A collection of some of my publications (movie reviews, essays, book excerpts, year-end lists, etc.) from August to December, 2017.
I maintain a Google document going each year that keeps track of the best music, movies, books, and TV I've enjoyed that year. Sometimes I even take note of best restaurants and food experiences. As we close the book on 2017 and as I prepare to create a blank 2018 Google document in a few days, here's a look at what made the cut in my favorites of 2017.
A few months ago I noticed that every hipster bar, coffeeshop and eatery I entered was playing a very specific type of music: songs that were good between 1995-2010. Hipster music and pop hits of the recent past. Early Arcade Fire. TLC's "No Scrubs." The Fugees. "Ghetto Superstar." Radiohead's "In Rainbows." I never heard any current music being played. It's as if the proliferation of good music in the Spotify Age has rendered it exhausting to even try to filter through the glut
“I Saw Christ Crying in Hermès.” That’s the name of the new single from little-known indie artist, Slow Dakota (real name: PJ Sauerteig), a Fort Wayne, Indiana-based singer/songwriter who often explores themes of religion in his lyrics. Listen to the song here. If you haven’t heard of Slow Dakota or if his style isn’t particularly palatable to you, that’s OK. It’s sort of the point actually.
It seems that every year there is more and more good music; perhaps even too much good music. I don’t know the reason for it, but I’m not complaining. Well, one complaint: Narrowing down favorites is harder than ever! The following is my somewhat arbitrary (likely to change) ranking of my favorite 25 albums and favorite 25 songs of 2015.
In the Christianity of my childhood, Easter Sunday was Cadbury eggs, brunch and celebratory church services full of rollicking hymns like “Up from the grave He arose.” In my adolescence and twenty-something years I became fond of celebrating Good Friday, a part of Easter weekend largely bypassed in my childhood. With its mournful tone and quieter focus on the cross, Good Friday was almost more compelling to my melancholy self than the joy of Easter.
For the past few years on this blog I have spent much of the month of December compiling best-of lists of various genres (books, movies, music, food). This year I've decided to list all my favorites of the year in one place. In addition to simply being a fun activity for me to reflect back on the year, I hope the following also serves the purpose of putting some good recommendations on your radar. Below are, in order, my favorite books, films, documentaries, TV shows, albums, songs and food experiences of 2014. What were your favorites of 2014?
My picks for the best albums and songs of 2013.
It's December, which means one thing for a guy like me: list making. I'm starting my "best of the year" series on my blog with my picks for best albums of the year. Here they are: my top ten list and honorable mentions for the best music of 2011. (You can listen to all 15 hours of this music on Spotify here).
It's December 1st, so therefore officially OK to listen to Christmas music! Below is my Advent playlist for this year's season. You can listen to the whole thing on Spotify here. Enjoy!
Why is Coldplay hipster kryptonite? Why have most self-respect indie kids long abandoned Coldplay to the realm of painfully saccharine, popular radio-ready mainstream bilge? I think the key words are “popular” and “mainstream.” The gist of it is simple: Coldplay is too popular. Too many normal people know about Coldplay and like them.
In the spirit of change, of Autumn, and of good music, I put together a fall playlist of new music. Listen to it on Spotify here (if you're on Spotify), or take a look at the tracklist below. It's all music that has come out in 2011, and most of it in the last 3 months.
If the abiding truth of reality is that everyone in the world (including me) is exactly as they ought to be—every last broken, frail, misguided, treacherous one of us—then the world is a far darker place, and virtuous existence a far more futile endeavor, than any of us previously imagined.
It's that time of year again. Best of the year time. I'm starting with albums, because I doubt any new release between now and 2011 will disrupt the top ten I've been compiling in my mind the last few weeks (I'll be exclusively listening to Christmas music for the next few weeks in any case). So here are my picks, in reverse order.
It's the second week of Advent, 2010, and I've put together a playlist of songs that feel appropriate to this moment. They are songs that represent both the darkness of the world and the power of the penetrating light. They are songs about waiting, hoping, and dwelling in the now-and-not-yet. I'll be listening to them with plenty of hot cider and a hopefully quieted soul, beckoning Emmanuel to come and ransom this captive creation.
But auto-tune is just one of many digital enhancement tools in the air-brush arsenal of the Photoshop world. The irony of auto-tune's disposition as the joke of Y2K remix culture is that it's really no worse than any of the other digital tools we have at our disposal to, for example, take clips from TV and turn them into re-edited assemblages ripe for viral video glory.
The following are songs that are quiet, longing, nostalgic, and unsettled. That is, they are songs that feel appropriate for fall.
I pulled out 10 CDs that were either my most treasured or most listened-to recordings of the period from about 1995-2000 (more or less my high school years). They are the albums that comforted me most in the tumultuous adolescent years, the albums that taught me how to truly love music.