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