationship between Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. In the five years since the married duo came upon the name Shovels & Rope to describe the music they make from whatever's lying around the house, the pair has become ...


First Listen: Imogen Heap, 'Sparks'

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"What does the story hold?" Imogen Heap sings tenderly and slightly quizzically in "Propeller Seeds," the closing track on her fourth solo album, Sparks. The English singer, songwriter and tech pioneer has taken three years to shape 14 songs that answer her question in utterly distinctive ways. The music ...


First Listen: Sinead O'Connor, 'I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss'

Sunday, August 03, 2014

As a songwriter, Sinead O'Connor connects her own life story to forces both historical and cosmic. Her 1987 debut, The Lion and the Cobra, included songs that challenged Ireland's favorite folk tales and tackled the legacy of Irish poet William Butler Yeats next to songs expressing post-adolescent lust and ...


East Nashville Rocks

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How do you know you are in East Nashville? Follow the beards, a current joker might say. If you do, you'll find yourself in an area tucked in between Nashville's neat downtown and the city's eastern edge, separated from each by the twisting Cumberland River. To the west, tourists flock ...


First Watch: Maddie & Tae, 'Girl In A Country Song'

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's starting to seem like even the bros are tired of bro country. The truck-loving Florida Georgia Line has switched up its game with the chart- dominant "Dirt," a sensitive ballad about marriage and farming. The fastest-rising summer songs are "Bartender," Lady Antebellum's ode to girls' ...


First Listen: Jenny Lewis, 'The Voyager'

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Nostalgia has no place for the woman traveling alone," the great travel writer Mary Morris once wrote. "Our motion is forward, whether by train or daydream." She's describing a necessary ruthlessness: Women are so often defined by their attachments (family, romance, even the fetishes of style) that becoming light enough ...


First Listen: Morrissey, 'World Peace Is None Of Your Business'

Sunday, July 06, 2014

The rhetorical essence of punk is the decision to say what others believe should not be said. It points out the "no" lurking within or near every "yes." It demands an ongoing reckoning with true outsiders, and with what remains wrong in society despite everyone's best efforts, simply ...


The Hits Of Yesterday And Today

Thursday, July 03, 2014

When the members of the NPR Music team gathered to nominate songs for our mid-year favorites list, we discovered something: Half of our favorite pop songs in the summer of 2014 were actually released in 2013. This wasn't a huge surprise. As Chris Molanphy explained in a column ...


He'll Be There For You

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Three hankies and at least a dozen wry jokes into the summertime-sad film version of the novel The Fault in Our Stars, the story's heroine, Hazel Grace Lancaster, is speaking about her first love and fellow "cancer kid," Augustus Waters. Someone else refers to her as Gus's "special ...


First Listen: Jim Lauderdale, 'I'm A Song'

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I recently ran into Jim Lauderdale at a party in Nashville, and I couldn't tell if his shirt was made of silk or cotton. Covered in fiery little dragons that seemed to flit around inside its piped seams, it was a beauty. Lauderdale told me it was made of ...


A Gentle Buzz At The CMA Music Festival

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

American music festivals used to be mostly a summer thing, but in many ways they now frame the concert experience all year round. In these temporary hot spots for pleasure and cultural conversation, new artists emerge as sensations and established ones do special things with fans. Culture watchers note fashion ...


First Listen: Willie Nelson, 'Band Of Brothers'

Friday, June 06, 2014

When Willie Nelson was a young hustler selling songs to Patsy Cline's people, he probably never thought he'd become the crowd-anointed sage of country music. But that's what happened as the Redheaded Stranger went gray, turned smoking weed into a brand and a virtue, and produced a discography ...


Miranda Lambert's 'Priscilla,' An Ode To 'Being Queen Of A King'

Monday, June 02, 2014

Pop stars are the ideal companions of their fans' daydreams, speaking their most romantic hopes and defiant declarations through the songs on the Top 40. Miranda Lambert, however, is the kind of friend who's not going to take anybody's bull. As country's most lauded million-selling artist, beloved by everyday listeners ...


First Listen: Jose James, 'While You Were Sleeping'

Sunday, June 01, 2014

When the spirit of Nirvana surfaces in a song, the artist paying tribute almost always shares style points with that treasured band. The hair is shaggy, the clothes a little ragged; the lineage unfolds, relatively neatly, from punk to the present. Imagine, however, a jazz-trained vocalist fluent in hip-hop's ...


First Listen: Meshell Ndegeocello, 'Comet, Come To Me'

Sunday, May 25, 2014

"That's how I think of music, is just layers of patterns on top of patterns. And just the emotion of when you say something over and over again, to be understood."

Meshell Ndegeocello said these words during a musician's roundtable conversation I hosted in Seattle last month, explaining ...