Ken Tucker | KCUR

Ken Tucker

Ken Tucker reviews rock, country, hip-hop and pop music for Fresh Air. He is a cultural critic who has been the editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, and a film critic for New York Magazine. His work has won two National Magazine Awards and two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. He has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review and other publications.

Tucker is the author of Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy: 100 Things to Love and Hate About Television.

Ken Burns is our great explainer, television's finest illustrator. He's a filmmaker who gives us what we know from fresh angles, so that we can learn more and appreciate topics on a deeper level. Whether his subject is the Civil War or baseball, Burns has made an art of divining what most Americans know about a subject and then putting an arm around our collective shoulder and murmuring, "Yes, but have you seen this?"

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This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of a new album by Titus Andronicus, a band that formed in New Jersey more than a decade ago. The album is called "An Obelisk." One of their previous albums was a collection based on the history of the Civil War. Last year's album, "A Productive Cough," was built around a series of ballads. Ken says the new album has a louder, more aggressive style.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST LIKE RINGING A BELL")

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(SOUNDBITE OF THE MEKONS SONG, "ANDROMEDA")

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From Courtney Barnett's brooding on Tell Me How You Really Feel to Cardi B's hip-hop styling on Invasion of Privacy, the range of female artists was remarkable in 2018.

Tracey Thorn's Record, in which she sings about the various roles women assume, tops my list of the year's best albums. Here's a list, in order, of all my favorites:

1. Tracey Thorn, Record

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