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To be an R&B fan in 2015 was to be delighted, bewildered, mind-blown and overwhelmed. Before the year even began, D’Angelo released Black Messiah, his endlessly anticipated follow-up to 2000’s Voodoo, almost by surprise. The album's accolades and swirling brain-drain were well-deserved—but it was also a waving flag that signified a very good upcoming year for the genre. It certainly didn’t hurt that Jodeci, the forefathers of R&B’s rap-hybridization, announced only a week later...
What the fuck is pop music? More than any other year, 2015 forced us to grapple with what we mean by the term. Do we mean the word's historical roots in "popular," as one radio DJ helpfully mansplained to me on the phone a couple weeks ago? Do we mean the way these songs sound--big, glittery, sharp, packed with the youthful approximations of exultation and wonder? Or do we mean celebrities superpowers, artists whose...

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