Music

Punk is not immune to dudes lecturing women about womanhood. Truth is, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and well, actuallys.

Playlists are a dime a dozen these days. Cheap and charming, updated by algorithm or "curated by hand," the grab bag anchors this post-album, post-download, post-mixtape moment. Still, we don't think you'll find anything quite like this list of 100 songs. Beyonce's here; so is Bowie. But in between, you'll find songs spread across a dozen genres and all the spaces in between, picked by NPR Music's station hosts, staff and contributors to represent the best of the first half of 2016. Songs we couldn't stop listening to, and couldn't wait to share.

Do we even need July through December? For a year just reaching its midpoint, 2016 has already been the most. Heartbreaking, surprising, idiotic, ecstatic, life-giving, exhausting. With apologies to whatever happened in the first week of January, the wild mood swings of the last six months started for music lovers the weekend when David Bowie released his final masterpiece, Blackstar, and then disappeared into eternity two days later, leaving us all gasping.

Born in Sao Paolo and now living in Los Angeles, singer Carla Hassett finds musical inspiration in each place she's called home. Hassett, who toured with Sergio Mendes and Billy Idol and lent her voice to the soundtracks of the Rio movies, has a new solo album called +Blue (pronounced "more blue"). It's American and Brazilian with a modern twist, Hassett says: For instance, she sets Carmen Miranda's "South American Way" in a minor key and swaps the original's pep for a sultry summer swing.

The band Winger is perhaps best remembered for its late 1980s rock anthems, like "Seventeen." Its musicians could play. They wrote catchy songs, and of course, they had the hair. MTV viewers ate it up.

"Me being the Peter Pan of rock that I was, doing double pirouettes with my bass and you know, a real ham in the camera, it took off," says Kip Winger, the group's lead singer and bassist, who formed the band after touring with Alice Cooper in the late '80s.

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Imagine being able to text your favorite music artists at their personal phone number. You might be able to tell them how much you loved their latest single. You might be able to tell them about yourself and later receive a happy birthday wish from them.

This is exactly what Grammy-nominated rapper and singer Ryan Leslie is doing with his company, SuperPhone. The app lets him manage conversations with 54,000 of his friends, family, fans and colleagues from his personal phone.

Keyboardist and composer Bernie Worrell, who helped shape the sound of the band Parliament-Funkadelic and influenced countless artists across a wide range of genres, died Friday at 72.

Worrell announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer.

Musician and composer Frank Zappa was a lot of things: biting satirist, ferocious critic of societal norms, outspoken defender of free speech. He saw himself as not only an entertainer, but also a serious composer. And he saw no contradiction in being all of these things at once, to the consternation and confusion of the many journalists who interviewed him.

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