What music really wagged your tail this year, Pete? Part 2: The Also-Rans
Let me stress that these are all good records. Very good, even. If I were a different person or had had a different year they might very well be Top 10. But I am who I am and I had the year that I had and so, in no particular order:
Say, Pete, what music turned your crank this year? Part 1.1: Assorted tracks.
5. Beyonce, Grown Woman — Queen Bey called herself a feminist, which led some to posit that one cannot wear stripper outfits and advocate being a good wife and still call oneself a feminist. Queen Bey made a song where she announces “I’m a growwwwwwwn woman, I can do whatever I want” where a whiny voice echoes “But of course!” standing in for the lip service that often comes before criticism. The actual politics of the issue are very complicated and many smart women have written many smart things. I am a man and as such have no opinion to state, so instead I will listen to this about 50 times in a row because goddamn those drums do not stop and if you think something is coming to save you I have bad news. You will die buried under sass and you will love it.
4. Yelle L’Amour Parfait — You don’t have enough French pop in your life. This is a little slower than a lot of Yelle’s stuff but man alive it is a groooove. Don’t dance to this one, just let that little keyboard line ping around while the synths and the vocals pull you into a dense, comfortable place. You are safe and you are warm but I would advise against leaving. Just listen to the song again.
3. Tiny Dancer, Skies to Blue — I haven’t seen Tiny Dancer get an ounce of publicity stateside but it’s coming. This isn’t the single (from the 3-track EP) but it’s the best she’s released to-date. Here’s the thing: she’s out of her depth. The breath doubled up at the beginning, the drawn out vowels, it all plays at mournful in a way that doesn’t understand loss or mourning and all of a sudden I realize I’m listening to a teenager talk about love and magic because it is naive, because it does not contain hard lessons, because I couldn’t do that if I tried. Also: fearless rejection of SEO.
2. Ciara ft. Nicki Minaj, I’m Out — Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy songs by sexually assertive women who do not have time for your shit? Nicki’s verse is scored earth and will burn everything you thought you were to the ground, and Ciara will dance through, salting your earth. Listen to that “no-o-o-o-o-o-o,” how playful it is. She’s having fun, are you?
1. Betty Who, Somebody Loves You — This. This song. This is a fuckin’ Jam. Perfect throwback snyths. Perfect. But:This is not a love song. It’s a song about trying to love someone who isn’t hearing you. It is sad and scared and those synths just keep jamming because that’s all you can do, is just keep loving. If you do it loud enough and long enough, maybe it gets through. Maybe.
Next time: Albums that didn’t make the Top 10! Then: the Top 10!
Say, Pete: What music really knocked your socks off this year? Part 1: Assorted Tracks.
Hello friends! I am going to talk about music I enjoyed from this past calender year. I have a list, but I am wordy and I feel like just posting a list is no fun when I can extol the virtues of the things I’ve enjoyed at length. First up: tracks I enjoyed but don’t appear on any of the albums in my Top 10. Five today, five tomorrow. And so:
“We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.”—
The Marxist solution has failed, but the realities of marginalization and exploitation remain in the world, especially the Third World, as does the reality of human alienation, especially in the more advanced countries. Against these phenomena the Church strongly raises her voice. Vast multitudes are still living in conditions of great material and moral poverty. The collapse of the Communist system in so many countries certainly removes an obstacle to facing these problems in an appropriate and realistic way, but it is not enough to bring about their solution. Indeed, there is a risk that a radical capitalistic ideology could spread which refuses even to consider these problems, in the a priori belief that any attempt to solve them is doomed to failure, and which blindly entrusts their solution to the free development of market forces.
you tell ‘em, John Paul II. don’t let them think that lip service towards social justice is part of the pope’s job description
edited to add that the pope does seem like a good dude (called his newspaper delivery person personally to cancel after becoming pope, etc) but he’s still the pope and statements should be weighed accordingly
“As a result, many fans are torn. They love football, in part because of the human car wrecks, but they are repelled by the thought of enjoying a blood sport that brutalizes the minds and bodies of players.”—
no, we are unsettled. if we were repelled we would be in motion, heading away.
“One video, recorded on June 26, 2012, shows Sampson, clearly stocking coolers, being interrupted by MGPD Sgt. William Dunaske, who orders him to put his hands behind his back, and then handcuffs him, leads him out of the store and takes him to jail for trespassing.
More than once, Saleh has told police that Sampson is an employee and is not trespassing.
On that June arrest report, obtained by The Herald, police explained the trespass arrest, saying that Sampson was arrested for loitering outside the store when in fact the video, which has a date and time stamp, clearly shows him being handcuffed and arrested inside the store.”—
“6) The problem with criticizing [Dana] White is that anyone who knows enough about [mixed martial arts] and how he controls it to care is every bit as complicit as he is. I’ve talked to fighters who are clearly suffering the effects of having competed; I know that the sport is probably as dangerous as football or boxing, and perhaps more so, and all this makes me aware that spending money on it, or writing about it as anything other than an atavism, is indefensible save on some lines about how people can do what they like with their bodies as long as it’s consensual, which is true enough but also an evasion of the question, which isn’t about whether people have the right to do this but whether they should, and whether anyone should watch it. White is horrifyingly crass, but it’s hard to discern any real moral difference between his assertion that there will be a rematch and my willingness to watch one, and he at least has the virtue of sparing everyone any feigned concern.”—
this is by now a familiar move, one that I myself make in relation to meat, to football, to fighting, to fake fighting. “this thing is bad,” it goes, “I know it is bad and I am going to enjoy it anyway.” that is transparently insufficient, and I wonder how much longer I can go on doing it.
Earlier on Twitter I made reference to the following, from Michael Kimmel’s Guyland:
“One survey of twenty universities with Division 1 athletic programs found that male atheletes comprised 3.7 percent of the student population, but also comprised 19 percent of sexual assaults reported to the judicial affairs office.” (pp 234)
Kimmel’s source appears to have been a 1995 paper by Crosset, which you can find here. The whole thing is probably not free, but here is the abstract:
This article examines the relationship between collegiate athletic participation and reported sexual assaults at Division I institutions. The research is based on the police records at 20 institutions during the 1992-1993 school year and the records of 10 judicial affairs offices over a 3-year period from 1991 through 1993. Although the findings indicate that male student-athletes are overrepresented in reports of sexual assault in both locations, the differences between student-athletes and other male students are statistically significant only when it comes to the number of incidents reported to judicial affairs.
That last bit is not included in Kimmel’s work and makes interpretation of the statistic quite a bit more complicated.
“…nothing in our lives will change because I figure I’m about as happy as I’m going to get the way things are. So I refuse to wish Leo nice, or the dogs free, or my sister happy, or myself forgiven, or much of anything all that much different than it’s likely to get. I just won’t wish them, and then when they all don’t happen, it won’t mean a thing to me. If this is what I get in this world, I’ll take it. Love and squalor, but mostly love. I’ll take it and I’ll take it and I will not be sorry.”—
"Steal Small” by Caitlyn Horrocks, Prairie Schooner via The Pushcart Prize 2011 (via sorryeveryone)
reblogging myself because I thought I’d been stewing over this quote for almost two years but it turns out it’s almost three. the full piece is here and well worth your time but man alive, that paragraph up there doesn’t get much easier to hold on to.
"So Regis thinks he’s the father?" Povich asked. "Regis always thought there was a chance," said Christine Ponzi, a producer. "Does the kid look like Regis?" "It’s weird, because Antywine and Regis kind of look alike." Quirea’s story would be the subject of Act I. Regis, the best friend, would be introduced to start Act II, before being bundled offstage so that Antywine could come out unaware. "Switch-a-rooni," Faulhaber said. Povich glanced at his script. "Is it An-ton or An-twan?" "It’s An-twan," Ponzi said. (Povich: "I learned a long time ago that I like to pronounce the names correctly, the way people pronounce their names. I think that’s a matter of respect. Even though they call me ‘Murray.’")
From a piece on Maury Povich and his show. An interesting piece that almost does a number on my Maury-is-a-work theory, which I had really really hoped was the case. They mention Springer a fair number of times without acknowledging that much of what happened on Spring was a put-on, which makes me think that any similar level of chicanery with Maury would similarly go unacknowledged. (I am reasonably certain much of Springer was a work based on a number of second-hand tales from people who knew people who were on the show.) In any event, it’s an interesting enough read and if Maury isn’t a work I may be forced to retreat to the idea that the people who are on the show are so familiar and fond of the show’s tropes they willingly abide by them, in which case the show is still a work but a very different kind of work.
(also I don’t mean to post this without loling at Povich learning “a long time ago” that pronouncing people’s names correctly was a decent thing to do. How long, Maury?)
Why a fence you ask? Because of reasons, which are as follows: demarcations, unwanted elements, property values, taxes, building codes, civic duty, creepiness, and bears. Dear bears we built these fences for a reason. Dear reasons we do not care. Sincerely, the bears. The bears have learned to compose letters and nobody cares. Dear food let us eat you Dear ocean full of menace let us eat you Dear terrifying ocean full of menace we mean it Dear wolves we have already eaten you and now we sit here by the ocean wearing your torn-off faces like masks until the ocean full of menace gets the picture. Dear ocean full of menace we are right here. Under the moon. We are waiting.
3. The lone Republican senator to speak against [an anti-LGBT-discrimination bill] was Indiana’s Dan Coats. Coats, confusingly, argued that protecting workers from discrimination would mean discriminating against employers who wished to discriminate against those workers — the old intolerant to intolerance canard of the Stupid Brigade. Coats also said ENDA would “require employers to hire individuals who contradict their very most deeply held religious beliefs.”
Dan Coats is a white evangelical. Dan Coats just rose in the U.S. Senate and said that being anti-gay is, for white evangelicals, the “very most deeply held religious belief.” Forget the Bible. Forget the creeds. Forget loving God and your neighbor. Screw that Jesus guy. The “very most deeply held” belief, according to Dan Coats, is being anti-gay.
Also, if Boehner refuses to call a vote on the LGBT discrimination bill, which he very well may decide to do, it would provide a sad sort of coda to Roy Cohn’s line from Angels in America, describing homosexuals as “men who in 15 years of trying cannot get a pissant antidiscrimination bill through city council.”
"superstition is nothing but a healthy respect for the power of routine," I said as I took one single broccoli floret out of the freezer so as to have eaten broccoli before leaving the house for the evening.
"Yemen done recently form a trade pact with the United Arab Emirates," Johnson said, "and I been laid low ever since."
Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh has expressed a willingness to restore diplomatic relations with the Clarksdale, MS-born blues legend and vehemently denied that his nation has been seen with the U.A.E., that oil-rich country down Oman way. Saleh added that it is, in fact, Johnson who is sneaking around, implying that Johnson’s mojo was recently worked by Qatar. “When Qatar shakes its thing, Johnson is unable to keep his stuff still,” Saleh said. “May Allah have mercy on his two-timin’ soul.”
Johnson denied any involvement with Qatar and rejected Saleh’s offer for negotiations, saying that he is “too busy wishin’ I was anyone but me.”
“They have been having the same conversation
for a year now. But we are in a relationship, she says. I know, he
says. What will happen when you leave, she says. I’ll go back to my
life. What am I? she asks. You’re not my life, he says.”—Jill Bialosky, “An Essay in Two Voices” Harvard Review, Winter 2008
“Why do men feel threatened by women?” I asked a male friend of mine. (I love that wonderful rhetorical device, “a male friend of mine.” It’s often used by female journalists when they want to say something particularly bitchy but don’t want to be held responsible for it themselves. It also lets people know that you do have male friends, that you aren’t one of those fire-breathing mythical monsters, The Radical Feminists, who walk around with little pairs of scissors and kick men in the shins if they open doors for you. “A male friend of mine” also gives—let us admit it—a certain weight to the opinions expressed.) So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. “I mean,” I said, “men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power.” “They’re afraid women will laugh at them,” he said. “Undercut their world view.” Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, “Why do women feel threatened by men?” “They’re afraid of being killed,” they said.”—
Margaret Atwood, Second Words: Selected Critical Prose (1983), pg. 413. (via bydbach)
fuck yeah, full quote. also to anyone who ever says we’ve “dealt” with sexism, SHE WROTE THIS IN NINETEEN EIGHTY THREE.
so there’s this old notable experiment where they had an attractive person go up to 100 strangers (on a college campus, because science) and tell them “I’ve seen you around campus and I think you’re pretty attractive, would you like to [give me your phone number / go out some time / go back to my place and do it.]” something like 70 percent of the men say yes, let’s go do it (and a few more go “shit I have class but in like an hour?”). a good number of the women exchange numbers, some go for the date, and not a single one wants to go do it. Not one.
I have seen multiple professors of both genders explain these results via error management theory and evolutionary psych, which is to say that women say no because of differential parental investment. (women have to be more selective in mating because they depend on males for resources, or did during evolutionary time anyway, so they are predisposed to not go in for any old joe off the street.)
The above quote never comes up in class and it is all I can ever think about.
“What grief it is to love some people like your own
blood, and then to see them simply disappear;
to feel time bearing us away
one boxcar at a time.”—Tony Hoagland, “Two Trains,” from What Narcissism Means to Me (via zanmakesamove)
To watch him navigate rules, conventions, social mores is to see these things for what they are. Consider treating a puzzle as a barrier; they can be solved, yes, but consider that they might even simply be stepped around, if we are willing to let go of that which others would insist that we need. To show us this, we have him. He has only himself. Thankfully, for all of our sakes, that seems to be enough. So find speed! Literally let us find song in the hum of air over cracked car window, figuratively let us find more in the dance of ice in glass. Let us take comfort in the fact that fleeting pleasures may leave us but they can be chased down, again and again. Let us see not the limits in our lives but instead what he has shown us: that we are alive, and we should move.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about Bangerz is how middle-of-the-road it is. Her videos and performances may have made her the most talked-about celebrity of this half of 2013, but you certainly wouldn’t guess it from the music. Bangerz, Cyrus’s fourth full-length effort, is not a bad…
This is a pretty good rundown of Bangerz, as I saw the album, although I would be more negative on it just due to how big of an issue I think it is when something is boring, when someone doesn’t try.
On the flip side, I really, really, really wanted to like Bangerz. It’s nice to know that I’m not just listening to everything with my forebrain and making calculated choices about what I do and don’t like based on what I think is going to be the most fun to yell about on twitter.
i’m watching an old episode of dr. quinn, medicine woman (because Mr. Rogers is a guest star) and it is one of the ones where the titular dr. quinn is pregnant. sully has made a crib for the baby and dr. quinn is talking to the woman who writes the town newspaper about how she’s worried she doesn’t have a gift for her own baby. instead of something like “uh lady you’re carrying the thing. epidurals haven’t been invented yet, what you’re about to do is gift enough, you know?” the woman looks at her and goes ”well you have plenty of time.”