Ken Tucker

Ken Tucker appears in the following:

'Renaissance' places Beyoncé at the very center of pop music right now

Friday, August 05, 2022

The escapist aesthetic of Renaissance is its own kind of statement — Beyoncé's way of asserting the primacy of Black musical forms throughout American pop history.

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Singer/songwriter beabadoobee expands her sound dramatically on 'Beatopia'

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Born in the Philippines and raised in London, Beatrice Kristi Laus takes her stage name from a former Instagram handle. The music on beabadoobee's new album is a blend of timelessness and immediacy.

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Charming and catchy, Bartees Strange cuts across boundaries on 'Farm to Table'

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

As a Black artist in the indie-rock space, Strange makes distinctively original music. Where his debut album showcased a highly eclectic performer, his sophomore effort is even more impressive.

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3 songs prove just how elastic the definition of country music has become

Monday, June 20, 2022

The range of country music is on display in Kane Brown's hit single; a duet by Wynonna Judd and the alt-rocker Waxahatchee; and the title song of Big Time, indie singer-songwriter Angel Olsen's album.

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Kendrick Lamar looks inward on 'Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers'

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Though drenched in deep melancholy, Lamar's new album avoids superstar-level self-pity. Instead, the hip-hop artist summons up specific memories and works through his issues with uncommon grace.

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Bonnie Raitt extends the boundaries of her signature sound with 'Just Like That'

Monday, May 02, 2022

More than 50 years after the release of her first album, Raitt's voice remains a subtle instrument: earthy with an ache around the edges. Its sly intimacy is, as always, a deep pleasure.

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'Wet Leg' hooks you with their prickly, raunchy way of looking at the world

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Last year, a catchy song called "Chaise Longue" became a breakout hit for a duo of 20-something women from the Isle of Wight. Wet Leg's new self titled album is full of more clever entertainment.

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Remembering jazz trumpet player Ron Miles, a thinking person's improviser

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Some trumpeters aim to blow you away with their imposing technique; Miles drew the listener in. The performer, who died March 8, specialized in genre-blurring jazz that mixed old and new sounds.

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Bluegrass musician Del McCoury explores love gone bad on 'Almost Proud'

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

McCoury's been prominent in bluegrass since the 1960s, when he performed in Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys. His new album, with sons Rob and Ronnie, in an energetic work that also takes a dark turn.

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Singer-songwriter Mitski brings surging energy and emotions to 'Laurel Hell'

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Mitski claims new ground on her sixth album, spreading herself across different kinds of pop music with each new song. The result is more varied than anything she's created thus far.

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Connie Smith shines as an interpreter of heartbreak on 2 new releases

Monday, February 07, 2022

No woman in the history of country has cried as eloquently as Smith has. The album title, The Cry from the Heart, is the answer she's given over the years when asked to define country music.

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'Barn' is Neil Young's best album in quite a while

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Young has long been a nature writer, composing pastorals about the environment. Barn finds him composing lyrical hymns to the earth and sky, or raging against destruction on the horizon.

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This year's best songs come from some of the youngest — and oldest — artists

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

From 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo to 83-year-old Peter Stampfel, critic Ken Tucker says the music he most enjoyed in 2021 was recorded by artists who were either very young or quite old.

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'30' is a complicated album that shows just how broad Adele's appeal is

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Adele is a rare thing right now: an artist whose appeal cuts across genres and generations. Her new album about divorce features thrilling, exhilarating songs about being absolutely miserable.

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Jackson+Sellers bring passion and grittiness to 'Breaking Point'

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Jade Jackson and Aubrie Sellers are singer-songwriters who each had a solo career before getting together. Their debut album showcases a new sound that neither of them had ever achieved individually.

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'Feel Flows' captures the Beach Boys at the peak of their artistry

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

A new 5-disc reissue of the 1970 and 1971 albums Sunflower and Surf's Up reveals the Beach Boys at a crossroads, having moved beyond surf-music pop hits, and shooting for more mainstream success.

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Remixed Pere Ubu Albums Bring Fresh Intimacy To The Band's Vocals

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Pere Ubu leader David Thomas remixed two of his favorite Ubu albums, 1998's Pennsylvania and 2002's St. Arkansas, saying that the remixes are so substantial, they amount to being two new albums.

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Actor Karen Black Shines As A Singer/Songwriter On 'Dreaming of You'

Monday, September 13, 2021

Best known for her roles in films like Five Easy Pieces and Easy Rider, Black, who died in 2013, also recorded music in the 1970s. A new album highlights some of her strongest work.

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Songs Of Summer, From Olivia Rodrigo, Willow And Japanese Breakfast

Friday, August 13, 2021

Critic Ken Tucker compiled his list of 2021 summer songs while traveling on vacation. His picks are "Brutal," by Olivia Rodrigo; "Transparent Soul," by Willow; and "Be Sweet," by Japanese Breakfast.

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Posthumously Released Prince Album Speaks To Today's America

Monday, August 09, 2021

Six years before his death in 2016, Prince recorded — but did not release — Welcome 2 America. Who knows why Prince opted to hide it away in 2010; this album's sound is very much of-the-moment.

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