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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11:17am

Mon May 21, 2012
Music Reviews

John Fullbright: How To Connect 'From The Ground Up'

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 7:51 am

Though he's not yet 25, Fullbright's music sounds like he's lived through a lot — or at least thought it through.
Vicki Farmer

John Fullbright's voice rises up and around the guitar chords in "Me Wanting You," his tone intended to haunt the person he's addressing. His desire, his "me wanting you," is as direct as he can possibly make it — it's not a cry of despair or hope or lust. It's the sound of someone intent on making as strong a connection with the listener as he possibly can.

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9:53am

Mon April 23, 2012
Music Reviews

Todd Snider: 'Stoner Fables' With A Layered Worldview

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 10:20 am

Courtesy of the artist

Todd Snider is, on one level, your average guitar-strumming singer-songwriter with varying amounts of musical accompaniment for songs he sings with mush-mouthed intimacy. But Snider, now in his mid-40s and impressively prolific, is also an exceptional singer-songwriter, able to set up scenes with quick, precise details.

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10:41am

Mon April 16, 2012
Music Reviews

Loudon Wainwright III Looks Back At His 'Old Man'

As Loudon Wainwright III says in his song "In C," he likes to sing about "my favorite protagonist — me."

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11:25am

Tue April 10, 2012
Music Reviews

Bonnie Raitt's 'Slipstream': A Barnstorming Good Time

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 3:39 pm

Bonnie Raitt.
Courtesy of the artist

The warmth and vigor of Bonnie Raitt's voice throughout her new album Slipstream, even when she's covering an oldie such as Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line," is vital and fresh — urgent, even. Raitt has always possessed a gift for taking a familiar phrase and rendering it in a manner that compels a listener to think anew about what the words really mean.

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10:11am

Tue April 3, 2012
Music Reviews

There's Only 'One Direction' For This Boy Band: Up

One Direction.
Courtesy of the artist

The callow croon over a pulsating beat, the massed harmonies in the chorus, the lyrics about partying that name-check Katy Perry and include a wistful wish for a nameless girl to kiss the singer — this is boy-band music at its newest and its most timeless. The five young guys who comprise One Direction are single-minded.

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