All Things Considered | KUNC

All Things Considered

Weekday Evenings 2-3, 3:30 - 5:30, & 6-7
  • Hosted by Desmond O'Boyle, Audie Cornish, Kelly McEvers, Ari Shapiro, Robert Siegel

Breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special -- sometimes quirky -- features.

In this, the final week of the year, we found ourselves wondering: where are we in this economic crisis? How are we doing compared with this week, a year ago.

Even with the help of wizards, vampires and premium 3-D prices, Hollywood's year will not make the record books. North American box offices took in about $10.5 billion in 2010 -- a bit less than last year.

But if the numbers don't impress, the product did often enough. When I sat down to put together a Top 10 list, I realized there was no way I'd be able to stop at just 10. And as I thought about ranking the best of the best, a few patterns seemed to emerge.

Is a hit song always a product of its time? Or is there a song so magical -- so potent -- that you could release it any year, in any decade, and it would be a number one record?

It's a question inspired by the driving habits of singer, songwriter and producer Ryan Tedder. I spoke with Tedder earlier this year, as we were just starting to think about the questions that would lead to the Hitmakers series that has been running on All Things Considered this month.

Pianist Shai Wosner has been performing to critical acclaim for years, but he has only recently made his debut recording, titled Shai Wosner: Brahms and Schoenberg.

Above is the audio for a remembrance of Billy Taylor, on All Things Considered. Below is a brief written obituary of him.

Billy Taylor, a pianist who became one of the country's foremost ambassadors for jazz music -- including many years as an NPR host -- died Tuesday night. The cause was a heart attack, according to his daughter, Kim Taylor Thompson. He was 89.

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller have written some tunes you might have heard, including "Hound Dog," "Love Potion No. 9" and "Yakety Yak." Though they've worked together for years, their relationship hasn't always been easy.

"I can't remember if it's Mike or Jerry who describes their relationship as a 50-year-old argument," says David Ritz, who ghostwrote Leiber and  Stoller's joint memoir. Ten years ago, the pair described that partnership on NPR as "long, long years of stepping on each other's words and toes and sentences."

I am not a person who re-reads books. The world is too large, and life too short. A book re-read steals time away from a new book I have yet to discover, a book that on my death bed will have gone unread. So, when I tell you that I have read Blindness, by Jose Saramago, three times, you will know how serious I am about it. Three times is two times more than I've ever voluntarily read any other book in my adult life.

Ever since an earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, and the airwaves buzzed with reports of thousands upon thousands dead, and with the catchphrases that have become emblematic of Haiti -- "poorest nation in the hemisphere," "tragically deforested," "overpopulated" -- ever since those scenes and faces and wailing voices, I have been searching for a guide through this devastation.

Lady T. Vanilla Child. The Ivory Queen of Soul. Mary Christine Brockert earned all kinds of nicknames over the course of her career. The one most people knew was Teena Marie.

The band Buke and Gass has a throttling yet joyful sound and a handcrafted sensibility that enraptured listeners this year and landed its album Riposte on NPR Music's list of 50 Favorite Albums of 2010.