"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


The Perfect Listen: Fiona Apple As A Lesson In Irrational Music Rituals

Jun 29, 2012
Originally published on June 29, 2012 12:13 pm

On June 19, a week and a half ago, Fiona Apple released a brand new album, her first in seven years. The entire album had been available for streaming by NPR Music for a week and a half by then. Three days later, my copy arrived in the mail. It hasn't left my desk since.

I still haven't listened to it.

Mind you, I've been looking forward to The Idler Wheel... more than maybe any other album this year. Her stunning Boston show in March floored me; it was unquestionably the best concert I've seen in five years, and it took me half a day to recover to a point where I could even listen to other music. Sure, the album's reviews have been breathless and hagiographic, but the prospect of it falling short of expectations – which is always a possibility, though similar reports about her recent performances turned out to be right on target – isn't the issue.

What has kept me from just putting the damn thing in my CD player and pressing "play" is a bit of what I fully accept is compulsive irrationality: I want to hear it so much that I want to make sure that conditions are exactly right the very first time I listen to it, and conditions have not been exactly right. And that is, in a word, stupid.

And I know stupid, because I have my own first-listen music-listening rituals. The first time I play an album, I have to listen to it straight through, with no interruptions, no pausing, no "I'll get to the rest of it later"; if it's 60 minutes long, then I'd better be sure I can carve out an hour for it. If there are lyrics in the liner notes, I'll read along as it plays. What I want, really, is to be able to give it my full, undivided attention.

But for all the romanticizing of the first time we hear an album or a song, that's almost never the moment of its crucial impact. That's not really how music works, not if it can actually hold up beyond that first listen. Unlike books, movies or plays (and television, to a lesser extent), recorded music is consumed repetitively. It's usually anywhere between the second and fifth listen that fragments that maybe weren't evident on first glance suddenly come at you or your brain makes a connection that could only have been made indirectly. That's when a song start to mean something to you.

Of course, there's something to be said about hearing a song and instantly connecting to it; that experience is just as valid as any, and it's certainly happened to me countless times. But that's precisely an experience, a one-off. The songs that are important to us are more like objects or possessions. They aren't bound by any one moment but instead continue to exist as time trundles ahead.

That's why anybody who says that they don't get the appeal of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" after hearing it only once or twice – and such creatures do exist – is sort of missing the point. "Call Me Maybe" is, 100%, not a first-listen song; that's not nearly enough for it to burrow into your skull and lay its eggs. It demands repetition to crystallize its appeal. There are valid reasons not to like it, but a single exposure is insufficient grounds.

Roger Ebert tells the story of an old professor of his who wished he could read Romeo And Juliet again for the first time. Me, I wish I could hear Big Star's Radio City again for the third time. The initial listen was a jolt, to be sure. But there was just too much information to sort through. By the time spin #3 came around, I'd begun sketching out the contours of a map in my head and everything was starting to come into focus. I finally started realizing what I'd stumbled across. I didn't know what it was yet; I still don't, entirely. But I knew then that it was something important, which I only got a hint of the first time I heard it.

This is, I hasten to mention, all the more reason why my emphasis on listening to Apple's album properly right away is dumb. All I'm doing is postponing the all-important subsequent listens by refusing to commence the initial one. But sometimes we can be weirdly compulsive about the things we love, to the point where we can choose to engage them by deliberately holding off that engagement until such time as we see fit.

Of course, I can't hold out forever. If my own self-established perfect-first-listen conditions don't materialize soon, I'll have to make them happen. So it won't be long. I hear The Idler Wheel... is great. I can't wait to hear it for the second time.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.