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12 great music stories from 2018 we promise not to call ‘essays’ if you promise not to call them ‘thinkpieces’

Troye Sivan and Charli XCX; Def Leppard

Troye Sivan and Charli XCX; Def Leppard YouTube

Whatever you call these observations, reminiscences, diatribes, and otherwise unclassifiably miscellaneous bits of music writing, we're glad we ran 'em this year.

Def Leppard weren't just rock 'n' roll clowns.

Def Leppard weren't just rock 'n' roll clowns. YouTube

How Def Leppard’s unlikely glam-metal revolution changed everything by Jess Harvell

Christopher Vondracek

Christopher Vondracek

Waiting for the Revolution at Super Bowl Live by Christopher Vondracek

Tess Weinberg and Chris White of No Kim

Tess Weinberg and Chris White of No Kim Tess Weinberg

Why are so many Minnesota musicians moving to Los Angeles by Jerard Fagerberg

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera Associated Press

Christina Aguilera sets herself free on ‘Liberation’—but from what? by Marcus Michalik

Whitney Houston in 2000.

Whitney Houston in 2000. ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

Revisiting the tragedy of 'Whitney' in the age of Beyoncé by Solomon Gustavo

Rakim in his prime.

Rakim in his prime. YouTube

Why Eric B. & Rakim’s ‘Follow the Leader’ still sounds fresh 30 years later by M.T. Richards

These guys could've taken Brett Kavanaugh in a fight.

These guys could've taken Brett Kavanaugh in a fight. Publicity photo

UB40 would've hated Brett Kavanaugh  by Aaron Vehling

Phil in 2016

Phil in 2016 Drew Gurian/Invision/AP

In praise of Phil Collins, the Swiss Army knife of music by Annie Zaleski

Local H in the long ago '90s

Local H in the long ago '90s YouTube

Do you have to be old to like Local H? Probably—but hear us out anyway. by Steve Neuman

Troye Sivan & Charli XCX: Their hearts will go on

Troye Sivan & Charli XCX: Their hearts will go on YouTube

Remember the’80s? The’90s? How about the’00s? Welcome to pop’s new nostalgia overload. by Chuck Eddy

Chris Janson

Chris Janson YouTube

Is Chris Janson’s self-serving anti-rape country hit ‘Drunk Girl’ better than nothing? by Anthony Easton

E-40, connoisseur

E-40, connoisseur Photo courtesy of Earl Stevens Selections

Let’s sip Carlo Rossi to celebrate the 25th anniversary of E-40’s debut, ‘Federal’ by Josh Langhoff

I have seen the future of rock and roll and it is the past.

I have seen the future of rock and roll and it is the past. Instagram

Greta Van Fleet is not the end of the world by Lucas Fagen

Whatever you’re listening to right now, the Pistol Annies’ ‘Interstate Gospel’ is probably better by Alfred Soto

Pistol Annies: They're glam as hall and they're not gonna take it anymore.

Pistol Annies: They're glam as hall and they're not gonna take it anymore. Instagram

40 years ago in St. Paul, the Ramones opened for… Foreigner? by Bill Kennard

The Ramones: They do not want to know what love is

The Ramones: They do not want to know what love is Michael Reiter

Pete Shelley asked all the right questions by Andy Sturdevant