1. Pop music getting sadder. Why?
A study just published in the Journal of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts tracked the mood of pop songs over five decades of Billboard charts, and it confirms that pop has changed in substantial ways. Far more of today’s hits are now in minor keys (which most of us hear as sadder or more complex) — more than half, as compared to just 15% in the 1960s.
View chart.

    Pop music getting sadder. Why?

    A study just published in the Journal of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts tracked the mood of pop songs over five decades of Billboard charts, and it confirms that pop has changed in substantial ways. Far more of today’s hits are now in minor keys (which most of us hear as sadder or more complex) — more than half, as compared to just 15% in the 1960s.

    View chart.

  2. Presidential campaign playlists: what the songs say about the candidates. Mitt Romney’s all about Kid Rock’s “Born Free” while Barack Obama is going with Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”
The right songs can project patriotism or hope, and helps people connect with a candidate. But the choices of music have become more contentious. Recently, Rage Against the Machine lead singer Tom Morello’s wrote a tirade against his big fan Paul Ryan.

    Presidential campaign playlists: what the songs say about the candidates. Mitt Romney’s all about Kid Rock’s “Born Free” while Barack Obama is going with Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”

    The right songs can project patriotism or hope, and helps people connect with a candidate. But the choices of music have become more contentious. Recently, Rage Against the Machine lead singer Tom Morello’s wrote a tirade against his big fan Paul Ryan.

  3. Album Art

    Winner of a 2012 National Edward R. Murrow Award: Studio 360’s “Secrets of a Blonde Bombshell,” about Ina Ray Hutton, who in the 1930s conducted, tapped, and sang as the “blonde bombshell bandleader,” strutting her stuff in front of her all–female swing band, the Melodears.

    Ina led bands through the 1950s — in clubs, in movies, on TV, on the USO circuit — and was the first female bandleader to be recorded and filmed. She wasn’t a legend or an innovator, but a hard–working musician who played a role in jazz history.

    Years later, a news reporter discovers Ina had a big secret: she was black and had been passing for white. More.

    (Photo: Ina Ray Hutton in her teens. Courtesy of Susan Stordahl Porter)

  4. Album Art

    The Bombay Royale: Retro-Bollywood Music from Australia

    The songs on the new album “You Me Bullets Love” sound like the soundtrack to a long lost Bollywood-James Bond film.

    But there is no film and the music is new.

    The soundtrack to this imaginary film is by the Australia-based band, The Bombay Royale. Lisa Mullins speaks to three members of the group.

  5. China’s Guangzhou opera house perches on a patch of grass like a spaceship that’s just touched down. (Photo from “Site and Sound: The Architecture and Acoustics of New Opera Houses and Concert Halls” by Victoria Newhouse)
In the last decade, concert hall construction has been booming. And according to architectural historian Victoria Newhouse, these buildings are changing our experience of live music in unexpected ways. She singles out two that reflect the extremes of the concert hall boom: the nearly billion-dollar opera house in Oslo, Norway (where visitors can walk on a slanted roof that leads to water) and the brand new opera house in Guangzhou, China, designed by Zaha Hadid. More.

    China’s Guangzhou opera house perches on a patch of grass like a spaceship that’s just touched down. (Photo from “Site and Sound: The Architecture and Acoustics of New Opera Houses and Concert Halls” by Victoria Newhouse)

    In the last decade, concert hall construction has been booming. And according to architectural historian Victoria Newhouse, these buildings are changing our experience of live music in unexpected ways. She singles out two that reflect the extremes of the concert hall boom: the nearly billion-dollar opera house in Oslo, Norway (where visitors can walk on a slanted roof that leads to water) and the brand new opera house in Guangzhou, China, designed by Zaha Hadid. More.

  6. The global fusion band Rupa and the April Fishes is on tour, traveling and powering its shows on bicycles.

    In this video, The World reporter Lonny Shavelson captured the atmosphere and sounds as the band was out on the road in Northern California.

  7. Jovan Rameau as Michael Jackson. (Image by Lorena Turner, Studio 360)
Rameau poses with tourists on Hollywood Boulevard, standing by Jackson’s star on the Walk of Fame. He says the money is hard to beat. “I said to Spiderman, one of the Spiderman guys, ‘I made $560 on Friday.’ He said, ‘No way … not even Superman makes that kind of money!’”
Rameau and others like him are living tributes to Michael Jackson — for some it pays off, for others, it has a downside.
More.

    Jovan Rameau as Michael Jackson. (Image by Lorena Turner, Studio 360)

    Rameau poses with tourists on Hollywood Boulevard, standing by Jackson’s star on the Walk of Fame. He says the money is hard to beat. “I said to Spiderman, one of the Spiderman guys, ‘I made $560 on Friday.’ He said, ‘No way … not even Superman makes that kind of money!’”

    Rameau and others like him are living tributes to Michael Jackson — for some it pays off, for others, it has a downside.

    More.

  8. Nigerian-German singer and songwriter Nneka performs “My Home” (from her album “Soul is Heavy”) live on Studio 360.

    Nneka’s music is a mixture of Afrobeat, hip-hop, R&B, and folk.

    “My Home” is about “the plight of Africa,” Nneka explained on Studio 360, “because of our selfish behavior, the selfishness of our corrupt political leaders, the selfishness of Western countries that come and exploit Africa.” But she believes “Nigerians are also beginning to take responsibility for themselves.” Nneka feels that the Occupy Nigera movement is a milestone, bringing together ordinary people from different tribes to talk about the country’s problems. “People are frustrated by keeping silent. We do not want to live that way anymore. And you can see that agitation in the eyes and the actions of the people.” More.

About me

The PRI Arts Tumblr is a collection of beguiling items created by our producers or found by our curators. PRI produces and distributes news, current events, arts and music content for radio, web and on-demand.

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