Why It Took an Inflatable Butt for Lizzo to Finally Score Her First No. 1

  The singer has long been a hit with parents. “Truth Hurts” finally won over their kids. Tweet Share Comment <img src="https://compote.slate.com/images/51fb9b74-0ef8-4e08-9bff-6b7b76e582cb.jpeg?width=780&amp;height=520&amp;rect=1560x1040&amp;offset=0x0" alt="Lizzo onstage at Coachella." /> Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella. Recently in Music America’s New Favorite Song Cements This as the Summer of Gen Z Taylor Swift’s [...] Read more

The “Old Town Road” Controversy Reveals Problems Beyond Just Race

  Music The debate about Lil Nas X’s No. 1 hit is only the latest sign that Billboard’s methodology is broken. By Chris Molanphy April 12, 20194:23 PM <img src="https://compote.slate.com/images/6f8b3507-72bb-4d74-928b-46a983211fe4.jpeg?width=780&amp;height=520&amp;rect=1560x1040&amp;offset=0x0" alt="Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus" /> Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus. Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Columbia Records; Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty [...] Read more

Why Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” Is the Ultimate “Bop,” for Better or for Worse

Writing about popular music is lousy with obnoxious words. Indeed, there are so many—jangly, crunchy, seminal—that there is a whole book of them (and shamefully, I have used my share). Making things more complicated, much of this language is also subject to a generational divide—words coined by the young are understood to be off-limits to [...] Read more

Does Travis Scott Deserve His First No. 1, or Is He Just a Master of Chart Gimmicks?

Why “Sicko Mode” sits atop the Hot 100. In early 1984—as Michael Jackson’s Thriller was nearing the end of its epic run at No. 1, about 15 months after its release—a non-album single appeared on the radio that sounded like a Jackson bonus track. It was clearly Michael’s voice, singing the chorus, sounding paranoid about [...] Read more