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Critical Karaoke

"Critical Karaoke" is a monthly show about music and the ideas it inspires. We also produce daily music history segments called "A Day in the Life." Both currently air on KRCC
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Now displaying: 2015

"A Day in the Life" is a 2-minute podcast about music, history, culture, and ideas.  We release at least one new episode every weekday on an incredible range of genres and artists.  We hope you enjoy these quick listens!

Sep 17, 2015

Today in 1721 Georg Philipp Telemann became music director of the five largest churches in the city of Hamburg.  This "musical CEO" of the baroque created an incredible amount of music during his tenure there--including music imitating frogs and bell towers.  Learn more on today's "A Day in the Life."

Sep 16, 2015

Today in 1972 Billboard magazine ran a cover story about a "new sound" emerging from Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  The "Muscle Shoals" sound--largely the result of a rhythm section later known as "The Swampers"--would have an incredible influence on the sound of popular music from that moment forward.  Learn more on today's "A Day in the Life."

Sep 15, 2015

Today in 1987, Tiffany released her self-titled debut album featuring her hit cover of "I Think We're Alone Now."  How do malls, intergenerational listening, and Billy Idol fit into the story?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life." 

Sep 14, 2015

Today in 1973, Nasir Jones--better known as Nas--was born in Brooklyn, New York.  Learn about his early career and dynamic collaborations with his father and others that bridge the intergenerational gaps.

Sep 12, 2015

On this episode of Critical Karaoke we are talking about movie music--the songs and compositions that shape the dramatic action on screen in obvious and subtle ways.  How does film forever imprint a specific reading or interpretation on the music itself?  Can we ever escape those associations?  

In addition to a special "fictional band name pop quiz" focused on bands that exist only on the screen, we consider the following music in the following films:

"Power of Love" from Back to the Future (1985)

"Stuck in the Middle with You" from Reservoir Dogs (1992)

"I Got You (I Feel Good)" from The Nutty Professor (1996) and Grumpy Old Men (1993)

"A Change is Gonna Come" from and Malcolm X (1992) and Ali (2001)

Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto from Brief Encounter (1945) and Seven Year Itch (1955)

Sep 11, 2015

Today in 1935, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt was born.  Matthew Mugmon explores his early compositional output—which fell afoul of the Soviet authorities— and his later move towards simplicity using a special self-designed compositional system.  Find out more on today’s “A Day in the Life.”

Sep 10, 2015

Today in 1990 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air premiered on NBC.  It starred a young Will Smith, but was based on the life story of Benny Medina.  Find out how two came together and the role of the IRS in the proceedings on today's "A Day in the Life."

Sep 9, 2015

The Kennedy Center's concert hall opened in Washington, D.C. on this day in 1971.  It featured a multifaceted performance by the National Symphony Orchestra.  What music was heard that evening and who was in attendance?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life." 

Sep 8, 2015

Rap pioneer Keith "Cowboy" Wiggins passed away on this day in 1989.  How did he help define standard tropes and techniques we associate with the genre, including the term "hip hop" itself?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."

Sep 7, 2015

Today in 2008 the final curtain went down on Rent--the 10th longest running musical in Broadway history.  How and why does the theme of "No day but today" run throughout this Pulitzer Prize winning show?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."

Sep 4, 2015

It was today in 1998 that Google became a corporation.  Steve Hayward ponders the world of "google music" in the past, present, and future on today's "A Day in the Life."

Sep 3, 2015

Pietro Locatelli--the first modern violin virtuoso--was born in 1695.  How far did he push the limits of the violin and his own fingers and which subsequent musicians were inspired by his efforts?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."

Sep 2, 2015

Today in 1901 Theodore Roosevelt spoke the famous line "Speak softly and carry a big stick."  How has music spoken of Teddy over the course of time?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."

Sep 1, 2015

Today in 1785 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dedicated a set of string quartets to his musical mentor, Joseph Haydn--father of the string quartet.  How did Mozart demonstrate his own mastery of the genre through this set of quartets?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."

Aug 31, 2015

Today in 1987 Michael Jackson's music video for "Bad" premiered on primetime network television.  How were Martin Scorsese, Richard Price, and Wesley Snipes involved?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."

Aug 28, 2015

Today in 1964 Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to marijuana.  What happened that day and how did it forever influence the course of music history?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."

Aug 27, 2015

Today in 1940 Meredith Wilson--better known as the composer of the 1957 musical The Music Man--conducted his second symphony on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.  How does this musical work pay homage to the Spanish Missions of his home state?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."

Aug 26, 2015

Today in 1968, Jimi Hendrix opened up Electric Lady Studios in New York City's Greenwich Village. What musicians played in this space before and after it became Hendrix's personal space for creativity?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life." 

Aug 25, 2015

It is the birthday of Gene Simmons, born as Chaim Witz on this day in 1949.  How did he come to be the long-tongued bassist for KISS?  Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."

Aug 24, 2015

Today we celebrate the birthday of Leon Theremin--born on this day in 1894--by exploring his singular contribution to the sound world of the 20th century: The Theremin.  How did this spy influence The Beach Boys? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."

 

 

Aug 21, 2015

Lili Boulanger, younger sister of the well-known Nadia, was born on this day in 1893.  The first woman to win the prestigious Rome Prize, Lili Boulanger was on a path to success before her untimely death at the age of 25.  Hear her musical excellence on today’s “A Day in the Life.”

Aug 20, 2015

Today in 1965 Lawrence Parker, better known as the politically active hip-hop artist KRS-One was born Brooklyn New York.  Idris Goodwin details his early years, including the origins of his name on this edition of “A Day in the Life.”

Aug 19, 2015

Today is the birthday of former President Bill Clinton.  When did he first become interested in music and when did he first pick up the saxophone?  And how might that saxophone have swayed his 1992 presidential victory? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."  

Aug 18, 2015

Today in 1997 Patrick Swayze received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on the anniversary of Dirty Dancing.  Learn about the film's music and Swayze's own contributions to the soundtrack on today's "A Day in the Life."

Aug 17, 2015

The first commercial disc was made on this day in 1982.  Who was featured on this first recording and what was next for this new technology?  Find out on this episode of "A Day in the Life."

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