MUSIC

The 10 Best Super Bowl Half Time Shows of All Time: Ranked

Remember when Lady Gaga literally jumped off the top of the stadium?

super bowl half time

If you watch the Super Bowl for the football, then we don't have much to talk about.

But if you watch the Super Bowl for the spectacle of the half time show and the commercials? We could get along. There are few performances in a musician's career with stakes as high as the Super Bowl half time show. It's live, the whole thing needs to be assembled in the length of a commercial break, and the whole country is watching and judging your performance.

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MUSIC

12 of the Most Controversial Songs of All Time

From N.W.A. to Miley Cyrus, we look back at some tracks that truly stirred the pot.

If we can learn one thing from all these songs, it's that controversy sells.

Despite riling up millions and triggering heated battles across the world, many of these songs were extremely successful in their own rights. While some are anti-police and anti-fascism and others entertain Nazi sympathies and feature drugs and violence, all of these songs managed to rile people up (some more than others) and cemented their place in history.

Some songs are outright expressions of violence; others are vengeful responses to violence, but all unveil some of the darker, more brutal sides of the human mind. Many are stunningly relevant to today's most searing controversies.

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Music Features

Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" is the 2020 Election Anthem

Some Trump supporters played Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" outside of Walter Reed, where Trump was recovering from the coronavirus. They missed the entire point of the song, but proved something about America.

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen has long occupied a contradictory position in American consciousness.

He built his early image off a macho, heartland-rooted, working-class persona, making him into a kind of avatar for the Real American Man, the kind who arrives on his motorcycle with grease-stained hands and never shows a wink of emotion.

But over the past few decades, Springsteen has been slowly deconstructing that image, coming clean about his history with depression while admitting his persona was largely based on his desire to please his father.

Springsteen has also been an outspoken liberal, much to the disdain of those who may have seen a very Make America Great Again patriotism in his lyrics. Still, the gap between Macho-Conservative-Patriot-Bruce and Liberal-Nuanced-Critical-Bruce remains and continues to confound fans and foes alike.

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New Releases

Bon Iver Drops Anticapitalist Anthem Featuring Bruce Springsteen and Jenny Lewis

"Each and every person on earth deserves to live fully with dignity, equity, justice, and joy. Instead, our capitalistic societies have created a world that is most supportive of the wealthy and the elite, and the predatory corporations and policies that drive their disproportionate success."

Bon Iver

Bon Iver has shared a surprise new song entitled "AUATC."

Produced by Justin Vernon, Jim-E Stack, and BJ Burton, and featuring contributions from Jenny Lewis, Bruce Springsteen, Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner, Phil Cook, and more, it's Bon Iver's second single of 2020.

The song dropped today along with a music video created by Aaron Anderson and Eric Timothy Carlson and starring Randall Riley. Filmed in New York, the video is mostly a montage of simple, beautiful footage of Riley dancing across bridges and through neighborhood scenes, all while wearing a mask. It's distinctly summer-in-the-time-of-COVID-core, from its DIY feel to its vaguely anticapitalist implications. (The video begins and ends with a few brightly colored cartoons depicting engorged, Monopoly Man-like men in suits all eating vast amounts of cake).

The song's acronymic title stands for "Ate Up All Their Cake," so its anticapitalist arguments aren't exactly covert.

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MUSIC

The Best Performances of Eddie Vedder

One of the original purveyors of grunge continues to rock on. Happy 55th birthday!

Pearl Jam's beloved baritone turns 55 today.

The multi-instrumentalist has enriched American rock music since Pearl Jam's debut in 1990. Eddie Vedder (lead vocals, guitar), Mike McCready (lead guitar), Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar), Jeff Ament (bass), and original drummer Dave Krusen helped bring forth the era of grunge and speaking out against the soulless corporatization of the music industry (we still love that the band sued Ticketmaster for creating a monopoly over concert ticket sales). When it came to finding their name, Vedder once claimed that "Pearl Jam" was an homage to his great-grandmother Pearl. "Great-grandpa was an Indian and totally into hallucinogenics and peyote," he said. "Great-grandma Pearl used to make this hallucinogenic preserve that there's total stories about. We don't have the recipe, though." In true rock and roll fashion, he later clarified the story was "total bullsh*t" (though to be fair, he did indeed have a great-grandmother named Pearl).

As a band (and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees), Pearl Jam has more classics than we have time to list, but Eddie Vedder shines brightest on these gems:

Black

Back in the days of MTV spotlighting musicians rather than lonely strangers playing online games of catfishing and ghosting, there was MTV Unplugged. Your favorite musicians gave raw, stripped down performances of their biggest hits, revealing new layers of their talent as well as new emotional vulnerabilities of their work.

Black (Live) - MTV Unplugged - Pearl Jam youtu.be

Breakerfall

The lead song on Binaural is beloved by true Pearl Jam fans, despite it never being released as a single. The pulse-quickening pace is matched with Vedder's vibrating energy and his signature rasp.

Breakerfall - Live at the Showbox - Pearl Jam youtu.be


Baba O'Riley (The Who cover)

Pearl Jam's 2003 cover of The Who's classic proved that they match the talents of rock's greatest bands. Even dressed in full dad-fresh-off-the-golf-course gear, Vedder gets all of Madison Square Garden on their feet with rock and roll energy.

Baba O'Riley (The Who Cover) - Live at Madison Square Garden - Pearl Jam youtu.be

Jeremy

As one of Pearl Jam's most well known songs, "Jeremy" can seem overplayed to some. But their 1992 performance at the Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, Netherlands saw Vedder at his sharpest, crooning in perfect sync with McCready and "unleashing the lion" in true Grunge spirit.

[HD] Pearl Jam - Jeremy [Pinkpop 1992] youtu.be

Oceans

No words. Experience this. You're welcome.

Oceans (Live) - MTV Unplugged - Pearl Jam youtu.be

MUSIC

Now, Now Try to Find the Holiday Magic with "Lonely Christmas"

The synth-pop duo return with an original holiday song.

Considering it's supposedly the most wonderful time of the year, there sure are a lot of heartbroken Christmas songs.

There's something about the romanticism and familial connotation of winter that can make the season feel upsettingly isolating—a solitude that the band Now, Now are all-too familiar with. The Minnesota indie duo voice their blues on "Lonely Christmas," their latest original track for the holidays, which finds singer KC Dalager so mournful that she can't even feel the bitter cold.

Now, Now - "Lonely Christmas" www.youtube.com

"I can't cry anymore for you, baby," singer KC Dalager coos. "No I can't think about the new year / And I won't write another song for you, honey / But I'm still wishing." Over poppy synths and the steady chug of jingle bells, the track builds off the shimmer of Now, Now's latest record Saved, peppered with festive effects.

"This song came about because I always get really lonely and bummed out during the holidays," Dalager explained, "I try every year to overcome that, so writing this song is another attempt to reclaim the magic of the season." For those who feel a little estranged when the leaves change color, Now, Now offer a slice of togetherness.

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