Seven Classic Clips From The Soul Train Archives

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This morning, Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius was found dead from an apparent suicide at age 75, and the outpouring of grief and nostalgia was probably best summed up by the Roots' ?uestlove, whose Brooklyn Bowl party Bowl Train is an homage to the show. He wrote passionately about how the weekly airings of Soul Train influenced his development both as a budding musician and as an African-American youth coming of age in the '70s, and he noted that he carries video of old Soul Train episodes around (they're on hard drives now)—he also noted that his passion extended to him evangelizing the show to musicians he worked with, like D'Angelo (right around the time that they started working on Voodoo) and Erykah Badu. In that spirit, here are seven standout clips culled from the extensive YouTube archive of clips from the show (chosen with the assistance of Michaelangelo Matos, who also linked a few choice cuts of Al Green, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye appearing on the show in his tribute); this is barely a fraction of a fraction of what Soul Train brought into American living rooms during its TV run, so feel free to link to your own favorites in the comments section.

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Radio Hits One: The Elusive Superstar Duet (Or Three-Way)

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In last week's breakdown of Lil Wayne's chart ubiquity, I noted that while Lady Gaga's Born This Way and its singles seemed to be everywhere, she hasn't staked out much additional Billboard territory with collaborations. Her only charting collab of late is "3-Way (The Golden Rule)," a little orgy-themed ditty with The Lonely Island and Justin TImberlake that debuted on Saturday Night Live's season finale last month. The episode aired after the release of the Lonely Island's latest album, so the song was thrown out as an iTunes single and spent a week at No. 3 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart (which charts songs that haven't yet made the big singles chart, but are just scraping its bottom). "3-Way," like previous Lonely Island/Timberlake viral hits "Dick In A Box" and "Motherlover," is a catchy R&B tune full of dirty jokes. But it's also an opportunity for two of the world's biggest pop stars to make a song together while shrugging off the kind of expectations that would ordinarily accompany such a high-profile duet.

Pop music may be more collaborative than ever, but that's almost entirely due to hip-hop. The nature of its loop-driven production style and the traditions of posse cuts and guest verses have made it all too easy to cut and paste 16 bars of one rapper into another MC's song, or use a rapper's verse as a bridge in a pop song, or let a pop singer belt out the hook for the rapper's radio-friendly single. As hip hop's influence has seeped into almost every corner of the pop charts, it's become increasingly rare to find two pop stars simply singing a song together.


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Friday Fun: Take A Five-Minute Break With Janet Jackson

Categories: Janet Jackson


It was No. 1 in the middle of January 20 years ago, but damn if Janet Jackson's "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" doesn't sound tailor-made for every single summertime, so get near a window and turn up your speakers. (This post brought to you in part by the news that Rhythm Nation 1814—Jackson's utterly crucial 1989 album on which this song, and at least five other all-time killer singles, first appeared—is $5 at Amazon MP3, but mostly by the fact that this track sounds like falling in love, or at least into a five-minute infatuation.)


The Ballad of 2010: A Journey Through the Insipid Year That Was

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As previously noted, the pop-house that dominated the charts in 2010 was really fucking insipid. So to see this boneheaded year off, here's an anti-poetic tribute comprised of over 30 hits, misses, and album cuts that came out (or flourished) this year about going to the club, taking shots, dancing, and generally being as mindless as possible. If things continue on like this, you may not have to use your brain whatsoever in 2011. Fingers crossed! (Click on the line for its source track.)

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Was 2010 The Best Year For Music Ever? Death To Chris Brown

Welcome to Sound of the City's year-in-review rock-critic roundtable, an amiable ongoing conversation between five prominent Voice critics: Rob Harvilla, Zach Baron, Sean Fennessey, Maura Johnston, and Rich Juzwiak. We'll be here all week!

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America's preeminent lady-beater weeps. Photo via Word Up!
Funky drummers,

You know what shocked the shit out of me? The Chris Brown renaissance that occurred this year. After a series of interviews, in which he took very little responsibility for beating a beloved celebrity's face in and tactlessly attempted to use the opportunity of major press to mend his image, his petulant whining climaxed with him begging fans via SayNow.com (whatever that is!) to help "bring me back." You may already know this, but it bears reminding that he actually said these words: "My singing and my music is all great, but I do it for you guys and everything else but it won't be possible if I'm not relevant on the radio and it won't be possible for me to be an artist if I don't have any support from people that give me an artists outlet. I can't be an underground mixtape artist! I just want all my fans to help me." (And, for the record, his singing is merely adequate and Graffiti was, hands down, the worst major r&b release of the last 20 years. Motherfucker is tasteless, through and through.)

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