Today's Liberal News

Spencer Kornhaber

Taylor Swift Knew Everything When She Was Young

At 18, Taylor Swift had some regrets. Across her smash second album, Fearless, Swift sang about moments she wanted to relive and, in some cases, rewrite. “Wish you could go back / And tell yourself what you know now,” she said on “15,” a reminiscence about her freshman year of high school. On “White Horse,” she chided, “Stupid girl, I should’ve known,” as she thought back to a breakup.

The Fierce Vulnerability of DMX

At its best, hip-hop reveals the complexity of the human voice, and few artists show that better than DMX did. The sound that came out of Earl Simmons’s mouth was often called a growl or rasp, but those terms seem insufficient upon the occasion of his death, today, at age 50. You heard breath and bone in that voice. Its dissonance and musicality were kind of like an electric guitar. It started parties by jolting fight-or-flight reflexes.

The Fierce Vulnerability of DMX

At its best, hip-hop reveals the complexity of the human voice, and few artists show that better than DMX did. The sound that came out of Earl Simmons’s mouth was often called a growl or rasp, but those terms seem insufficient upon the occasion of his death, today, at age 50. You heard breath and bone in that voice. Its dissonance and musicality were kind of like an electric guitar. It started parties by jolting fight-or-flight reflexes.

What Made Lucille Bluth So Funny

Arrested Development, the cult-beloved sitcom that debuted on Fox in 2003, was a joke-dense, fastidiously written, pun-packed satire of a poisonously entitled family. But wordplay alone was not what made Lucille Bluth, the matriarch of the clan, one of the funniest TV characters of all time. The actor Jessica Walter, who died on Wednesday at the age of 80, gets credit for that.

Stars Now Understand That Their Destruction Is Our Entertainment

“Whatever they think happened is probably pretty far from what really did,” the director Michael Ratner recently said in an interview about his new four-part YouTube documentary, Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil, whose first two installments are now out. The “they” he refers to is the general public, and the “what” is the July 2018 incident that landed the now-28-year-old singer Demi Lovato in intensive care.

The Odd Pattern That Keeps Happening at the Grammys

One year into fussing with Zoom backgrounds, who can’t relate to Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B twerking in front of a digital wallpaper of purses, diamonds, big-rig trucks, and the rappers’ own faces? At last night’s Grammys, two of hip-hop’s top talents put on a digital-meets-physical hallucination that turned out to be the best entertainment of the night. A stiletto heel doubled as a stripper pole. Cardi and Megan cavorted in a bed as big as a house.

A Playlist for Your Next Walk

Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.When asked to curate an hour of new music for Atlantic readers to listen to while walking, my mind immediately went to Sophie Xeon, the brilliant electronica producer who died at age 34 in January.

The Countercultural Sound of the 2020s

This article was published online on February 14, 2021.In music and on roller coasters, speediness makes for the fun kind of scariness. When young punk rockers raised on the Ramones began to play their own music in the early 1980s, the rat-a-tat rumble of “Blitzkrieg Bop” accelerated into something called the blast beat: an all-out rhythmic carpet-bombing over which vocalists would groan about Satan, Ronald Reagan, and the resemblance between the two.

The Lady Gaga Anthem That Previewed a Decade of Culture Wars

Updated at 5:45 p.m. on February 11, 2021.The social-media celebrity JoJo Siwa has built an empire by dressing in sparkly rainbow outfits while chattering about individuality and self-acceptance. But when she wanted the world to know that she was queer, she let Lady Gaga do the talking. In a TikTok last month, the 17-year-old Siwa filmed herself grinning and lip-synching to Gaga’s 2011 hit “Born This Way.

How Sophie Showed the Humanity of Electronic Music

Electronic music is old—1800s-old, earlier-than-Elvis old, old-enough-to-forget-it-needed-to-be-invented old. But it still sports the halo of newness because it still offers the possibility of creating tomorrow. In 1910, the Manifesto of Futurist Musicians laid out the idealistic (though fascism-linked) hope of early machine musicians: “The liberation of individual musical sensibility from all imitation or influence of the past.

The Technicolor Normalcy of Biden’s Inauguration

Everyone knows that Joe Biden’s presidential aesthetic is purposefully boring: He’s promising a national nap time after Donald Trump’s violent four-year kegger. “Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire,” the new president said during his inauguration address today, speaking where insurrectionists had recently carried Molotov cocktails.

The Pandemic Clarified Who the Kardashians Really Are

The Kardashians are proving that a certain kind of celebrity is ill-suited for the coronavirus era. (Getty / Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic)Kim Kardashian West’s original vision for her 40th birthday was to fly all of her friends to Wyoming for a “wild, wild Miss West” party, where, one presumes, her signature taupe shapewear would complement the rocky vistas.

Donald Trump’s Reelection Campaign Is Total Camp

If Donald Trump loses this election, maybe he’ll join The Village People. The 1970s band famous for leather chaps and questionable headdresses has become a wacky touchstone of this dour campaign season, and it’s thanks to the president. At his rallies, crowds have been warming up to “Macho Man,” The Village People’s 1976 single about having pride in a “big, thick mustache.

What Was Adele Doing on Saturday Night Live?

It’s been almost five years since Adele Adkins released new music. Her last album, 25, delivered emotional, vocally masterful, classicist pop just in time to soothe listeners during taxing election seasons in the U.S. and U.K. An excellent Saturday Night Live sketch back then even posited that her hit “Hello” could be the one thing to bring together feuding family members at Thanksgiving dinners.

Kanye West, Political Pawn

To teach someone is to influence them, and nothing interests Kanye West more than influence. (Shutterstock / Getty / Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic)Underlying Kanye West’s confusing run for president may be the simple impulse that has driven much of his career: the impulse to teach. His first album, 2004’s The College Dropout, kicked off with a skit in which West was asked to give a school’s commencement speech.

Ellen’s Celebrity Defenders Aren’t Helping Her

Famous people want the world to know that Ellen DeGeneres is nice to famous people. Addressing media reports alleging a culture of harassment and bullying at DeGeneres’s talk show, the singer Katy Perry tweeted Tuesday that she’s “only ever had positive takeaways from my time with Ellen.

Taylor Swift Is No Longer Living in the Present

One of the delights of Folklore, an audacious and almost-too-rich feast of an album, is that Taylor Swift moves away from a solid sense of the first person. (Beth Garrabrant)The coronavirus pandemic has made a mess of the present and clouded any visions of the future, but at least—as artworks of our era keep insisting—the past is there to guide us. Taylor Swift, for example, has been thinking about her grandfather fighting in World War II.

Pride Can’t Go Back to What It Was Before

It might have been the sight of a muscled roller skater in a lacy tutu, or of a thong-clad twerker commanding an on-the-move cheering circle, or of a giant papier-mâché puppet of Janelle Monáe that sparked the epiphany.

The Coronavirus Is Testing Queer Culture

Editor’s Note: This article is part of “Uncharted,” a series about the world we’re leaving behind, and the one being remade by the pandemic.June is Pride month, and in a normal year, Pride means crowds. Parades make for colorful, moving pageants that can go for miles. Spectators swarm sidewalks in rainbow clothes or glitter-coated clothes or a distinct lack of clothes.

Defund the Police Gets Its Anthem

When a security officer named Julius Locklear grabbed Johnniqua Charles earlier this year outside of a South Carolina strip club, the confrontation became a concert. In a video filmed on the scene, Charles repeatedly asks why Locklear is holding her without reason. Then, with a wiggle and a shimmy, she starts singing, “You about to lose yo job, because you’re detaining me for nothing!” At one point, she tells the camera to make sure to “get this dance.