Pop

The power of cultural reclamation

18 June 2022 9:00 am

‘Version’ is an old reggae term I’ve always loved. It refers to a stripped-down, rhythm-heavy instrumental mix of a song,…

They have the weakest catalogue of any major act: Abba: Voyage reviewed

11 June 2022 9:00 am

One of the biggest talking points in pop these past couple of years has been how successful old musicians have…

Harry Styles has entered his imperial phase – but his music still has no distinct identity

4 June 2022 9:00 am

At the turn of this century, looking back on the late 1980s when the Pet Shop Boys could do no…

I’m not sure they ever reached a fourth chord: Spiritualized, at the Roundhouse, reviewed

21 May 2022 9:00 am

Every so often, Jason Pierce drifts into focus. It happened at the end of the 1980s, when his then group…

A joy – mostly: Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, at Usher Hall, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Drummers are patient chaps, in the main. Think of Ringo in Peter Jackson’s recent Beatles docuseries, Get Back. Lolling around…

The perfect pop star: Dua Lipa at the O2 Arena reviewed

7 May 2022 9:00 am

Dua Lipa’s second album, Future Nostalgia, was released at the least promising moment possible: 27 March 2020, the day after…

I would be surprised if his next tour included arenas: Louis Tomlinson at Wembley reviewed

30 April 2022 9:00 am

You don’t need to be a historian of pop to realise that having been part of a huge manufactured group…

The awfulness of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has always felt weirdly personal

16 April 2022 9:00 am

Squaring up to the prospect of a new Red Hot Chili Peppers album, I’m reminded of a vintage quote by…

He is now a family entertainer: Stormzy at the O2 Arena reviewed

9 April 2022 9:00 am

Stormzy occupies a curious place in British pop culture right now. He’s the darling of liberals for all his good…

Felt like being caught on the moors in a storm: Keeley Forsyth, at the Barbican, reviewed

19 March 2022 9:00 am

It took a moment to realise Keeley Forsyth was there. There were already three musicians, faint figures on a dark…

The buzz band of 2022 sound like they're from 1982: Yard Act, at Village Underground reviewed

26 February 2022 9:00 am

One of the curiosities of modern pop’s landscape is that no one knows any longer how to measure success. An…

Expectations were met and then exceeded: Arooj Aftab, at Celtic Connections, reviewed

19 February 2022 9:00 am

We gathered on a freezing Sunday night, inside a barrel-vaulted church designed in the 1890s by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, to…

One of the most exciting hours I’ve spent in ages: Turnstile at O2 Forum Kentish Town

12 February 2022 9:00 am

Even leaving aside its origins as prison slang, punk has always meant different things on either side of the Atlantic.…

Triumphant: Idles at the O2 Brixton Academy reviewed

29 January 2022 9:00 am

The single thing you don’t want when you are beginning a run of four shows in a prestige venue, with…

A story of reflection and self-discovery: Anaïs Mitchell's new album reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Any artist who has habitually written or performed in character — from David Bowie to Lady Gaga — eventually arrives…

In praise of seasonal chart fodder

18 December 2021 9:00 am

Christmas: the most vulnerable time of the year. I heard ‘A Winter’s Tale’ by David Essex on the radio the…

A soulful man with a blistering voice: Sipho, at Studio 9294, reviewed

4 December 2021 9:00 am

When I were a lad — back when you could buy the entire back catalogue of the Fall for thruppence…

The quiet radicalism of the Chieftains

27 November 2021 9:00 am

Pop quiz time: which act was named Melody MakerGroup of the Year in 1975? The answer is not, as you…

One of many soul acts looking back 50 years and doing very good business: Black Pumas, at the Roundhouse, reviewed

20 November 2021 9:00 am

No musician ever went bust overestimating the public desire to hear classic soul. Slapping on a Motown backbeat has revived…

Joyous perfection from a band that's sure to go far: Gabriels at The Social reviewed

30 October 2021 9:00 am

The bigger the next big thing, the smaller the room you want them playing in. You want the people who…

The death of the live album

23 October 2021 9:00 am

Next week The The release The Comeback Special, a 24-track live album documenting the band’s concert at the Royal Albert…

A terrible joke gone wonderfully right: Rick Astley and Blossoms Perform the Smiths reviewed

16 October 2021 9:00 am

Many of us who grew up loving the Smiths have rather shelved that affection in recent years. Many of us,…

Banal and profound, bent and beautiful: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis at Edinburgh Playhouse reviewed

2 October 2021 9:00 am

Nick Cave has always been drawn to parable and fable, but more than ever these days he is engaged in…

Two gigs that prove that rock and pop is never just about the music

2 October 2021 9:00 am

The single most boring and pointless thing that is ever said about rock and pop — and it always comes…

Teenage Fanclub are not a dramatic group, but they are lovely

18 September 2021 9:00 am

They may no longer get many teenagers at their shows spending all their money on merchandise, then throwing up on…