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  • Chicago soul historian/DJ/enthusiastic Bob Abrahamian passed away at age 35. Never had the pleasure/honor of meeting him. His passing seems like a tragic, shocking loss for the city.
  • Isolated stems, highlighting Karen Carpenter’s vocals. Where I teach (CSU-Long Beach), the Carpenters are one of the most famed alum and there’s a performance center donated by them. Karen’s death is one of the (too many) premature losses that pop music has suffered.
  • The continuing struggles of 50 Cent to try to assert his relevance 10 years after Get Rich or Die Tryin’ seems to prove that old adage that you’re only as hot as your last single/album and that no artist is guaranteed longevity. If 50 can’t stay on top, we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that money or rep can buy your way to relevance. Pop music has never worked that way.
  • The P-Funk Mothership has landed…at the Smithsonian.
  • Mark Anthony Neal offers up “7 Marvin Gaye Songs You Should Know” (and surprise! “What’s Going On” isn’t one of them).
  • I’m loving Owen Pallett’s takes on analyzing pop music hits through a musicological filter. He’s got a semi-regular column in Slate and contributed to this six-song breakdown for Buzzfeed.
  • Amerie might trigger your epilepsy with “What I Want,” which finds her singing over what practically sounds like an unedited version of “Apache.”
  • Rich Median and Tucker & Bloom have collaborated on a 45 shoulder bag. Looks mighty tempting (save for the $275 price tag). (Photo above.)

  • The Illmatic Influence Infographic.” ‘Nuff said.