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FT Life of a Song Sincerity or self-branding: what defines millennial music?

From the unstoppable rise of hip-hop to the ‘millennial whoop’, what does today’s new music sound like? And how has social media changed the relationship between artists and fans?

Harriet Fitch Little, India Ross and Griselda Murray Brown discuss Drake, Cardi B and DJ Khaled – in particular ‘Wild Thoughts’ ft. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller from 2017, which leans heavily on the melody and mood of Santana’s 1999 hit ‘Maria Maria’, the coming-of-age soundtrack for the oldest cohort of millennials. 

Warning: this podcast contains a live ‘millennial whoop’.

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FT Life of a Song Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights

When “Wuthering Heights” was released 40 years ago this year, it became the first song written and performed by a woman to reach number one in the UK charts. What was the song’s — and Bush’s — special appeal? Why have there been more parodies than straight covers? And why is it so popular now, with re-enactments of the music video taking place around the world? FT music writers Jude Rogers, Helen Brown and David Cheal discuss the song and its afterlife.

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FT Life of a Song 1968: The Year that Music Changed

Set against a backdrop of protest and upheaval, the songs released in 1968 represent a turning point in music. FT pop writers David Cheal and Peter Aspden are joined by author Tot Taylor to debate the year’s most important songs and artists, from Tyrannosaurus Rex, The Beatles and Pink Floyd to Joni Mitchell and Tim Buckley.

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FT Life of a Song The best Christmas music: a definitive guide

What makes a good Christmas song? Should it be cheesy or serious? And why do millennials love them? 

FT pop writers discuss festive classics old and new – from carols to Mariah Carey, Greg Lake to Phil Spector, Sufjan Stevens to Run-DMC. Plus, which 2017’s best Christmas song: Gwen Stefani’s ‘You Make it Feel Like Christmas’ or Sia’s ‘Santa’s Coming for Us’?

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FT Life of a Song The Life of a Song: Strange Fruit

Billie Holiday’s 1939 ‘Strange Fruit’ was called ‘the first significant protest in words and music, the first unmuted cry against racism’. Other singers attempted it, from Nina Simone and Diana Ross to Jeff Buckley and Kanye West. But could any match the power of the impassioned original? FT pop writers David Cheal, Fiona Sturges and Helen Brown discuss the song’s origins and afterlife.

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FT Life of a Song The Life of a Song: Make You Feel My Love

From Bob Dylan to Adele, the song that was first called ‘a spare ballad undermined by greetingcard lyrics’ is now a karaoke tearjerker. FT pop writers David Cheal and Helen Brown debate the origins, meanings and cover versions of ‘Make You Feel My Love’.

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FT Life of a Song The Hits that Shook the World

In a special episode to mark the publication of The Life of a Song book, FT pop critics Helen Brown, David Cheal and Ludovic Hunter-Tilney debate whether a song can really change the world. Hear the stories behind the hits, from Bowie’s ‘Starman’ to Jay-Z’s ‘Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)’.

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FT Life of a Song The Life of a Song: Wild Thing

It achieved distinction in an era of elemental riffs, and journeyed effortlessly to and fro across the Atlantic. It also marked a turning point in the career of the greatest guitarist who ever lived: Jimi Hendrix. FT pop writers Peter Aspden and David Cheal discuss “Wild Thing” 50 years after Hendrix’s groundbreaking performance at the Monterey Pop festival.

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FT Life of a Song The Life of a Song: Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel

The singer’s old label boss called the song ‘a morbid mess’, but it shot to number one in the US. Ahead of the 40th anniversary of Elvis’s death in August, FT pop writers Peter Apsden and David Cheal discuss the song’s origins, dark appeal and afterlife.

Credits: 104pro Media, Legacy Recordings, Entertain Me Ltd, Spectrum, Omnivore Recordings, Vengeance Records

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