Ken Tucker

Ken Tucker reviews rock, country, hip-hop and pop music for Fresh Air. He is a cultural critic who has been the editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, and a film critic for New York Magazine. His work has won two National Magazine Awards and two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. He has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review and other publications.

Tucker is the author of Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy: 100 Things to Love and Hate About Television.

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10:39am

Mon May 6, 2013
Music Reviews

Caitlin Rose: A Singer Grounded In The Details Of Yearning

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:20 pm

Caitlin Rose's newest album is titled The Stand-In.

"Pink Champagne," a song on Caitlin Rose's second album The Stand-In, presents Rose's voice in its sparest purity and veiled shrewdness. She sends her voice skyward, the notes as buoyant and light as the bubbles of the pink champagne she's singing about. Her high trills could, with only a slight shift in tone and attitude, become self-conscious with a Betty Boop coyness, as they do once or twice on The Stand-In. But most of the time, Rose keeps her music grounded in the details of yearning, heartache and a welcome sense of gratefulness and enthused energy.

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10:52am

Wed April 17, 2013
Music Reviews

Brad Paisley's 'Wheelhouse' Of Good Songs — And Intentions

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 1:15 pm

Brad Paisley's new album is titled Wheelhouse.
Courtesy of the artist

Brad Paisley's Wheelhouse is yet another very good album from a singer, songwriter and guitarist who's made a bunch of them in a row. It features a slew of shrewd songs about finding pleasure and comfort in a frequently unpleasant, uncomfortable world. The music includes a bone-cracking song about domestic violence written from a woman's point of view, one that praises Christian values from the perspective of a jealous skeptic, and one that samples the great Roger Miller as deftly as any hip-hop production.

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1:25pm

Tue April 2, 2013
Music Reviews

Kacey Musgraves: Country's Blunt And Poetic New Voice

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 1:46 pm

Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go 'Round" was one of NPR Music's favorite songs of 2012.
Kelly Christine Musgraves Courtesy of the artist

Kacey Musgraves is something of an anomaly. A Texas native in her mid-20s, she fits most easily into the contemporary "country" category, but the work she co-writes with a variety of collaborators is really a throwback to an earlier era of singer-songwriters — as much influenced by rock and folk as by country.

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12:17pm

Tue March 19, 2013
Music Reviews

Justin Timberlake Returns To Music With Enthusiasm And 'Experience'

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:03 am

The 20/20 Experience is Justin Timberlake's first album since 2006.
Tom Monro RCA

The orchestral swirls, the transition to a soul-man groove, the falsetto croon — there you have some of the key elements to Justin Timberlake's album The 20/20 Experience. The title implies a certain clarity of vision, even as any given song presents the singer as a starry-eyed romantic, bedazzled by a woman upon whom he cannot heap enough compliments, come-ons and seductive playfulness.

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11:52am

Mon March 11, 2013
Music Reviews

Tegan And Sara Reach Out To New Audiences With 'Heartthrob'

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 5:06 pm

Twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin have been writing songs since they were 15 and independently released their first full-length album in 1999. Since then, they've produced seven studio albums.
Courtesy of the artist

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