Ken Tucker

Ken Tucker reviews rock, country, hip-hop and pop music for Fresh Air. He is a cultural critic who has been the editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, and a film critic for New York Magazine. His work has won two National Magazine Awards and two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. He has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review and other publications.

Tucker is the author of Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy: 100 Things to Love and Hate About Television.

Pages

Music
1:23 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Art In The Age Of Prince

If you've been wondering where Prince has gone, he's re-signed with Warner Brothers Records after spending the last few years of sporadic independent releases. Now Prince has released two new albums simultaneously: Art Official Age appears under his own name, and PlectrumElectrum is the debut record of a Prince back-up band called 3rdEyeGirl, but it includes Prince's vocals, guitar, and production style throughout. Fresh Air critic Ken Tucker has a review of both albums.

Read more
Music
1:20 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Blake Mills' Restless 'Heigh Ho' Is A Roundabout Journey

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 10:01 am

Blake Mills has done a lot in his 28 years. As a guitarist, he has accompanied singers including Lucinda Williams, Neil Diamond, Kid Rock, and Lana Del Ray. He's produced songs for acts such as Fiona Apple and Alabama Shakes. His new album, his second, is called Heigh Ho, and Fresh Air critic Ken Tucker says it's notable for the diversity of its sound.

Read more
Music
2:43 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Pere Ubu's 'Carnival Of Souls' Is A Dreamscape That's Never Dreamy

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 4:39 pm

Pere Ubu's new album, Carnival of Souls, is a reference to the 1962 cult horror film. But as Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker hears it, the band, led since the late '70s by co-founder David Thomas, has created something far more rich, experimental, and emotional than spooky, horror-movie music.

Read more
Music Reviews
1:13 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

The New Pornographers Return With A 'Celebration Record' That's Fun To Figure Out

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 1:27 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Read more
Music Reviews
12:45 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

At 71, Elvin Bishop Is Still Vigorous, And Can Do Wrong Right

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Read more
Music
1:34 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Benjamin Booker Is Raw, Yet Disciplined On Debut Album

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 2:51 pm

There's something about a rapidly strummed guitar chord followed quickly by an urgent vocal that is one definition of an effective rock song, and Fresh Air critic Ken Tucker thinks he's found quite a few examples of this on Benjamin Booker's self-titled debut album. The 25-year-old guitarist-singer-songwriter has already served as an opening act on Jack White's recent tour, and he may be ready for headliner status.

Read more
Music
2:34 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

At 74, Outlaw Billy Joe Shaver Is Still An Outlier

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 2:55 pm

In 1973, Waylon Jennings released an album called Honky Tonk Heroes that consisted almost entirely, with one exception, of songs written by Billie Joe Shaver, a then-unknown Texas songwriter.

Read more
Music
2:31 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Spoon Wants Your Soul

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 2:52 pm

Spoon has just released its first new album since 2010's Transference. Fresh Air critic says that "They Want My Soul is another fine Spoon album in a career that has now come to display a remarkable consistency."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

Read more
Music Reviews
1:52 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Jenny Lewis' 'The Voyager' Is An Album To Spend Time With

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 2:30 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Read more
Music
2:01 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

The Cowboy That Wasn't A Cowboy Sings

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 2:52 pm

Cowboy Jack Clement, who died in 2013 at age 82, was a prolific producer, songwriter, arranger, and talent scout. He brought Jerry Lee Lewis to Sun Records, helped nurture the career of one of the few black country stars, Charley Pride, and worked on important albums for artists as various as Waylon Jennings and U2.

Read more

Pages