Podcast #78: Who's More Controversial than Lady Gaga?

The elephant in the room this week? Pope Benedict XVI and other leaders in the Catholic church have been surrounded by scandal lately, and it doesn’t seem to be going away. We discuss the lessons we can learn from these happenings and what the implications will be for the Christian church.

In the second half of the show, we discuss the pop icon known by most as Lady Gaga. While Ben might be skeptical, Rich argues that she’s more than your average pop star. Listen to find out why and what it means for Christians.

Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett acknowledge and respond to the big issues in popular culture. We love feedback! If you’d like to respond you can comment on the website, send an email to christandpopculture@gmail.com, or go to our contact page. We would love to respond to feedback on the show, so do it now! Subscribe to us in iTunes by clicking here. While you’re at it, review us in iTunes! We’ll love you forever!

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  • EPs are shorter albums. Ironically, it stands for extended play. LPs are long-playing.

    It’s kind of like how at Starbucks, a tall is a small and a grande is only a medium.

  • Oh, so I was right!

  • They’re called extended plays because back in the ol’ vinyl days, a band might include a smaller 7″ vinyl disc with the full album because some extra songs didn’t make the cut for the LP or there wasn’t enough room. Hence, extended play.

  • Ah, nice. That makes sense.

  • Ben Bartlett

    Call me an outsider, but those all sound like good reasons not to use that terminology anymore.

  • @Outsider – You are correct. Also: albums. With the advent of the mp3 and its associated players, the concept of an album in all but the most conceptual collections is an idea without legs or purpose. A single CD can hold 100s of songs. Every song is now a single. The whole music industry is in a tumult.

  • Dane,

    Do you think that’s a negative thing? People who know more about music keep telling me it’s a bad thing that songs are separated and that the death of the album is unfortunate… but why?

    For the most part, I feel like musicians did a poor job of tying their music together in a compelling way. In other words, it’s their own fault for not preparing well with the advent of CD tracks. Even Led Zeppelin, who made a big issue of it, can easily be enjoyed at the single level.

    As far as I can tell, the list of widely known albums that do a good job with this is limited to The Decemberists and Handel’s Messiah.

  • I don’t feel its a bad thing at all. There are certainly exceptions (and even among those you mentioned, most of the Decemberist’s albums don’t fare better as an album than they do as a shuffle), but for the most part, there is nothing intrinsic to the average album that ties its songs together into a greater experience.

    I think the main argument for albums is mixtapes, which can often be charming and have a narrative direction (I’m thinking especially one by a friend titled Evolution of a Breakup). Occasionally, an artist will attempt this level of narrative flow within a now-arbitrary duration, but the majority of albums are just assortments of a band’s best songs within a particular creative era (i.e. songs written since their last release) along with some tolerable filler material to help consumers not feel absolutely ripped off when the album they purchased is only 30 minutes long.

    As far as the “people who know more about music,” facades are revealed in numerous ways and the lament for the death of the album is probably just one more. In all likelihood, these people don’t know more about music than you. Maybe they know more bands or more industry terms, or maybe they know better how to parrot the audiophile party line, but they probably don’t know more about music than any of us. Just generalizing here, but you’re smart enough to figure that out.

  • Hm, there’s your next podcast topic: The Concept Album and Is It Enough to Merit the Widespread Continuance of the Album Itself.

    You could do your top 5 concept albums and top 5 albums whose parts are greater than the whole (although, that’s most albums, so maybe that’d be a boring list).

  • Matt

    Apple should help save the album by making every one an iTunes LP. I own the Muse LP and would buy more full albums if they were all LPs.

  • Cannerus

    The death or continuation of the album lies in the hands of the artist, not the industry. Dream Theater’s Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence boasts a second disk of individual tracks that form a 45 minute song in itself. Likewise their album Octavarium is a continuous loop, though the songs have meaning in their own contexts as well. If more artists follow this pattern or develop one of their own, the album will retain meaning.

  • @Cannerus – But to what end? Why is there any need to perpetuate the album?

  • Cannerus

    Ha, I have no stake in the matter and could consequently care less. Some people just have a bad case of “the good ol’ days” :)