Washington Post pop music critic. Big on dark social. Email me at chris dot richards at washpost dot com.

The month’s best music: Ashley Monroe, Future, Demi Lovato and more

washingtonpost.com — 1. Ashley Monroe, "The Blade" Retro-fetishism and timelessness are not the same thing, and this woman knows the difference. She's a traditionalist, but she never sounds like she's hiding in the safety of yesterday - and that's half the reason why "The Blade" is the most exquisite country album released this year.

Skepta’s prime-time grime

washingtonpost.com — It wasn't Zane Lowe's first DJ set, but this one had to knock the socks off an entire planet. It was late June, and the former BBC jock had just signed on to Beats 1, the Internet radio station that Apple is hoping to make the centerpiece of its ballyhooed new streaming service, Apple Music.

Who does T-Pain think he is?

washingtonpost.com — Every July, there's at least one bratty little song that waits for everybody else to slip into the pool, then cannonballs into the deep end. This year, it's " Classic Man " by T-Pain, a tune that made its glorious brat-splash last Friday afternoon and climbed out dripping like the song of the summer.
Jul 23, 2015

T-Pain’s “Classic Man” is: a) a hijacking of an imitation of a rip-off b) the song of the summer c) all of the above wapo.st/1KndBed

Meek Mill has discovered a big stage worth sharing

washingtonpost.com — Meek Mill's " Dreams Worth More Than Money" has spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart, but it's still one of those troublesome rap assemblages that's only ever as good as its guest list. More often than not, the eager Philadelphian seems too comfortable allowing his most famous friends to swoop in and do the heavy lifting.

At the movies with Waka Flocka Flame

washingtonpost.com — Forget the best. Let's head down to pop's dankest sub-basement in search of the worst song of the summer. And there, amidst the coyote-howls of Adam Levine and whatever pool party Pitbull happens to be throwing, we will find faded rap star Waka Flocka Flame and pop-punk barnacles Good Charlotte forfeiting their remaining dignity in a new collaboration called "Game On."

The precocious country teen singer is gone: Grown-up Taylor Swift rules pop

washingtonpost.com — A friend request from Taylor Swift isn't some blip in your Facebook feed. It starts with leggy strides across a big stage, and it ends with a fireworks show, and through all of the va-voom and ka-boom, a multimillionaire is trying to convince you that she simply wants to be your pal.
Jul 14, 2015

You have 1 friend request from Taylor Swift. [Accept] [Ignore] wapo.st/1Rvyk3n

Jul 14, 2015

RT @washingtonpost: Concert review: Taylor Swift delivers a sleek and poised performance at Nationals Park wapo.st/1Hsd8Bi

Jul 14, 2015

A sleek, poised Taylor Swift breaks from boy-crazy narrative at Nats Park wpo.st/tIVQ0

Show 2 more tweets from Chris Richards, J duLac

Can pop stars still sell out if listeners have completely bought in?

chicagotribune.com — Things you might see this summer: Taylor Swift sipping from a bottle of Diet Coke. Kendrick Lamar slipping into a pair of Reeboks. Some Drake lyrics slapped onto a can of Sprite. If any of these gestures make you anxious, you've been alive long enough to remember what "selling out" is.

Can pop stars still sell out if listeners have completely bought in?

Jul 13, 2015

"Selling out in 2015 isn’t always morally bankrupt, but it is complicated" wapo.st/1KYyevq

This summer, country singer Maggie Rose is throwing tomatoes

washingtonpost.com — Will tomato-talk dominate the country music discussion for the entire summer? Fans of Maggie Rose should be so lucky. Before we explain, let's rewind six weeks. That's when the now-notorious radio consultant Keith Hill made headlines for urging American radio programmers to play fewer songs by women.

Demi Lovato’s ‘Cool For the Summer’ heats things up

washingtonpost.com — Life gets weird. Like when Ariana Grande, the 22-year-old pop star, walks into a California doughnut shop, licks a few unsold pastries (on a dare), then cracks wise about hating America, all of which is caught on camera, inciting a nation of humorless patriots to gasp and hiss, so Grande actually apologizes to these people, then cancels a gig at this weekend's MLB All-Star Game festivities in Cincinnati because, oops, she's having her wisdom teeth removed, which allows Demi Lovato, another 22-year-old pop star, to step in and take her place.
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Jul 29, 2015

Can't really root for either guy, but it's cool to have a song that is meant to be listened to on July 29, 2015 only: genius.com/7466168

Jul 29, 2015

My first time at 3rd & Lindsley was for a Time Jumpers gig and Miranda Lambert sat at my table. This seems *as* cool: bit.ly/1I92mjB

Jul 28, 2015

Here's a detailed report on Shy Glizzy's arrest yesterday in Silver Spring: wapo.st/1JQyM2E

Jul 28, 2015

You can read about (and listen to some of) THE MONTH’S BEST MUSIC right here: wapo.st/1U4ggeo

Jul 28, 2015

MONTH’S BEST MUSIC No. 1. The best country album we’ve heard this year is @ashleymonroe’s “The Blade” and that’s that.

Jul 28, 2015

MONTH’S BEST MUSIC No. 2. Right now at this very moment, my song of the summer is a toss-up between “Trap Queen” and @TPain’s “Classic Man.”

Jul 28, 2015

MONTH’S BEST MUSIC No. 3. I can’t remember a summer-defining album as bleak as @1Future’s “DS2.” Can you? (If so, how did you survive it?)

Jul 28, 2015

MONTH’S BEST MUSIC No. 4. American radio could use more songs about hot-hot-hot, hush-hush summer flings so respect to @ddlovato.

Jul 28, 2015

MONTH’S BEST MUSIC No. 5 And if you’re feeling experimental-R&B fatigue, sink into the humble groove of the latest @realtamiaworld album.

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