Music That Defines Us

Mining for those heart of gold songs

Terry Barr
Three Imaginary Girls

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Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

At least I know what I don’t know.

I know so little about Rap and Hip Hop, but maybe not as little as I thought. I don’t read every one of Jeffrey Harvey’s flashback series into the legendary history of Hip Hop, but I do read about the things I’ve heard as in Public Enemy and Grandmaster Flash. I want to know more, but my wanting is competitive: I also want to know more about Electronica and the roots of Country, especially the roots of Black Country artists.

And I want to keep current in the Pop world, however we might define Pop (Ariana Grande, Olivia Rodrigo, Gaga, Taylor and Beyonce), as well as in the “Alternative” world (whatever we mean here, because I heard The Foo Fighters on Alt Nation, but wonder if they’re the same alternative as Fontaines, DC or Bloc Party or Lush?).

For my morning read, I have Questlove’s latest, Hip Hop Is History (AUWA Books 2024), spinning, and I recognize Schooly D and Spoonie Gee from the 80s and my days of reading Spin Magazine and Dave Marsh’s Rock and Soul (later Rock and Rap) Confidential. I also remember buying LL Cool J’s Radio, and listening over and over to “Rock the Bells.” I love to read about those epiphanic moments when Questlove’s world turns round or on — when he first hears Straight Outta Compton, for instance.

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Terry Barr
Three Imaginary Girls

I write about music, culture, equality, and my Alabama past in The Riff, The Memoirist, Prism and Pen, Counter Arts, and am an editor for Plethora of Pop.