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The Musical Universe


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In the past 10 years, the internet has allowed musicians to sidestep many of the traditional gatekeepers of their industry. Today, if you can build a fanbase, the money will find you. From some angles, it would appear that social media and streaming services have also empowered fans, who now expect easy access to songs and the people who make them. But what does all this kingslaying really mean?

What are your favorite songs of the past decade? These are tracks released between 2010 and 2019. We know there were a lot, but we'd like to know what songs stand out the most to you — the ones you've gone back to again and again. Using the form below, tell us you favorite song or songs from the 2010s. You can pick up to five.

The New Haitian Sound

17 hours ago

Media coverage of Haiti is usually reduced to unrest and natural disasters.

But Haitian DJ Michael Brun wants to show people a different side of Haiti through his music.

His new album, “Lokal,” is a collection of contemporary Haitian sound, which he says is underrepresented in modern music.

From Teen Vogue:

There's a certain unspoken euphoria in knowing exactly who you are. It's like a tiny party-of-one celebration when you check in with yourself, verifying that you're actually living your truth out loud. And yes, the practice of that check-in is always changing because your truth is subject to change. But the moving target is always worth the pursuit.

Pete Townshend: Not only is he the major creative force behind The Who, but he's also released several of his own solo records, prompted the first-known use of the term "rock opera" (for 1969's Tommy) and he's even credited with being the first person to smash a guitar on stage.

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Good morning. I'm David Greene. He's played massive concerts at Coachella and Madison Square Garden, but Kanye West packed a smaller venue this weekend. He was performing for inmates at the Harris County jail in Houston, Texas.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


2020, a new decade, is just around the corner. So we asked a few artists about the best of the 2010s. Here's chef Samin Nosrat, the New York Times best-selling author of "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat," on her favorite book and album of the decade.

While preparing for Burna Boy's Tiny Desk appearance, it was evident early on that his performance would be strictly business. After exchanging pleasantries on the phone with his mother and manager, Bose Ogulu, she made it clear there wouldn't be time for much of anything else. "Burna has been working really hard so please bear with us," she told me. "The band will arrive well before him. Let me know the latest time at which he can arrive."

This week's Saturday Night Live asked a lot of Harry Styles, as it brought the former One Direction star onboard to serve as both its host and its musical guest.

My Signature Song: 'The Power'

Nov 17, 2019

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Twenty-nine-year-old Xochitl Callejo of El Paso, Texas, thinks the best way to listen to music isn't through your earbuds. It's actually in your car.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


About a year ago, Joe Henry was told he had prostate cancer. And out of what he calls the black earth of that experience came a flowering of music.


Bobi Wine, Uganda's pop singer-turned-politician, is one of the most vocal challengers of his country's longtime president, Yoweri Museveni.

Last summer, Wine was arrested and says he was beaten and tortured by presidential guards after clashes between opposition supporters and supporters of Uganda's ruling party.

Songs Against The Suits

Nov 15, 2019

On Thursday night, Taylor Swift threw another volley in her ongoing battle with the two men she considers the captors of her legacy.

Updated Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET

Back in August, it seemed as if the pop megastar Taylor Swift had found an end run around an acrimonious battle for control of her recorded catalog. She announced that beginning in November 2020, she would re-record the six albums made under contract for Big Machine Label Group, which owns those master recordings.

This past September, the 20th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference featured a broad range of showcases from diverse musicians across alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and the singer-songwriter genre.

For the first 57 years of his life, Joe Henry rarely worried about his health. As an early teen, he'd suffered the fatigue of mononucleosis and once been in a car crash. A decade or so later, after he hoisted a heavy amplifier the wrong way, he'd required surgery to patch a hernia. Otherwise, for Henry, even common colds tended to be uncommonly brief.

You can stream this playlist via Spotify or Apple Music.

KOKOKO! are sonic warriors. They seized control of the Tiny Desk, shouting their arrival through a megaphone, while electronic sirens begin to blare. There's a sense of danger in their sonic presence that left no doubt that something momentous was about to happen. And it did!

With instruments tied and hammered together — made from detergent bottles, scrapyard trash, tin cans, car parts, pots, pans and more — KOKOKO! managed to alter the office soundscape.


Within the last year, drummer Nandi Bushell has hung out with Questlove, pe

Nick Lowe And Los Straitjackets On Mountain Stage

Nov 14, 2019

It speaks to good karma and the chameleon-like career of iconic songwriter, musician and producer Nick Lowe that, at age 70, his next musical move is not performing acoustic and alone. He is not going gently into the night, no sir. And although his mom probably warned him about this, he is riding the open roads, rocking the nation with surf-guitar dudes wearing Lucha Libre wrestling masks.

This past September, the 20th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference featured a broad range of showcases from diverse musicians across alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and the singer-songwriter genre.

For more than 30 years, Harry Connick Jr. has been putting out music that evokes the legacy of Frank Sinatra and other jazz icons. Now, he's back with a new album, True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter, and an accompanying Broadway show. NPR's David Greene visited the singer in Hollywood's Capitol Studios, where Connick demonstrated a few Cole Porter classics on the piano and talked about the musician's enduring influence.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


This past September, the 20th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference featured a broad range of showcases from diverse musicians across alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and the singer-songwriter genre.

Discover more of the jewels in Celtic roots-based music as we continue to sample the best from the Thistle mailbox. We feature new music from Karan Casey, Eamon Friel, Gerry O'Beirne and Karine Polwart.

Sunny War has a soothing voice but at the Tiny Desk, she didn't talk much, at least not until she saw the Talking Master P doll on the Tiny Desk shelf. With a huge grin, Sunny looked up, pointed at Master P and said to NPR Music's Stephen Thompson (the doll's owner), "if you want to sell it..." Stephen promptly replied, "not for sale!" To make her even more envious, he quipped, "It's signed by the man himself." It was a lighthearted moment from a heavy-hearted singer.