Lil Nas X Isn’t a Fad. He’s the Future of Pop.

Charlotte Rutherford / Sony One of the great mysteries of our lifetime is how the banjo loop and fake drawl of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” blew up into one of the biggest hits ever. The common explanations for its popularity just don’t suffice. Yes, Montero Lamar Hill is a marketing genius and meme […]

The Pop Star Who’s Redefining the Word <em>Basic</em>

Ever since people started slinging around the word basic as an insult, delights as disparate as pumpkin-spice lattes, the music of Lizzo, and sunsets have gotten a bad rap. The diss refers to pleasure—simple pleasures, normal pleasures, things that everyone can enjoy. What makes you happy, the notion of “basic” says, can also make you […]

The 2001 Album That Captured Modern Dread

Whenever someone disses agnosticism as pointless, bleak, or weak, Radiohead’s 2001 song “I Might Be Wrong” starts playing in my head. A guitar riff conveys all the tension of a bar that’s about to erupt into a brawl. Thom Yorke sings, in his meekest mumble, “I used to think there was no future left at […]