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We Need to Talk About John Mayer

The legacy of misogyny and racism was alive and well at the Grammys, and his name was John Mayer

John Mayer at the Grammys 2021. Gross.

This year's Grammy Awards felt like a desperate attempt to modernize in the face of criticism and the fear of irrelevance.

While most of those attempts felt placating and performative rather than substantive, somehow this year's show was its best in years.

Summer 2020 saw the Grammys finally change the names of their "Urban" categories, which have long garnered criticism for Black artists for feeling segregated and secondary to the bigger (read: whiter), categories. However, the nominations revealed the same patterns and biases; and major artists like The Weeknd announced plans to boycott the ceremony and no longer submit their songs for consideration — joining artists like Frank Ocean, who have long voiced their disdain for the show.

Amidst the controversy surrounding the ceremony and other award shows struggling to keep viewers' attention this season, the Grammys' main bet this year was on its live performances and their ability to distract from the drama, keep its reputation, and entice fans to actually tune in.

And it kind of worked.

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Music Lists

So, You Like Phoebe Bridgers? Here Are 9 Up-and-Coming Folk Artists You'll Love

Get acquainted with these musicians now before they make it big.

Now that she has a Grammy nomination, a viral TikTok dance, and a (literally) smashing Saturday Night Live performance to her name, everyone's eyes have been on Phoebe Bridgers lately.

On the heels of her highly-acclaimed sophomore album, last year's Punisher, Bridgers has gone from an angel-voiced industry darling to a full-blown household name. With her whip-smart sense of humor, trademark all-black outfits, and immense talent at just 26, indieheads and normies alike are boarding the Phoebe Bridger bandwagon like it's the only route to a vaccine.

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Eternal Atake - Lil Uzi Vert

A great album is like a little world.

Some worlds are more fun to live in than others, and these albums were worlds we all wanted to move to forever in 2020. It was the year of the quarantine album—but what that album looked like varied from artist to artist. From maximalist relics of 2019 to housebound 2020 offerings, here, in no particular order, are our top 14 albums of 2020.

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Music Features

Phoebe Bridgers Became a Star in 2020

How did Phoebe Bridgers turn from an indie darling to one of 2020's biggest breakout stars?

Phoebe Bridgers

The first time I saw a photo of Phoebe Bridgers, she was standing in a graveyard, glaring at the camera.

It was 2017. The photo had been posted by Julien Baker, one third of the trio she and Bridgers would later form and an artist I was obsessed with at the time. Phoebe was opening for Julien then. She had only one EP out—a collection of acoustic recordings that featured the original version of "Killer," which I still think is one of Bridgers' best tracks.

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Paul Mescal, Phoebe Bridgers, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Many media worlds have collided at once in the new music video for Phoebe Bridgers' "Savior Complex."

The black-and-white music video stars Paul Mescal, the gorgeous Normal People co-lead who shot to fame earlier this year thanks to his brilliant performance and now-infamous neck chain.

Mescal went from being a relative unknown to achieving a rare kind of superstardom this year; his boyish good looks and complexity made him the subject of many a profile.

As if that weren't enough of a high-profile collaboration, the video was directed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator and star of Fleabag and the subject of many a Phoebe Bridge-related joke.

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New Releases

Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rogers Cover the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris"

All proceeds from the sales will go to Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight organization.

Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rogers

"And I don't want the world to see me, cause I don't think that they'd understand," sing Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rogers in perfect harmony.

The musicians, who have both settled into a sweet spot between pop stardom and indie credibility, recently released the cover that none of us knew we needed.

Like a lot of what Phoebe Bridgers releases, it's heartbreakingly beautiful, a little bit tongue-in-cheek, and made even edgier thanks to political overtones.

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