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Jayson Greene’s column examines how certain sounds—a snare crack, a synth blob, a ghostly string sample—linger in our minds and lives.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Guitars? Exploring the Future of Musical A.I.

New projects by Google and Sony use machine-learning technology to create music that essentially writes itself. Should we be scared—or excited?

Chaos Theory: The Glorious Unpredictability of Young Thug

Chaos isn't the absence of a pattern; it's a pattern too complex to discern. Jayson Greene talks with some of Young Thug’s closest collaborators in an effort to figure out the secrets of his mercurial style.

The Coldest Story Ever Told: The Influence of Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak

Over the last seven years, 808s & Heartbreak has become a touchstone for musicians interested in exploring emotional and artistic upheaval. Jayson Greene details its lasting impact.

The Compton Sessions: How Dr. Dre Created His Comeback

Jayson Greene talks with some of the key collaborators behind Dr. Dre’s Compton to find out how the 50-year-old hip-hop icon arrived at his uncharacteristically ragged and dark new sound.

Evolve With the Flow: How Drake and Kendrick Found Their Voices

Drake and Kendrick Lamar’s new albums are vastly different hip-hop artifacts, but they both feature rappers honing in on their message by exploring the outer reaches of the most elemental tool available to them—their voices. By Jayson Greene.

Notes You Never Hear: The Metaphysical Loneliness of George Harrison

Of all the singular sounds made by the Beatles, George Harrison’s lead guitar might be the most elusive. Jayson Greene teases out its haunting essence with the help of a few Harrison acolytes.

Turn Down for What

Looking beyond lyrics, why is the overall sound of a song like Ariana Grande's "Break Free" so good at turning off our brains, while something like Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" is more conducive to contemplation? Jayson Greene investigates.

Mozart Makes You Smarter... And Other Dubious Musical Theories

Questions about music's effect on the brain have stumped scientists for years, and "common knowledge" in this area can be riddled with rumors. Jayson Greene tries to separate fact from fiction.

Beyond the Yellow Brick Road

With Elton John's 1973 opus Goodbye Yellow Brick Road getting an expanded reissue this week, Jayson Greene looks back on the gloriously haunting title track, decoding the musical secrets it employs to evoke endless surprise and obsession.

Word Is Bond: Black Hippy and the Power of Repetition

Jayson Greene discusses how the loops and mantras of rap trigger obsessive listening—a phenomenon currently typified by Kendrick Lamar's Black Hippy crew—in his latest column.

String Theory

For writer Jayson Greene, seemingly disparate styles of music—from classical to soul to hip-hop and beyond—are linked in mysterious and powerful ways. It's all about finding the right connectors—like Philly Soul architect Thom Bell.

Shaking Through: Music and Mania

Jayson Greene on his struggle with an idiosyncratic, anxiety-based condition called psychomotor agitation-- which causes involuntary physical tics-- and how it affects his relationship with music on a daily basis.

Kanye's Sold Soul

Whereas Kanye West once used soul to add uplift to his music, Yeezus has the rapper/producer employing his signature samples to more sinister effect. Jayson Greene breaks down this confrontational about-face in his latest column.

Rap Game Pikachu

Jayson Greene on the current sound of street-rap production-- popularized by beatmakers including Metro Boomin' (Future) and Young Chop (Chief Keef)-- which flips Lex Luger's minor-key formula into something lighter and more playful.

Imperfect From Now On

Built to Spill leader Doug Martsch talks about how his liquid guitar tone was the result of utter failure in the first installment of Overtones, a new column by Jayson Greene that examines how certain sounds stick in our minds and lives.