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.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Hinds is a Spanish quartet that's just released its debut album. The four women formed the band in Madrid and in the space of just a couple of years, have toured extensively, performing all over Europe and making attention-getting appearances at festivals, such as this past year's South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of Hinds' album "Leave Me Alone." ...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic, Ken Tucker, has a review of the new album from singer-songwriter Benji Hughes. Hughes is from North Carolina and his music pops up in a lot of places, ranging from jingles he's written for ramen breakfast cereal commercials to music placed on TV shows like "How I Met Your Mother" to vocals on a 2011 album made by the actor Jeff Bridges. Here's Ken's review of Hughes's new...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic, Ken Tucker, has a review of a new album by Ellie Goulding, a 29-year-old British singer who's been much more popular in the U.K. than here. She first became known the electronic dance music genre. But Ken says her new album, "Delirium," represents a shift into mainstream pop and hopefully a bigger U.S. following. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO") ELLIE GOULDING: ...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. There's a new sequel to the 1976 album "Have Moicy!," an album that critic Robert Christgau called the greatest folk album of the rock era. The sequel is called "Have Moicy 2: The Hoodoo Bash." The project is headed up by Peter Stampfel and Jeffrey Lewis and features a large assemblage of friends and colleagues. The album is a collection of songs that mix the oldest style of folk, blues...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. This year, rock critic Ken Tucker's 10 best list includes nine albums and a book. Though, the musical genres on his list range from hip-hop to country, all the artists have earned Ken's admiration for their songcraft and shrewdly phrased ideas. Here's Alabama Shakes with a song from "Sound & Color," one of Ken's favorite albums. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHOEGAZE") ALABAMA SHAKES: (Singing)...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Adele's new album, "25," her first in four years, is one of the year's biggest success stories. It sold over 3 million copies the week it was released, and it's likely that "25" will continue to be one of the best-selling albums through the holiday season. Rock critic Ken Tucker has some ideas about the reasons for the British singer's widespread popularity. ...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic, Ken Tucker, has a review of a new album by the British singer-songwriter known as Wreckless Eric, Eric Goulden. He came to prominence during the punk rock era of the late 1970s, along with his label mates on Stiff Records, including Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. Eric lives in America now with his wife, the singer and songwriter Amy Rigby. His...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Rock critic Ken Tucker watched the recent Country Music Association Award Show and was mightily impressed with a duet between Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake. He's also been listening to the debut album of the band Old Dominion called "Meat And Candy," and here's the album and that TV appearance as more proof that the definition of country music is...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic, Ken Tucker, usually reviews new albums. But today, he wants to talk about three songs by three different artists - Elvis Costello, Lana Del Rey and Eleanor Friedberger. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I CAN'T TURN IT OFF") ELVIS COSTELLO: Thank you. "I Can't Turn It Off ," take one. (Singing) Basement babies strangling saxophones. They got twisted...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Tennessee Ernie Ford was a hugely popular singer in the 1950s and '60s best known for his hit "Sixteen Tons." He was a fixture on television with his own variety show and as a frequent guest on other shows. These days, few people remember Ford. A new five-disc box set called "Portrait Of An American Singer" attempts to introduce Ford to a new audience. Rock...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Veteran songwriter and musician Donnie Fritts takes center stage with the release of his new album "Oh My Goodness." Fritts is now 72. During his long career, he's seen his song "We Had It All" recorded by many artists, including The Rolling Stones and Dolly Parton. And Fritts toured for many years as Kris Kristofferson's keyboardist. His fourth solo album...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The band Los Lobos, which is now in its fourth decade of music making, has a new album called "Gates Of Gold. It's their first studio album since 2010. Rock critic Ken Tucker says this album captures every phase of the band's career, while saluting musical influences and extending their sound in new directions. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MADE TO BREAK YOUR HEART") LOS LOBOS: (Singing) It...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The rock band Grace Potter and the Nocturnals has had a lot of success as a concert act powered by its lead singer's voice. Now Grace Potter has struck out on her own and made her first solo album called "Midnight." Rock critic Ken Tucker has a review. (SOUNDBITE OF GRACE POTTER SONG, "ALIVE TONIGHT") GRACE POTTER: (Singing) In the dark of the desert, I saw a man with a sign. It said...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Carly Rae Jepsen has a new album. You might remember that she scored a big hit in 2011 with her song "Call Me Maybe." The video for the song has been viewed more than 700 million times. Rock critic Ken Tucker says the challenge for an artist with a hit single is to channel that popularity into a career that lasts longer than the life of one song. Here's his...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The singer and songwriter Iris DeMent has a new album in which she set to music a collection of poems by the Russian writer Anna Akhmatova, who lived from 1889 to 1966. DeMent was born in Arkansas and is a longtime resident of Iowa. The melodies she wrote for this album derive from her long-standing interest in folk and gospel music. Rock critic Ken Tucker has...

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