Music News

The "monoculture" has supposedly been dead for at least a decade, but it ain't necessarily so. World-devouring pop music phenomena do still exist, but today that universe is made entirely of Beyoncé — a Michael Jackson/Madonna/Prince figure whom everyone who cares about popular culture is supposed to grapple with and have big thoughts about.

Beyoncé has surprised the world yet again.

In case you missed it, she dropped her sixth studio album during her HBO special "Lemonade." Ahead of the release, she had released this cryptic trailer with such lines as, "The past and the present merge to meet us here / Why can't you see me?"

Beyoncé Drops New Visual Album 'Lemonade'

Apr 24, 2016
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Something tells me that 300 or maybe even 3,000 years from now — if we still have breathable air and if we haven't relocated to Mars, and if super-intelligent robots haven't colonized us Matrix-style — we'll still be trying our best to dissect and parse out the überfunky, hyper-synaptic, wildly eccentric, crazy-magical boho black genius of Prince Rogers Nelson. The Minneapolis maestro died at age 57 on Thursday from causes that have yet to be clarified at this time.

This has been a tough year for celebrity deaths — and a sad week for fans of Prince, who died Thursday at age 57. But as flashes of purple filled my social media feeds from friends mourning Prince's death, I just felt numb — and like an outsider, watching a ritual I couldn't fully join.

Fort Worth Opera director Darren K. Woods was looking for a Fort Worth story to mark the company's 70th anniversary. Someone mentioned that they thought President Kennedy spent his last night in the city.

"And I went, 'Everybody would know that if that happened,'" he says. "So we Googled it and boy: There it was."

The Code Switch team was sitting in our daily team meeting when our editor looked up from Twitter and broke the news that Prince was gone.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Somewhere in the back of my closet is a torn photograph from a party in Seattle in 1982. Dig if you will the picture: It's me, in a second-hand chiffon dress that (though the photo is black and white) I'm sure is violet. My hair is a two-toned mass of strawberries and cream, my neck's draped in my mom's big costume pearls; a bracelet of pretend diamonds dangles from my wrist. This is an ordinary look for a college girl with a nightlife obsession in 1982. I'm gazing into a mirror; behind me is my friend Pete, holding the camera, laughing his head off.

Prince — the Purple One, who reeled off pop hits in five different decades — has died at age 57. The shocking news was confirmed by Prince's publicist after reports that police were investigating a death at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis.

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer Prince Rogers Nelson has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said. "There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Kanye West sometimes gets himself in trouble with what he says on Twitter. Now, one of his tweets may get used against him in court.

Back in February, he tweeted that his new album, The Life Of Pablo, would only be available on Tidal, the streaming music service in which he owns a stake, and "never never never" on Apple.

Henry Threadgill, a saxophonist and flutist known as one of the most original composers influenced by jazz, has been awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his recording In for a Penny, In for a Pound.

Chicago's Jazz Record Mart attracts visitors from all over the world. At least, it used to: Last month, owner Bob Koester sold the store, saying he was just too old to run it any more.

Koester began selling used records when he was a teenager in Wichita, Kansas. After moving to Chicago, he opened his own store, as well as his own jazz and blues label, Delmark. But after more than 60 years in business, he decided this spring that it was time to pack it in.

One of the most iconic songs of the civil rights movement is now the subject of a lawsuit.

A jury trial is now set for a lawsuit that says members of Led Zeppelin plagiarized a key element of the best-selling song "Stairway to Heaven." The estate of Randy Wolfe, the late guitarist of the band Spirit, initially filed the federal lawsuit two years ago.

If there was a Mount Rushmore of the benchmark greats of American music, Merle Haggard would have to be on it. He was among the greatest of his or any generation of country performers. A true triple-threat, his prowess as a guitarist and fiddler could only be eclipsed by his greatness as a vocalist and songwriter. He was also a true entertainer with charisma and seemingly effortless stage presence.

In 2014, Sergei Roldugin told the New York Times, "I don't have millions."

This week in Dallas, a singular work of music is being performed in memory of Tyler Clementi: the 18-year-old college freshman who jumped off the George Washington Bridge in 2010, after his roommate at Rutgers secretly filmed him being intimate with another man and posted about it online.

Editor's note on April 4, 2016: You may have figured this out already — this story was an April Fools' joke. It's not real. We hope you enjoyed it.

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