The Berkeley Beacon

Nina Corcoran

Music Columnist

Corcoran can be reached at


Mixtapes: the best 'Thank You'

Music columnist Nina Corcoran's final piece offers a message of the gift that keeps on giving: mixtapes.

Changing the tune of music criticism

Music columnist Nina Corcoran thinks music critiques have become to laxed lately. And believes reviewers must change.

Why the Oscars' Best Original Song nomination process is a mess

Music columnist Nina Corcoran takes on the flaws of the Academy Awards nomination process for Best Original Song.

Behind the mask of anonymous musicians

Music columnist Nina Corcoran talks about musical acts that use a disguise to hide their appearance, allowing the music to speak for itself.

The underappreciated used CD bins

Music columnist Nina Corcoran explains the secret treasures and hidden gems of a used CD bin.

Why 10-minute songs are better than TV shows

Music columnist Nina Corcoran argues that 10-minute songs are better than single TV show episodes.

Girl Talk and the power of sampling music

Music columnist Nina Corcoran discusses the successes of music samples creating new fans.

Not caring is caring: refusing music awards

Music columnist Nina Corcoran talks about the politics behind accepting music awards.

Eight rockin' back-to-school lessons from School of Rock

Columnist Nina Corcoran gives you eight life lessons from Jack Black's School of Rock, still rocking a decade after debuting in theaters.

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What it means to be a female pop star

Prior to arriving at Emerson, Lieb wrote for Billboard and Rolling Stone, and ran Newbury Comics Interactive. Lieb draws from her industry experience and her academic background to explain the lifecycle of today’s female pop star, including how queen bee Beyoncé fits into all of this.

“Untitled” by Unknown (for better or for worse)

To truly enjoy a song upon first listen, it has to be about the music and the music only.

Boston is Calling (but who is answering?)

South by Southwest, Newport Folk Festival, Sasquatch!, Austin City Limits, Ultra: Either as dream destinations or faded marks in calendars, many of these are music festivals well known to the Emerson population. But now Boston has thrown itself into the pile, and I’m not quite sure if it’s worth digging out.

The necessity of music stores

It’s no newsflash that MP3 sales are leaping forward in the race of music purchases. Generations both new and old are falling in love with being able to immediately hear the albums they want.

The best music from 2012 excludes January through March

MetaCritic, a website that compiles critics’ ratings of movies, music, games, and TV, tracks the rankings of nearly every released album, regardless of genre or popularity.

Why you need to go to a house show

Boston’s music scene gets more vibrant each year.

Anything you can hear, I can hear better

Living in a city can get exhausting.

Musical minds mingle

Special performances of older forces merging with the new are popping up faster than ever.

Madonna and the pitfalls of gaining musical tenure

Madonna took the stage during the Superbowl halftime show in a gold Aztec-like outfit and reconfirmed her title as a pop queen. So why is it she’s letting American culture unravel off her finger with the release of her 16th album, MDNA?

From John Williams to Trent Reznor: Appreciating film scores

Since composers are tasked with creating music that milks a scene for all it’s worth, they pay attention to every trill and thump.

The instrument you play when nobody’s looking

Truly learning how to play an instrument never ends . Don’t hold yourself back from playing piano, bass guitar, or didgeridoo simply because you think there’s a standard you need to meet.

Ending the worst musical generalization

“What kind of music do you listen to?” It’s the question we hear all the time in get-to-know-you questionnaires, organization ice-breakers, or awkward conversations searching for possible connections.