Maura Johnston

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Butts, Gorilla Aerobics, and a Boring Winner: Everything That Happened At the Wonderfully Absurd Eurovision Song Contest

The annual spectacle of the Eurovision Song Contest brings a much-needed shot of absurdity-tinged sincerity to pop. Each year, countries from all over Europe—as well…
Maura Johnston / May 15, 2017

Japan’s Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Bids for Stateside Pop Stardom on ‘Pika Pika Fantajin’

Pop is supposedly a universal language, although getting American audiences to believe that has been rough going—a few songs that dabble in Spanish have made…
Maura Johnston / August 12, 2014

Prolific Hitmaker Sia Reclaims the Spotlight on ‘1000 Forms of Fear’

The Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler has had one of her works score the ending of a prestige TV show; she's released five studio albums, a…
Maura Johnston / July 7, 2014

Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner Talks Ditching the Guitars for the Resilient, Restorative New ‘Shriek’

Shriek, the fourth album from Wye Oak (out next month on Merge), opens with a jittery keyboard line, making plain the Baltimore duo's shift away…
Maura Johnston / March 13, 2014

SPIN’s Best Music Videos of 2013

Music videos never really went away — they just became things that people have to seek out, instead of programming that's beamed into our living…
Maura Johnston / December 23, 2013

Lady Gaga’s Half-Cocked, Half-Great ‘ARTPOP’ Is Never Less Than Lovable

As the culmination of a seemingly endless promotional cycle that involved onstage quick-change, naked meditation with Marina Abramović, and a wig that sent gossip bloggers…
Maura Johnston / November 11, 2013

Lorde’s ‘Pure Heroine’ Is Awash in (Possibly Fake) Teen-Pop-Star Ennui

Pop music is a young person's game, which is why one of the greatest compliments that can be paid to an up-and-comer is that she…
Maura Johnston / September 27, 2013

R. Kelly Reveals Future of ‘Trapped in the Closet’ at Amazing NYC Screening

R. Kelly might have serious pipes, but his magnum opus, the multi-part, multi-character, multi-crazy-plotline soap opera in song Trapped in the Closet, came out of…
Maura Johnston / November 20, 2012

Solange, ‘True EP’ (Terrible)

On this seven-song collaboration with Blood Orange's Dev Hynes, Solange Knowles is once again working in throwback mode — although this time her touchstones come…
Maura Johnston / November 14, 2012

Aerosmith, ‘Music From Another Dimension!’ (Columbia)

The run-up to Aerosmith's 15th studio album has involved a lot of rib-nudging and "remember when"-ing. "Lover Alot," one of the first songs to surface,…
Maura Johnston / November 8, 2012

Miguel, ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’ (Bystorm/RCA)

During the run-up to his second full-length, R&B polymath Miguel pre-released many of its songs piecemeal, through both his free online EP series Art Dealer…
Maura Johnston / October 1, 2012

Frank Ocean and Bon Iver Team for ‘Uncapped’ Show in New York

Monday night was the final installment in vitaminwater and Fader's "Uncapped" series, during which the fortified-beverage maker and magazine bring together artists from disparate genres…
Maura Johnston / September 25, 2012

fun., ‘Some Nights’ (Fueled by Ramen)

The redemptive power of rock and roll is essential to the genre's mystique: It saves lives, it sets nights on fire, so on and so…
Maura Johnston / March 1, 2012

Mister Heavenly, ‘Out of Love’ (Sub Pop)

Made up of Ryan "Honus ?Honus" Kattner (Man Man), Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, the Shins), and Nick Thorburn (the Unicorns, Islands), Mister Heavenly offer loose-limbed…
Maura Johnston / August 16, 2011

Mona, ‘Mona’ (ZionNoiz/Mercury/Island)

This U.K.-hyped Nashville band's debut is full of broad rock gestures and sticky hooks that initially satisfy, but reveal themselves over time as a bit…
Maura Johnston / May 16, 2011

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