Featured Music Stories

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December 19, 2014 | NPR · After more than a decade offstage raising his daughters, the singer is touring. “It’s like nothing is being held back,” he says. “You get to eat mashed potatoes with both hands instead of one.”
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 19, 2014 | NPR · Could anyone have predicted the first and second place finishers in this year’s NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll? The poll master certainly didn’t — and he voted for both of them.
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 18, 2014 | NPR · When she’s at her most vulnerable as a woman, she’s at her best creatively. The same way Mary J. Blige’s pain drove My Life, Nicki’s believable heartache steals the show on The Pinkprint.
 

Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
December 16, 2014 | NPR · “I think the audience is becoming more aware,” he said backstage at the last date of his fall tour with Method Man. “Smarter.”
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 16, 2014 | NPR · 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.
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 14, 2014 | NPR · Between the vocal hook in Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and The Fault In Our Stars‘ soundtrack single, it’s been Charli XCX’s year. But it took some screams to create her sophomore album.
 

Getty Images for MTV
December 12, 2014 | NPR · 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.
 

Cantaloupe
December 12, 2014 | NPR · Our happy duty: finding 10 releases from 2014 that we can’t wait to share.
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 12, 2014 | NPR · “I want to get whatever’s on my chest off my chest when it feels right,” says the rapper, who makes songs that turn the personal into the political.
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 11, 2014 | NPR · 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.
 

 

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News

AP
December 21, 2014 | NPR · Brazil and the U.S. played to a 0-0 draw in the final of the International Tournament of Brasilia, giving Brazil the first-place finish overall. None of the games were televised in the U.S.
 

Reuters/Landov
December 21, 2014 | NPR · Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who ambushed two NYPD patrolmen, spoke to people on the street just before the shooting took place, according to a police official.
 

Courtesy of Amelia Wolf
December 21, 2014 | NPR · American Jewish college student Amelia Wolf spent Hanukkah last year in Ramallah. As the holiday approached, she was lonely — until her Palestinian hosts got wind of how she was feeling.
 

Arts & Life

Coffee House Press
December 21, 2014 | NPR · Valeria Luiselli, who was born in Mexico City and lives now in Harlem, released two slim, multinational books this year: the essay collection Sidewalks and her time-jumping novel Faces In The Crowd.
 

AP
December 21, 2014 | NPR · The actress stars in the new film Into The Woods, in theaters Thursday. On screen she’s a natural. But as a kid, she had a stutter so severe she could hardly say her own name.
 

Feral Films, Inc.
December 21, 2014 | NPR · A filmmaker invited white residents of Buffalo, N.Y., to speak candidly about race. Karen Grigsby Bates finds the results are thought-provoking, often surprising and sometimes disturbing.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
December 21, 2014 | NPR · How do you make a Christmas album without succumbing to formula? “Put a little Outkast to it,” the soul singer says.
 

December 21, 2014 | NPR · In the 1960s, the Beatles sent their most loyal fans a Christmas gift every year — a flexi-disc. NPR’s Rachel Martin talks to music writer Colin Fleming about the annual holiday single.
 

KCRW
December 21, 2014 | KCRW · The singer and guitarist revisits “Hi-Fi,” from his much-loved breakthrough album, Transistor Radio.
 

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