Author Archives: Marsalis

About Marsalis

poet of pop.

Dispatches from a Diva: Lady Gaga’s “Chromatica”

The most peculiar thing about life is how deeply it can imitate art. When art imitates life, we feel the mastery of the work’s creator achieving its ultimate goal, squeezing absolute truth into an object that previously did not exist. … Continue reading

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Cyborg Confessions: Charli XCX’s “How I’m Feeling Now”

In a time of a crisis, there are three ways an artist can go. The first way is to create a work of art that challenges the current ethos and energy of the era, something that inexplicably emits power and … Continue reading

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How To Remember A King: Notes on Little Richard

The king is dead. But there is no new king to wish long life. For years, in their ripened ages, Chuck Berry and Little Richard tossed the crown back and forth. But now that they have both perished, there are … Continue reading

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The New Canon: Notes on Rina Sawayama’s “Sawayama”

What makes a brilliant Pop album? The variables change, depending on the person. For some, it is infectious ear candy capable of drowning our sorrows. For others, it is an explosion of experimentation taking us places we have never been … Continue reading

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Love in the Time of Isolation: Charli XCX’s “Forever”

In our current era of social distancing, the confinement of our bodies has birthed the liberation of our thoughts. Forced to remain inside with little else to do, we are also forced to confront our emotions, feelings, and memories, reinterpreting … Continue reading

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Always Look Back: Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia

Perhaps more than ever, we, as a society, appear to be absolutely drunk on nostalgia. We yearn for glory days, belle époques, “good times” of eras and periods we may have never once experienced yet view through majestic, rose-tinted glasses. … Continue reading

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Simple, Great Pop: Review of Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love”

There is something quite mesmerizing about a simple, great Pop song. That is, of course, the kind born not out of necessity and calculation, yet of total respect and appreciation, of absolute love and adoration for the craft and the … Continue reading

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Born Tomorrow: Rina Sawayama’s Radical Triple Play

It is quite hard not to be marveled by Rina Sawayama. With a keen sense of Pop knowledge and an impenetrable insight on millennial madness, she has emerged as one of the most astute and exciting chroniclers of our new … Continue reading

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“Radio Say Speed It Up”: Top 25 Songs of the Teens (2010-2019)

It is never easy to define a decade. Our personal experiences and individual perspectives shape which events matter, which stories deserve to be told, which memories deserve to be preserved. They shape our faith in society and culture, in the … Continue reading

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Poptrospective: Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814

Picture this: Michigan 1994, my older sister and I, eleven and five respectively, sitting in our family room, watching a videotape.  It is called Rhythm Nation 1814 and tells the tale of two impressionable inner-city youth caught between a life … Continue reading

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