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Bittersweet Symphonies

What happens when different musical genres and their associated connotations—as represented in musicians, styles of music, and surroundings—collide?

Chuck Berry’s Blues

There are at least two great mysteries about Chuck Berry. The first is why the father of rock ‘n’ roll became so cavalier and dismissive about his work once he achieved popularity. The second is how someone so deeply scarred as Berry could continue, at least for a period in the ’60s, to create music infused with so much joy, feeling, whimsy, and bristling intelligence.

Hamilton is Innovative, But Not Quite Revolutionary

The ways in which Lin-Manuel Miranda reverses traditional accounts of musical history by focusing on values taken from popular music, rather than values from art music, often contributes to critiques that view Hamilton as a problematic example of a progressive historical narrative.

Voices

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The Common Reader, a publication of Washington University in St. Louis, offers the best in reviews, articles and creative non-fiction engaging the essential debates and issues of our time.