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#XPN5050: 1972

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Helen Leicht is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1972.

This week’s #XPN5050 takes us back 47 years, to 1972. It was a leap year with two additional leap seconds, making it the longest year in history — and to those who were watching the Watergate scandal begin to unfold on the news, it probably felt like the longest, too. But that’s where music comes in handy — in 1972, music was as much of an escape from the real world, and an outlet to process it, as ever.

David Bowie reinvented himself as Ziggy Stardust, and the Rolling Stones released their 10th studio album Exile on Main St. Roberta Flack’s version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” topped the charts, and Philly’s own Todd Rundgren released his biggest hit, “Hello It’s Me.” ABBA formed that year, though they were still known by the less-catchy name “Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid.” Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1993

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Julian Booker is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1993.

26 years ago, everyone was talking about this new thing called the internet, and the introduction of web browsers made it easy for us to welcome this new technology as a part of our daily lives. The way we listened to music was changing, too. By ’93, CDs were beginning to outsell cassettes, and you could take your tunes on the go with a Sony Walkman that would only set you back 30 bucks.

Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover” topped the Billboard charts for eight weeks straight, and Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle became the fastest-selling hip-hop album ever. Beck burst onto the scene with “Loser,” and Radiohead released their debut album, Pablo Honey. The Cranberries also made their debut that year, giving us songs like “Dreams” and “Linger.” Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1980

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Kristen Kurtis is putting the musical spotlight on the year 2013.

We’ve been circling relatively modern times a lot in recent weeks on the #XPN5050, so this week we’re seriously throwing it back. 1980 was the year of “Hungry Heart” and Bruce Springsteen’s The River. It was the year of Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” and one of hip-hop’s first major advances into the mainstream. It was the year of Pretenders and “Brass in Pocket,” and U2’s Boy and “I Will Follow.”  Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 2013

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Mike Vasilikos is putting the musical spotlight on the year 2013.

It was the year Daft Punk got lucky, Jason Isbell took us to Stockholm, and Lorde celebrated royals. It was the year of Beyoncé’s self-titled, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor and Kurt Vile’s Wakin On a Pretty Daze. Listen to our playlist of 2013 music below! Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 2008

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Helen Leicht is putting the musical spotlight on the year 2008.

Eleven years ago, My Morning Jacket felt Evil Urges and got super weird on their fifth studio LP, while Vampire Weekend and MGMT made the blog rock world explode with jams like “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and “Kids.” Electronic singer-songwriter Lykke Li debuted with “Little Bit” and “Dance Dance Dance,” Santigold stepped up with “L.E.S. Artistes” and her self-titled debut, and Kanye West got sentimental and sensitive on 808s and Heartbreak.

From Philly, The War on Drugs debuted with Wagonwheel Blues, and Amos Lee marked his Last Days at the Lodge. And even though they’re not from Philly, The Hold Steady has such a home in the XPN-verse, it’s hard not to remember how big they were in 2008 with Stay Positive and “Sequestered in Memphis.”
Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1991

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Mike Vasilikos is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1991.

1991 was “the year punk broke.” It was the year grunge became a mainstream phenomenon, with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind, Pearl Jam’s Ten, and Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger. It also saw the release of adventurous psychedelic classics, like the acid house fueled Screamadelica by Primal Scream, or the dub-heavy trip-hop of Massive Attack’s Blue Lines. The year also saw singer-songwriter classics like Bonnie Raitt’s Luck of the Draw, and golden era hip-hop essentials like A Tribe Called Quest’s Low End Theory.   Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1998

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, John Vettese is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1998.

An absolutely, utterly ridiculously number of now-classic albums first made their way into the world in 1998. Neutral Milk Hotel’s in The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Lauryn Hill’s Mis-Education. Tori Amos’ From The Choirgirl Hotel. Billy Bragg and Wilco’s Mermaid Avenue. Air’s Moon Safari. Massive Attack’s Mezzanine. Madonna’s Ray of Light. Belle and Sebastian’s Boy With The Arab Strap. Jay-Z’s Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life. Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.

That’s just a short list — I could go on and on, honestly — and outside the full album zone, think about the hits that year from Fatboy Slim, Pearl Jam, Semisonic, Fastball, Lenny Kravitz, Natalie Merchant, Soul Coughing, New Radicals and so much more.

Suffice it to say, 1998 was a solid year for music through and through, and it was a thing of joy to celebrate it on the #XPN5050 this week.  Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 2007

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Stephen Kallao is putting the musical spotlight on the year 2007.

It’s the year James Murphy got innocuous on LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver. It was the year Wilco brought on Nels Cline to soar into the Sky Blue Sky. It was the year M.I.A. took a Clash flip to fly like paper, get high like planes.

2007 was an intensely good year for music across the board, from the indie-to-mainstream ascent of Arcade Fire’s stellar sophomore album Neon Bible and The National’s breakout fourth LP Boxer, Kanye West’s powerhouse Graduation, Radiohead’s game-changing In Rainbows, Tegan and Sara’s pop crossover The Con, Alicia Keys’ As I Am, and so much more. Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1988

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Bruce Warren is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1988.

It’s 1988, and your Walkman collection of cassettes game is strong. You’re holding a new album by this a new Philly hip-hop duo, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, few new releases by The Jungle Brothers, Eric B & Rakim, and some new band called N.W.A. was about to make musical history. New Jack Swing was in full effect, and while you were bummed about Bobby Brown leaving New Edition, you’d wind up playing side one of his solo sophomore release, Bobby, over and over. Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 2018

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Stephen Kallao is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1983.

Ready to feel nostalgic for…four months ago? This week on the #XPN5050, we revisit the music from 2018 that you loved at the time, and still love…because the time wasn’t all that long ago. Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves, Janelle Monae, Hop Along, Lucy Dacus, Leon Bridges and more.

Mitski’s in the mix with “Nobody,” and Childish Gambino will appear with “This Is America.” We’ll also spotlight music that maybe you missed by The 1975, and The Interrupters…or music that you couldn’t possibly have missed, like Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow.” Continue reading →