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STADIUM ARCADIUM:
A WILD WEEKND IN TAMPA

The game was a slog unless you’re a Brady or Bucs fan (or you hit the jackpot in the HITS office pool, as JJ Garcia did), but, as quarterback of the halftime show, The Weeknd went deep and scored.

In a series of elaborate set pieces, Abel Tesfaye reached back to his early days as an avant-garde Toronto provocateur. As this year's model of The Weekend—the persona that evolved from those noirish, enigmatic beginnings—he was cool and suave yet relatably human throughout the allocated 14 minutes.

He sang his ass off (no lip syncing required), and the climactic storming-the-field segment that morphed into “Blinding Lights” came off like an unlikely homage to Jordan Peele’s Us, with its oncoming phalanx of masked/bandaged, identically red-garbed zombies. The progression that freaky scene conjured up, the mood shape-shifting from mortal dread to ecstasy in an instant, played out with the precision of the Bucs offense on this February evening, as Tesfaye and his team visualized and soundtracked the feeling of uplift and relief everyone has been fervently hoping for.

If any doubt remained that “Blinding Lights” is the song/record of the year—and of right now—The Weeknd eradicated it on Super Bowl Sunday in front of tens of millions of eyewitnesses. By the time the game ended, it was back at #1 on iTunes, one of seven of his songs in the Top 10.

56TH ACM AWARDS: THE WINNERS
Maren! Luke! Carly! (4/19a)
NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS: Q2 EDITION
Who's next? (4/16a)
STREAMING SONGS:
POLO'S SOLO
"RAPSTAR" is accurately titled. (4/16a)
HITS LIST: RULES
FOR ENTRY
It's exclusive, but you're invited to come on in. (4/20a)
CHART FINAL:
TAYLOR'S VERSION
"Fearless" takes flight. (4/16a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
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