Lizzo Challenges Critics, But She Doesn't Need To

Lizzo has made her name for by loving herself and forcing everyone else to follow suit. Her message is one of aggressive self-empowerment, and it has given voice to many people who never see themselves represented in mainstream pop culture. She’s incessantly positive about her size, gender, and race because she exists in an industry and world that proves she must be. She’s is setting a lot of firsts, and in order to normalize the things she wants to normalize, she must be relentless.

J Balvin Introduces Jazz Fest to Reggaeton

I was thinking a lot this weekend about things you never see at Jazz Fest, and I got two more on Sunday. A fan somehow snuck a portable speaker in—portable speakers are not on the Kermit Ruffins-voiced list of prohibited items we hear when entering Jazz Fest!—and played reggaeton in the audience before J Balvin’s set began at the Gentilly Stage. It was great to see people start their own party with their own entertainment, just as it was great to see four girls rush the stage to hug Jack Antonoff during Bleachers’ set before Balvin.

New Orleans Makes its Presence Known at South By Southwest

Of the hundreds of bands that played in Austin last week, only 14 New Orleans acts performed at official South By Southwest showcases. But these acts—along with a few other Louisiana bands and yet a few more who played unofficial shows—provided a vivid, if incomplete, music industry State of the Union for our little sliver of Planet Earth.

Lake Street Dive Finds Balance in Hard Times

Lake Street Dive still makes love songs, but that’s not all it makes anymore. For 14 years, the band has made its name by singing conventional, relationship-oriented subject songs in classic-borderline-retro forms. It has let its technical chops subtly signal the band’s jazz leanings, and singer Rachael Price’s voice can silence all doubts.

Our Spilt Milk: Carly Rae's Heartbroken at a Hotel, and the Scooby Gang's Got a Big Mystery to Solve

Carly Rae Jepsen released a new single, “Party For One,” and it’s on time and on brand. Jepsen’s brand is a combination of bubblegum pop, hopeless romantic, and self-empowered badass, and these all come through beautifully in her new song and accompanying music video. 

AHI's "Time" is Now and His Reach is Universal

Finger-style folk guitar rolls a warm, pop-friendly melody when a reassuring voice jumps in as if calling from the heavens to remind us that life is fundamentally okay. This is the quintessential song format by singer-songwriter AHI (pronounced “eye”), and “Made It Home” from his newest album, In Our Time, is the quintessential AHI track.

Kero Kero Bonito Searches for Sense in a Messy World

[Updated Kero Kero Bonito has undergone a sea change. Their sound, once radically cheerful, matured into angsty uncertainty with the release of Time ‘n’ Place in early October. The British pop project started as a simple synth trio, with Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled manning the boards, and Sarah Midori Perry singing and rapping, alternating enthusiastically between English and her native Japanese.

Everybody Gets a Pop in the WWE

Monday Night Raw in New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center last week made it clear that the WWE is not in the wrestling business. There was a lot of wrestling in the three-hour show, but it was also really talky, with a segment that introduced children battling cancer as part of the WWE’s Connor’s Cure initiative. Legends Triple H and Mick Foley cut promos, and after Kevin Owens destroyed Tyler Breeze with an ugly power bomb on the ring apron, he spent time in the ring explaining himself.

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