Tag Archives: music

Music to Get You Up and Get You Through It!

What to do when you’re cooped up inside? Across the globe, our regular routines have been completely decimated. For a lot us, that might mean the simple fact of moving your body around or stimulating your mind is happening at a drastically reduced rate. I’m sure we’re all desperate to latch onto something to keep us saneBlessedly, we live in a time of ample streaming, and with a simple few clicks we can get a book or a movie or a TV show up and running within a matter of seconds. Truly, I would like to apologize to technology for anything bad I may have said about it in the past. So yes, we can get all the sit-on-the-couch content our hearts desire, but what about something to get you moving? Personally, what’s keeping me from going stir-crazy is music. Is there a better feeling than finding a song that vibes with your very soul, or makes you want to jump around in your bedroom, or maybe even inspires you artistically? Luckily, Hoopla gives you access to all sorts of music to stream on your computer or a mobile device—and all you need is your library card. And bonus: the per-month checkout limit has been raised from 5 titles to 10! All the better to get your groove on.  

I have been listening to a few albums on repeat this quarantine season (sorry, neighbours!). First on the list: the masked cowboyOrville PeckIf you haven’t heard of him, you’re welcome. I always forget that I actually really like country music, because most of it is just so….ughBut when a country song slaps, it slaps (I’m still waiting on Beyoncé to make a country album ever since she put out “Daddy Lessons”). Peck’s version of country is a far cry from whatever passes as a hit in Nashville these days—in fact, it’s practically a genre reset. A callback to when country wasn’t just about trucks and beer (or, if you’re a woman, killing your husband) but was instead the refuge of outsiders: outlaws, rebels, misfits, wayward souls. It was Johnny Cash singing to prisoners, and Willie Nelson championing marijuana in the red states. Peck, then, is a return to formand his version of “outsider” is being an openly gay crooner with a heightened, Dolly Parton-esque camp aesthetic and a voice that could melt butterHis music has all the twang and warble of old country, but is softened by influences like new wave synth and dreamy shoegaze. Think of The Smiths sung by Elvis, with lyrics by Lana Del Rey, and you’re halfway to Peck. Never seen without his cowboy hat and mask, he’s the sort of enigmatic figure that inspires immediate and intense devotion—I know, because I’m living it.  

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The Return of Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell.pngLana Del Rey is a study in opposition. Simultaneously manufactured and authentic, out of time and very much present. When she appeared on the scene in 2011 with her YouTube breakouts “Blue Jeans” and “Video Games”, the internet seemed split down the middle on what to make of her. Who was this mysterious crooning woman and where did she come from? Her perfectly-honed, old-world glam persona wasn’t like anything else at the time: the top artists of the year were Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Adele in her “Rolling in the Deep” phase (special shout-out to the #2 song of the year: “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. What were we doing in 2011?). Lana maintained her persona, despite the internet quickly uncovering her true identity as Elizabeth Grant from New York City—even going so far as to claim she never had plastic surgery (brazen lie). She was an alluring and exasperating figure, and her image overshadowed her music. Not that we’re in an especially kind environment now, but in 2011 it was perfectly acceptable to rip female artists to shreds without a care in the world. We did it as a pastime. And Lana’s refusal to be cowed by criticism was both frustrating and—in hindsight—exactly what the world needed.  

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In Praise of Pop Music

It took until my late 20s to admit to myself something I’d been trying to deny for years: I love pop music. Yes, it’s true. And I refuse to be ashamed any longer! When I was a teenager, I ran in the rock/indie crowd. We worshipped either male-fronted bands or manic pixie dream girls. It was patently not acceptable for me to admit that I was secretly grooving to whatever Lady Gaga hit was out at the time. Well, guess what? Lady Gaga is an Oscar winner now, and rock has—for the first time in history—fallen to the conquering hip hop superstars 

Since pop music is mainly associated with women, it’s never taken as seriously as traditionally male genres. It’s met at best with flippancy and at worst disdain. And for a long time, this was my attitude as well. But I realize now that pop can be all the things normally associated with the more “serious” genres: progressive, subversive, political, empowering. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to me. I mean, if we jump back in time 20 years you’ll see me making up Spice Girls routines in the living room, yelling “girl power!!” and exalting the power of female friendships. I didn’t know it at the time, but the seeds of feminism were being planted, and all through Top 40 smash hits. But it took years of undoing whatever damage internalized misogyny had done to me, to see pop music not just as some silly, fluffy nonsense but as an important addition to the music landscape.  

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