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Look, it's practically impossible to select the best songs in a year. First of all, the single is so rarely the best song an album that using that categorization as criteria does not generally yield accurate results. Second of all, music critics are probably the people on the planet who listen to the greatest number of albums and songs per year, and even most of us have our niches and specializations we tend to...
Dave Cobb is saving country music, or so they say. Cobb, who has been producing records in Nashville for the past decade, has been the common thread behind a high number of the artists--Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, and Sturgill Simpson--that have been lauded over the past few years for salvaging country music from its worst impulses. It follows, then, that Dave Cobb must be the latest in a long line of anointed prophets saving...
I first heard about Justin Bieber from Alicia, one of my coworkers at Nordstrom who kept gushing about some new child star who was Usher's protege. When I was in college we worked together in the BP clothing section (read: teen) of Nordstrom in Thousand Oaks, California. This was the phase of my life when I was still fully rockist—like, listening-to-The-Eagles-as-loud-as-they'd-go rockist. I drove back through the canyons home to Malibu after work that day,...

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