2021, Music

Loving in Stereo (2021) by Jungle

There’s a long tradition in British dance music (and dance-adjacent music) of releasing albums with lots of different singers. (I guess it’s also a thing in European dance music and it might be a thing in American dance music, too, I just don’t know that as well.) On these records, it often feels like the …

2021, Music

The Future (2021) by Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats

The first song sounds like someone doing a Bob Dylan impersonation but then shouting into the red in order to sound like he’s not, over music that is only partially influenced by Dylan. And, when I first heard it, I thought “Uh oh.” But then the next track is a very, very different soul track …

2021, Music

Gold-Diggers Sound (2021) by Leon Bridges

’90s R&B was among my least favourite genres growing up. And smooth soul in general, I have never been a fan of though I am actually a pretty big fan of soul music. I am softening as I get older but I’ve just never had time for polished soul music. I’ve never really gotten it. …

2021, Music

Glow On (2021) by Turnstile

At the very beginning, I was interested. And then the riff came in and it was so generic. But not only was it generic, the shouting reminded me of too many other bands and the sound of the instruments and mix… well, someone else noted it reminded them of the ’90s and did it ever. …

2020, Music

Serpentine Prison (2020) by Matt Berninger

Years ago, I listened to a few albums by some over-hyped middle-of-the-road rock band and deemed them over-hyped and middle-of-the-road. I thought that band was The National, which is why I haven’t paid much attention to the all the hype they get. But I really don’t think it was. I can find no reviews written …

2020, Music

The New Abnormal (2020) by The Strokes

Timing is funny. Imagine naming your record this (I assume they did before it was released) and then, right before you release it, a once in a century pandemic hits. I wouldn’t be surprised if a bunch of people thought it was about life during the pandemic based on the title.

2022, Movies

Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb (2022, Lizzie Gottlieb)

This is an engaging and fascinating documentary about the unique relationship between the author Robert Caro and his editor Robert Gottlieb, who worked on 5.5 books together over something like 45 years. I somehow didn’t know Gottlieb and only knew of Caro because I had heard of The Power Broker so this was all new …

2020, Music

King’s Disease (2020) by Nas

I first listened to Nas’ debut after being told by friends and the culture at large for years that he was one of the greatest rappers of all time. I then didn’t listen to anything else both because I don’t normally listen to hip hop and because I had some weird, rather hilarious idea that …

2020, Music

Punisher (2020) by Phoebe Bridgers

I remember I suddenly started hearing about this Phoebe Bridgers with little context, just started hearing her name in the ether. And then at some point she really blew up, crossing over into my world of not paying any attention to contemporary music. I started hearing her name everywhere and started seeing her covering songs …

2020, Music

Circles (2020) by Mac Miller

The (first, legitimate) posthumous release by a deceased artist is always complicated. There is always going to be a group of people who feel compelled to love the record because their hero is dead. How close that group’s appraisal is the reality is where it gets complicated. There is a weird spectrum of reactions here. …

2020, Music

The Neon Skyline (2020) by Andy Shauf

I really do not like Andy Shauf’s voice. This is the second of three albums I’m listening to where he is the lead singer and I just do not like. His voice remind’s me of Van Dyke Parks’, not in tenor but how they both sound like they are trying to hid something from the …

2020, Music

Women in Music Pt. III (2020) by HAIM

I was going to write “No I haven’t listened to Women in Music Pt. I or Pt. 2 and then I remembered I had listened to Days are Gone when it came out and hated it. This is what I wrote in 2013: “Also, I listened to Haim. Once. I couldn’t even make it to …

2020, Music

While the World Was Burning (2020) by Saint Jhn

This guy immediately put me off by dropping a vowel from his nom de plume. What is with dropping the vowel(s)? Why do people think it’s creative? I get that this guy likely did this before dropping vowels became an epidemic in branding but it’s, um, really dumb. Now, I’m mostly kidding about holding this …

2020, Music

Folklore (2020) by Taylor Swift

For most of Taylor Swift’s career, despite her ubiquity, I was only sort of aware of her. First, she was a country star and I don’t listen to contemporary country. Then she was a pop star at a time when I mostly managed to avoid Top 40 radio (and radio in general). For a while …

2020, Music

Before Love Came to Kill Us (2020) by Jessie Reyez

There are singers who use cursive singing sometimes and then there’s Jessie Reyez. I have long struggled to think cursive singing is even singing but I have been trying – honestly, I have been trying – to accept that cursive singing is just a newish approach to singing that has become popular. It’s no different …

2020, Music

Run the Jewels 4 (2020)

It’s rare when I have a visceral reaction to hip hop. Almost always, I listen to it and think about it intellectually, I try to understand why someone would like it. I pay attention to the production most of all because that’s where I feel like I can hear the artistry better. (Just because I …