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Maura Johnston

Maura Johnston

I've written about music and culture for 20 years, with pieces published in The New York Times, Time, The Boston Globe, and Rolling Stone, among others. In 2013 I founded the culture periodical Maura Magazine.

I'm an adjunct instructor in the journalism department at Boston College, where I teach two classes: Writing About Popular Music and Journalism and New Media.

I was a founding editor of the music blog Idolator and served as the music editor at The Village Voice.

I went to undergrad at Northwestern University; my graduation speakers were Bill Cosby and Rahm Emanuel, if you want the gist of how different times were back then.

25 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by artist

The 1975: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

Review by Maura Johnston, Rolling Stone, 4 December 2018

The UK band's latest cuts through our social media malaise with some highly emotional songs and a sound that replicates the sonic placelessness of the ...

Adele: TD Garden, Boston

Live Review by Maura Johnston, The Boston Globe, 15 September 2016

THE CURRENT TREND of downcast pop – minor keys, lyrics drenched with bitterness, an overwhelming sense of despair – can be at least partially traced ...

Adele, Beyoncé, Bon Iver, Kanye West: Will Bon Iver Be The Arcade Fire Of 2012? And Other Pre-Grammy Nomination Show Questions

Report by Maura Johnston, The Village Voice, 30 November 2011

TONIGHT'S GRAMMY nomination concert, airing at 10 p.m. on CBS, will not only jam-pack a bunch of performances by the likes of Lady Gaga and ...

Against Me!: Shape Shift With Me

Review by Maura Johnston, The Boston Globe, 15 September 2016

THE FLORIDA-BORN Against Me! has been one of the standard-bearers of politicized nth-generation punk since their debut in 1998, thanks to the strangled voice and ...

Rick Astley: 50

Review by Maura Johnston, The Village Voice, 6 October 2016

SAY THE NAME Rick Astley in 2016 and you'll probably get a reply involving his 1987 smash 'Never Gonna Give You Up', a brightly spangled ...

Austra: "How psychedelic would our world be if technology wasn't just about making someone money?"

Interview by Maura Johnston, The Guardian, 5 January 2017

Depressed at the state of the world, Canadian vocalist and producer Katie Stelmanis dove into Naomi Klein, Star Trek, cyborgs and Latin American dance music ...

Dierks Bentley: How Dierks Bentley Became Country Music's Most Relatable Star

Profile and Interview by Maura Johnston, Esquire, 25 August 2016

IT'S A SULTRY August afternoon at the St. Louis record mecca Vintage Vinyl, and in the back of the shop amidst carrels of LPs, Dierks ...

Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry: "Purposeful pop": can stars like Katy Perry create change through music?

Comment by Maura Johnston, The Guardian, 14 February 2017

After Perry's #wokepop at the Grammys, there's an argument about how subversive pop can be in 2017. History shows it will take more than hashtags. ...

David Bowie, Lady Gaga: Lady Gaga's David Bowie tribute didn't do either artist justice

Comment by Maura Johnston, The Guardian, 16 February 2016

Gaga has Bowie's shapeshifting abilities and a strong voice, but the late star's legacy was ill-served by the hectic megamix she performed. ...

Deadmau5, Portishead: Portishead: Hammerstein Ballroom/Deadmau5: Roseland, NYC

Live Review by Maura Johnston, The Village Voice, 12 October 2011

AT A LIVE MUSIC event, your eye naturally is drawn to what's happening onstage: guitarists thrashing and sawing at the air, vocalists preening between yawps, ...

Dirty Projectors, Solange Knowles, and the Perils of Music-Racism

Comment by Maura Johnston, The Village Voice, 19 January 2010

On 'Stillness Is the Move' and the uselessness of genre. ...

Drake, Green Day, Sting: American Music Awards: anti-Trump sentiment peppers pop's timid party

Report by Maura Johnston, The Guardian, 21 November 2016

Usually the awards show is a chance for those who turn up to walk away with a gong, but this year several acts and presenters ...

Gloria Estefan: how her rhythm got America … and the world

Retrospective and Interview by Maura Johnston, The Guardian, 25 November 2015

Pop hits with Latino influences are de rigueur now — and no one has had a greater impact on this state of affairs than Cuban-Americans ...

Indigo Girls, Sarah McLachlan, Cat Power, Suzanne Vega: The Lilith Fair Abides

Report by Maura Johnston, The Village Voice, 4 August 2010

A late-'90s fest returns with great ideas (the Lilipad!), throwback headliners, and terrible marketing. ...

Ke$ha, The Last Shadow Puppets: Sexism on repeat: how the music industry can break the cycle

Essay by Maura Johnston, The Guardian, 11 March 2016

From Kesha's case against Dr Luke to Miles Kane's objectification of a female journalist, the industry has to admit there's a problem before sexism is ...

Lorde: 'Green Light'

Review by Maura Johnston, The Guardian, 2 March 2017

The 20-year-old New Zealand singer makes a triumphant return with a stellar '90s-inspired pop song about her first heartbreak. ...

George Michael: Why George Michael was the greatest pop star of the MTV era

Comment by Maura Johnston, The Guardian, 26 December 2016

Jackson had the moves, Madonna had the moxie, Prince had the sex – but George Michael had the voice … and thrilling songs like spinning ...

Radiohead: A Moon-Shaped Pool

Review by Maura Johnston, Time, 9 May 2016

IN MANY WAYS, Radiohead is the ideal band to be scoring 2016's increasingly dystopian present. ...

Lana Del Rey: Is Lana Del Rey The Kreayshawn Of Moody, Electro-Tinged "Indie"?

Report by Maura Johnston, The Village Voice, 15 September 2011

LAST NIGHT, Glasslands played host to a "secret" show by Lana Del Rey, an up-and-coming singer who was described by the one press release I ...

Lana Del Rey Takes Her Place On The Internet's Sacrificial Altar With Born To Die

Review by Maura Johnston, The Village Voice, 2 December 2011

IN ANOTHER era, Lana Del Rey would just be another pretty pop singer with a second-rate voice and big, unrealized ambitions, a major-label footnote maybe ...

Lana Del Rey: Lust for Life

Review by Maura Johnston, Rolling Stone, 25 July 2017

LANA DEL REY has become a hugely adored miserablist thanks to a perpetually wounded voice and plainspoken poetry. Her fourth album as Lana Del Rey ...

Taylor Swift: 'Look What You Made Me Do'

Review by Maura Johnston, The Guardian, 25 August 2017

The pop star's return is full of visceral disses, but it's not clear whether she's playing a role or being herself. ...

Kanye West: Kanye West: TD Garden, Boston

Live Review by Maura Johnston, The Boston Globe, 4 September 2016

"IT'S A GOOD YEAR to be a Kanye West fan," Kanye West said near the end of his show at TD Garden on Saturday night. ...

List of genre pieces

Ellen Willis: Out of the Vinyl Deeps

Book Review by Maura Johnston, The Village Voice, 5 October 2011

The late New Yorker pop critic and Voice editor's work still vibrates off the page in Out of the Vinyl Deeps. ...

POTUS playlist: Barack Obama shares his favorite summer tracks on Spotify

Comment by Maura Johnston, The Guardian, 14 August 2015

The US president freshens America's musical palate with a survey of tried-and-true classics and discoverable new artists ranging from soul to rock to jazz. ...

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