I personally was saddened by the iconic producer/engineer/mastermind's recent passing not only because I kind of bonded with him during our two interviews together, but also because his sonic fingerprints are all over so much of the music I grew up on.
Justin Timberlake was, as always, a great "SNL" host and seems to actually be enjoying every minute he's on screen -- which was a lot, considering that Timberlake, including his musical performances, appeared in all but two segments last night.
So will 2012 give us some surprises? Almost certainly. The thing about surprises is that they are hard to predict, but the biggest surprise for me would be an election result that looked exactly like the current polling and prognostication predicts.
The reach of oppression can be vast. The poor, outspoken, different, and dissonant are often harmed by political and social persecution; however, oppression can also hinder another foundational element of culture: artistic expression.
Lack of access to clean water and improved sanitation stops children from going to school, keeps women out of work, and contributes to the two leading killers of children under the age of five years old worldwide -- pneumonia and diarrhea.
It's not often pop music can acknowledge the uncertainty of life without succumbing to dread or pomposity. Simon slips in the needle when we're not looking, giving us the comfort of the music even as he details exactly how scared we truly are.
Graceland took world music to another level, turning some acts on the album into international superstars, expanding everyone's appreciation for world music, and establishing sampling as another way of building on what's come before.
I am NOT a fan of bulky boxed sets, whether it's music, TV shows, or movies. I often wonder if the people who design them ever bring these things home. Where do they put them? But when it arrived in the mail, I have to admit I broke into a grin.
I was flattered when I was asked to write the introduction to the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Paul Simon's 'Graceland.' There is music that sticks to you and sustains you and grows with you and pushes you to grow with it. 'Graceland' is all those things, and more.