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Mar 9, 2018

NYT Magazine on March 9, 2018.

The New York Times 

Friday, March 9, 2018



For a decade now, pop music’s big stars — performers like Taylor Swift, Drake, Rihanna and Katy Perry — have held steady, producing hits full of earnest confidence and self-assertion. But the teenagers who first drove them up the charts are approaching 30, and their long run at the helm of pop is coming to an end. So what happens next?
Our annual music issue touches on some of those artists, and on some of the sounds that might be waiting to replace them. But mostly it just turns 25 remarkable writers loose on songs and artists that seem to reveal something important about culture today, and maybe tomorrow.
Lizzy Goodman profiles SZA, the R.&B. singer who has turned self-doubt into a superpower. Jonah Weiner sits with the Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane to talk about redemption. John Jeremiah Sullivan meets the Scottish group Young Fathers, Jazmine Hughes takes a terrifying look at people’s ‘‘sex playlists,’’ Dessa writes about what it’s like to sing the national anthem and Hanif Abdurraqib considers the workings of faith in a song by Julien Baker. If you’re not a teenager, brace yourself for Charles Aaron’s impassioned take on a new wave of young rappers and their alarming relationship with pharmaceuticals like Xanax — and for Jeremy Gordon’s explanation of how a YouTube knucklehead’s adolescent following drove his tossed-off song onto the Billboard charts. There’s plenty more, too.
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Happy reading,
Jake Silverstein
Editor in Chief