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#XPN5050: 1983

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, Robert Drake is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1983.

In the third year of the eighth decade of the twentieth century, the new wave of Talking Heads’ Speaking in Tongues walked arm in arm with the bookish college rock of R.E.M.’s Murmur. David Bowie demanded Let’s Dance, and The B-52s gave us plenty of fodder to do so with Whammy!. Donna Summer showed how she works hard for the money, Herbie Hancock blew minds with “Rockit,” and New Edition introduced themselves to us and “Candy Girl.” And let’s not forget War, the third studio album and commercial breakthrough from U2.  Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 2005

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 2005.

Fourteen years ago, LCD Soundsystem made their debut and brought indie-dance mania into the mainstream spotlight; hard-working artists Grace Potter, My Morning Jacket, and Kathleen Edwards got their due with stellar albums, Bright Eyes released two stylistically diverse records in one shot, Fiona Apple returned with her long-awaited Extraordinary Machine, and Beck brought the party once-again with the Dust Brothers-helmed Guero.

The pop charts lit up with releases from James Blunt, Jack Johnson, Coldplay, and Gorillaz, and legacy rockers Bruce Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt released compelling work.   Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 2014

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 2014.

It was the year that The War on Drugs got Lost in the Dream, Lana Del Rey lit our way with Ultraviolence, Beck revisited his introspective side on Morning Phase, Taylor Swift broke records with 1989, St. Vincent’s self-titled record blessed us with “Digital Witness,” and Sam Herring of Future Islands danced our way into our hearts. Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1996

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 1996.

1996 was a year of action, adventure, drama, baggy pants, and the massive amount of music in the post-Alternative boom. After spending the first several years of the decade listening to grizzled grunge rockers scream, the year saw the return of melody in modern rock hits like Fiona Apple’s Tidal, The Fugees’ The Score, Jamiroquai’s Traveling Without Moving, Sheryl Crow’s self-titled, and Wilco’s Being There. It was also the year of funky fun party rock crossovers like Beck’s “Where It’s At” from Odelay and Cake’s “The Distance” from Fashion Nugget, oddities like Moby’s punk record Animal Rights and indie classics like Belle & Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister. Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1970

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, David Dye is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1970.

Some might say that 1970 really started in 1969. In August of 69 at Woodstock, the youth and pop culture celebrated with three days of peace and music at Woodstock, marking an historical moment. Santana, who performed at Woodstock would release their debut in August 1969, but in 1970 they released Abraxas. The Beatles would release their final album together, Let It Be in 1970. That same year, however, Paul would release his solo debut. Beatle George would release the now classic triple album, All Things Must Pass, and Ringo Starr would play drums on John Lennon’s solo debut album.

Singer-songwriters in 1970? No shortage here. Simon & Garfunkel released Bridge Over Troubled Water, Neil Young released After The Gold Rush, Van Morrison dropped Moondance and His Band And The Street Choir, and Cat Stevens released Tea For The Tillerman, and Mona Bone Jakon. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were still very much on our minds with Deja Vu, Stephen Stills went solo, and Joni Mitchell released Ladies Of The Canyon. Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1990

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, Robert Drake is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1990.

For those of you who are into the math, 1990 was 29 years ago. 1990 was a year marked by influential songs from all genres on the musical spectrum. Sinéad O’Connor released I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got and her #1 single “Nothing Compares 2 U” topped the charts around the world. Sonic Youth released Goo with an appearance by Chuck D of Public Enemy, the hip-hop group who released their own album in 1990, the ground breaking Fear Of A Black Planet. Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 2011

For fifty weeks over the next 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 2011.

It was only eight years ago, but the songs of 2011 still have a lasting impact today. Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.” Bon Iver’s “Holocene.” The Black Keys’ “Gold on the Ceiling.” Florence and the Machine’s “Shake It Out.” Dawes’ “Time Spent In Los Angeles.”

The War on Drugs released Slave Ambient, James Blake debuted with his self-titled album, and TV On the Radio released their fourth LP, Nine Types of Light.

Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1978

For fifty weeks over the next 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, Dan Reed is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1978.

Bruce Springsteen, Blondie, and Big Star were just a few of the artists who made music in the year 1978. Theatrical singer-songwriter Kate Bush debuted with The Kick Inside featuring the classic “Wuthering Heights,” experimental punk band DEVO released Q. Are We Not Men? A. We Are Devo., Kraftwerk’s seventh album The Man-Machine made a huge impact, The Clash revved up fans with Give ‘Em Enough Rope, Patti Smith broke new ground with Easter, and so much more. Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 2002

For fifty weeks over the next 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 2002.

The year 2002 was filled not just with amazing songs (and big hits), but albums that were jam-packed with them. The Flaming Lips‘ Yoshimi Battles The Pink RobotsRilo Kiley‘s The Execution of All Things, The Roots’ PhrenologyDamien Rice‘s O and Wilco‘s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot were just some of the standout releases of the year. (To say nothing of equally stacked records from Sleater-KinneyInterpol, and Common, the debut releases from Ben Kweller, Neko Case, and The Polyphonic Spree, acclaimed records from legacy artists Elvis CostelloTom Petty, and Patty Griffin). Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1973

For fifty weeks over the next 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 1973.

Seriously. Look at how many incredible albums came out in 1973. We’re talking about some of the most classic of the classic rock albums of all time like Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin, Quadrophenia by The Who, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Band On The Run by Paul McCartney and Wings, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut, Bruce Springsteen’s first and second albums, Steely Dan’s Countdown to Ecstasy and incredible albums by The Eagles, The Allman Brothers, Yes, Alice Cooper, Roxy Music, The Rolling Stones, Little Feat, and ZZ Top.

In 1973, R&B was on fire. Stevie Wonder released the ground breaking Innervisions, Marvin Gaye dropped Let’s Get it On, and Oakland’s Tower of Power gave us their seminal self-titled album. In other sounds, Herbie Hancock released the jazz funk classic Head Hunters, The Wailers released Catch A Fire, Tom Waits released his debut, Closing Time, and Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention blessed us with Over-Nite Sensation. Jazz fusion was in full effect: Mahavishnu Orchestra released Birds of Fire, and Mahavishnu drummer Billy Cobham debuted Stratus, a record that would serve as the musical blueprint for trip-hop when Massive Attack sampled it in 1991 on their song, “Safe From Harm.” Continue reading →