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

Cardi B’s “I Like It” Is the Latest Version of a Song that Took 50 Years to Get to No. 1

Last year’s undisputed Song of Summer, “Despacito,” was a lilting, thumping, Latin-Anglo hybrid by a pair of Puerto Ricans, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, sung mostly in Spanish with a brief English-language assist from Justin Bieber. This year, the race for Song of Summer has, to date, mostly been a faceoff between streaming gods Drake [...] Read more