Author: Sean Fennessey

  • Love vs. Money: The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, and R&B’s Future Shock

    Two days ago, r&b changed again. On Sunday night, a Canadian collective called the Weeknd released their nine-song mixtape, House of Balloons, on their web site. Though they were quick to deny the direct involvement of Drake’s sonic architect, Noah “40” Shebib, the apparitions in The Weeknd–no official members have yet come forward–have been heavily […]

  • Randy Newman Bores Small Child, Charms Everyone Else At Town Hall

    Randy Newman Town Hall Saturday, March 6 Better Than: James Franco, Anne Hathaway, and the whole lot. There was a seven-year-old boy at the Randy Newman concert. He sat in Row O, between his parents. It made sense, I thought. Randy Newman, official composer for the Pixar films and a heckuva nice guy, should appeal […]

  • Adele Goes Deep

    Adele is never going to be a diva. Too nice. Too British. Hardly redoubtable. The other conditions are there, though: the big, honking, wood-smoked voice; the imposing vocal and physical presence; the glassy-eyed beauty, with that faint divot of a cleft chin; and the songs. Oh, the songs. 21, Adele’s second album—named for her age […]

  • Was 2010 The Best Year For Music Ever? Bowling With Titus Andronicus and the Joy of the Work

    Welcome to Sound of the City’s year-in-review rock-critic roundtable, an amiable ongoing conversation between five prominent Voice critics: Rob Harvilla, Zach Baron, Sean Fennessey, Maura Johnston, and Rich Juzwiak. We’ll be here all week! King Kong, Loch Ness, Goblin, and Ghoul, I’m a zombie with no conscience. But if this trip ’round the mulberry bush […]

  • Was 2010 The Best Year For Music Ever? Throw Taylor Swift In A Well

    Welcome to Sound of the City’s year-in-review rock-critic roundtable, an amiable ongoing conversation between five prominent Voice critics: Rob Harvilla, Zach Baron, Sean Fennessey, Maura Johnston, and Rich Juzwiak. We’ll be here all week! Pals, I spent this year trying to be a more empathetic and broad-minded critic, so it hurts me to open with […]

  • Live: Lykke Li Soundtracks Your Personal Makeout Session at Le Poisson Rouge

    Lykke Li (Le) Poisson Rouge December 1, 2010 Better Than: Your standard overpraised Swedish pop starlet. The Swedish ingénue-cum-big-deal Lykke Li is a little bit of a thing. No more than five feet tall, she fills a space like someone twice that size. At Le Poisson Rouge on Wednesday night she was working a sort […]

  • Live: Kanye West At Bowery Ballroom, Ranting, Seething, And Enthralling

    This is the rant, but don’t skip ahead. Kanye West Bowery Ballroom Tuesday, November 23 Late Monday night word trickled out, via Teyana Taylor’s Twitter feed, that a Kanye West performance was in the offing, to celebrate the release of his acclaimed new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The next day. At 550-capacity Bowery […]

  • Kanye West, Finally Unraveled

    Kanye West does not do well with loss of control. Never has. He is a maestro in the truest sense—of his music, of his feelings, of the way he is interpreted by the masses. If the conversation about him is moving in a direction he dislikes, he gestures with his hands and changes it. This […]

  • Waka Flocka Flame Is Yelling at You for a Reason

    New rap meme, same as the old rap meme: form over content. So it’s useful to get this out of the way straight off: Waka Flocka Flame is not, in the parochial sense, a good rapper. That much has driven the conversation surrounding the Georgia-based MC since he began appearing in earnest last year alongside […]

  • Last Night: Diddy Dirty Money and Rick Ross Beat Back the Rain at Governors Island

    Power 105 Power Live, Featuring Rick Ross and Diddy Governors Island Sunday, August 22 The weather on Sunday in advance of Power 105’s Power Live concert at Governors Island was fitting, considering its star attraction. There was a thick, slowing dampness in New York City yesterday–not so much simply wet as it was soaked through–and […]