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Stories that take a comprehensive look at some of the biggest topics in music today.

The Shoegaze Revival Hit Its Stride in 2023

The 30-year-old subgenre has found new life in the hands of indie rockers, digicore artists, TikToking teens, and reunited first-wavers.

The Fight Between Musicians and Venues Over Merch Profits Is a Big Deal With a Simple Solution

Many live venues take percentages of performers’ merch sales. It’s an increasingly common practice being called into question by touring artists who are just trying to break even.

Regarding Beyoncé, Mother of the House of Renaissance

The icon’s 2023 tour has not only been the most ambitious of her career, but a unique representation of dance music history and Black art that imagines a more inclusive pop future. 

Music Festivals in the Time of Extreme Weather

Festival organizers, meteorologists, and more sound off on the strange challenges and increasing risks of presenting outdoor live music

The Evolution of the Hip-Hop Hunk

One fan’s journey through rap’s pursuit of the female gaze, from LL Cool J to Tupac to Drake.

Inside the Unmistakable Madness of Milwaukee’s Rap Scene

In Wisconsin, an overlooked rap community is trying to navigate big dreams and harsh realities.

What the Hollywood Actors and Writers Strike Means for Music

With TV show and movie production brought to a near-standstill, musicians and music supervisors find themselves caught in the middle.

The Price of Pop Fandom

In a series of infographics and interviews, we break down the out-of-control ticket prices that make concert-going an increasingly unaffordable experience.

The Secret Gay History of Indie Rock

From the closeted to the overexposed, this is a lineage of queer indie rock icons.

In Puerto Rico, Queer Femmes Are Dreaming Up Rap and Reggaeton’s Future

Young Miko, RaiNao, and Villano Antillano are part of a new generation proving that the urbano movement can—and should—be flagrantly queer.

The Fight for Queer Nightlife in an Era of Political Violence 

Amid rampant anti-trans legislation and attacks on LGBTQ+ communities, venue owners and performers are protecting the sanctity of their spaces—and their lives. 

How billy woods’ Backwoodz Studioz Became New York’s Best Underground Rap Label

After steadily leveling up across more than two decades, the label is a bastion for uncompromising artists looking to get weird, loose, and honest.

The Invisible Work of Mothers in Music

Sharon Van Etten, Rico Nasty, Corin Tucker, and more on how being a touring musician can make the struggles of motherhood that much more intense.

All Music Is Weed Music

Margo Price, Water From Your Eyes, Chat Pile, and more musical stoners on how pot influences the creative process 

“Blurred Lines,” Harbinger of Doom

How Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I.’s cursed megahit predicted everything bad about the past decade in pop culture

The Untold Story of Elliott Smith’s Teenage Band

The singer-songwriter became famous for a style so intimate it resembled confession, but six recently unearthed albums made with his high school friends trace the surprising musical path he took to get there.

Untangling the Knotty Politics Behind Reggaeton’s Rise in Spain

Once stigmatized as the music of immigrants, reggaeton now leads Spanish charts, spawning local artists and global stars. But not everyone is a fan.

The Obscure J Dilla Beat Tape That Changed Music Forever

Long before Donuts, a passed-around cassette made the Detroit producer a key influence on the sound of hip-hop and soul. The author of the celebrated Dilla Time takes us inside the making of this legendary tape.

The New Weird Virtuosos Making Jazz for the Post-Internet Age

Led by artists like DOMi and JD Beck, a generation of rising players is infusing jazz with absurdist online irreverence. But are they playing jazz at all?

Confronting Music’s Mental Health Crisis

Experts and artists including Santigold, Jeff Tweedy, and Denzel Curry trace a web of pressing issues while imagining the paths forward. 

How the Music Community Is Fighting the Drug Overdose Epidemic 

Naloxone nasal spray is safe, simple to use, and life-saving. Artists like Animal Collective, Pearl Jam, and Twin Shadow are working to make it available at every concert venue. But it isn’t going to be easy.

The Soundtrack of the Abortion Rights Movement, Then and Now

Across more than 50 years, the music of artists including Dolly Parton, Alanis Morissette, and Megan Thee Stallion has been used communicate the anger and grief around the fight for reproductive rights.