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Phil Harrell

Ella Yelich-O'Connor, known to the world as Lorde, is embracing a sunnier and more analog sound, full of plucked acoustic guitars and brushed snares. Since releasing her breakout single, "Royals," in 2013, she's made the most of hook-heavy pop songs constructed from a palette of overcast electronic sounds.

"In the past," she says, "I'd hear an acoustic guitar and I'd say 'Oh, here we go. It's about to get painfully authentic!' "

The hip-hop artist known as IDK describes his life as something of a paradox. Born Jason Mills, the rapper-producer grew up in Prince George's County, Maryland, where home and school reflected two different realities: His parents were middle-class, college-educated, but his learning environment lacked support and many of the students were underserved. "I grew up knowing both sides," Mills says in an interview with NPR's A Martínez.

Fifty years ago, on August 1, 1971, the music world descended on Madison Square Garden for an event like no other. It was the first major charity concert of its kind — the Concert for Bangladesh. In that corner of South Asia, civil war, cyclone and floods had created a humanitarian disaster.

"There are six million displaced Bengalis, most of them suffering from malnutrition, cholera and also other diseases that are the result of living under the most dehumanizing conditions," former All Things Considered host Mike Waters reported in July of 1971.

Janet Jackson's album Control was one of the biggest hits of 1986 – and the Grammy-winning beginning of a legendary partnership between Jackson and the album's producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Updated June 23, 2021 at 12:22 PM ET

Amethyst Kiah's new album has a telling title: Wary + Strange. It's the way she felt after losing her mother to suicide, and almost losing her dad to addiction as a teenager – and how she felt studying bluegrass and American roots music, a scene in which she was often the only Black person in the room.

The opioid crisis in the U.S. has never gone away.

Almost every year, more people die of opioid overdoses than in the year before. More than a half-million people have died from prescription painkillers, heroin and illicit fentanyl since 1999. Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 66,000 people died of an opioid overdose in the U.S. in the 12 months to September 2020, a huge jump from the previous 12 months.

When the Rolling Stones released "Gimme Shelter" in 1969, everyone recognized Mick Jagger. But at the time, no one knew who that voice – you know the one – belonged to.

Opera Philadelphia has, of course, spent the last year unable to stage live works in theaters. In response, they started creating original works written for the camera, to be shared and viewed online as part of an ongoing effort to bring a wider range of voices into the repertory.

Will Liverman is a young baritone and a new, exciting voice in the opera world. He is also on something of a mission.

In school, the artist was rarely introduced to Black composers. It was a cumulative interest, patched together by YouTube clips and introductions from colleagues. Now, he wants to expose listeners to music that he feels doesn't get programmed enough in concert halls or receive enough airplay on classical radio stations.

At a time when the country seems more and more divided, it can be a lot to ask of a person to "love thy neighbor," even when they don't necessarily love you back. It takes an aggressive kind of love to start engaging, and that's the idea that inspired the title track of Ani DiFranco's newest record, Revolutionary Love. The phrase is also the name of a book by DiFranco's good friend, activist Valarie Kaur, which encourages an understanding of one's adversaries.

In the 1970s, there were few singer-songwriters more beloved than Cat Stevens. A lot has changed since his landmark album Tea for the Tillerman. For one, he's a grandfather. For two, he's not even Cat Stevens anymore: He's gone by Yusuf Islam, or simply Yusuf, since his conversion to the Muslim faith later that decade.

On July 4, 1970, the countdown started. Originally hosted by Casey Kasem, American Top 40 played "the best selling and most-played songs from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico," as he stated on the first program broadcast 50 years ago as of tomorrow.

On any given week, American Top 40 could feature a ballad, next to a country song, next to a funk song, next to a rock song. The show became a national obsession but 50 years ago, it was considered a risky idea.

Morning Edition's series One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalogs have much more to offer.

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Morning Edition's series called One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explai

It was the elephant in the room. Over 20 years after parodying NPR hosts in her recurring sketch, "The Delicious Dish," former Saturday Night Live cast member Ana Gasteyer sat down for an interview with NPR host Noel King.