Porn Rock and the Origin of Explicit Labels

"Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" lable for porn rockOnce upon a time, music did not carry “Explicit” warning labels. Then something happened in 1985, one of those moral panics that periodically sweep the U.S. The panic in this case was “porn rock,” the nickname given to racy or violent music that became the subject of Congressional hearings. Tipper Gore, wife of Senator Al Gore, had bought her 11-year-old daughter the album “Purple Rain.” The movie and accompanying album by Prince had come out the year prior, both becoming mega hits. But when Tipper Gore heard the song “Darling Nikki,” which describes a woman masturbating to a magazine in a hotel lobby, she was appalled. Continue reading →

A list of the most popular songs that “jump”

Image of people jumpingMusic is rhythm, so it’s natural that the word “jump” would feature in numerous song titles. I’ve compiled a list below of the most popular songs that sing about jumping. Stylistically the songs range all over the map, from jazz to rap. Everyone, it seems, wants to jump. Many of the songs were hits. In cases where the songs are not as well known, I’ve focused on prominent artists and bands. The list appears in reverse chronological order, with the most recent songs at the top. Continue reading →

The 10 best Madonna dance tracks

MadonnaMadonna was for decades a leader in dance music, often bringing underground sounds into the mainstream with her blend of dance and pop. To stay relevant for that long is no small feat. She shares regional roots with house music that developed during the 1980s in Detroit and became the predominant form of club music, but she preferred a more pop song approach with true verses and choruses. Her first album was rooted in dance music—and gained traction through DJs at dance clubs. She stayed true to those roots, even while accumulating a string of hits that were ballads, pop, and genres other than dance. I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best dance tracks by Madonna spanning three decades. Continue reading →

What the world needs now Is love

jackie-de-shannon-what-the-world-needs-now-is-love-libertySomething happened in the 1960s that doesn’t often get discussed. Brotherly love became an increasingly common subject for pop music lyrics. Only rarely was this topic deemed sufficiently interesting in previous decades or centuries. What caused this shift? Several societal factors coincided and likely played a role: the explosive number of Boomer youth and further differentiation of a separate youth culture; the high profile of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. and the instantly televised, blatant inequities faced by American blacks; a reaction against the conformist, materialistic 1950s and growing interest in non-material, spiritual consciousness. Continue reading →