Of music’s ever-splintering genres, classical crossover might have the largest ratio of albums sold (lots) to words written (few). The genre’s subject to a thousand preconceptions, some inaccurate and some accurate but only just. One of its founding albums, however, soprano Sarah Brightman’s album Fly, is quite different from the anodyne template most people ascribe its genre; it’s part U2, part Enigma, part electronic, sung in about three voices and only briefly classical. It also explains most of her future work and how the genre sounds today.
In this amusing and bittersweet tale of musical obsession, Dan Epstein looks back on the ever-evolving role that country music has played in his life since he first discovered it as a child via Buck Owens and Hee Haw. The story culminates with a pilgrimage to see Owens himself at his Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, a trip that goes horribly awry and forces the writer to confront some harsh truths about his notions of “authenticity,” and his relationship with country music in general.
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Stopgap compilations of scattered singles and demos rarely give us any real insight into a band's deepest concerns. But Incesticide is no typical compilation album, just as Nirvana was no typical band. In his essay, Seth Colter Walls looks at the way Kurt Cobain used Incesticide to artfully re-assemble and re-contextualize his own history during a critical juncture in Nirvana’s pop ascendancy, creating a patchwork quilt of song-styles and influences that continues to tell us much about Cobain and his band that their big albums can't.