Lauren’s Etude to Eden: Good Omens, “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy,” and “39”

Now I will admit, despite being in the ideal target demographic, I never got into Superwholock when I was younger. For any unaware of this unfortunate phenomenon, Superwholock is the fan base created for fans of the shows Supernatural, Dr. Who, and Sherlock. All my friends in middle school seemed to be enamored in these shows, but I somehow dodged the angsty content and media that was perfect for me at this stage in my life. I really should have had the classic “emo” stage. I cannot elaborate on why I did not. However, the internet has brought to my attention that there is a new age of “Superwholock,” and I honestly cannot disagree with them. This new set of shows feels very reminiscent of the themes that enamored many back in the day and overall encapsulates the same feral energy found on Tumblr at its peak when those shows were still airing. The new age of “Superwholock” has presented itself in the following programs: Good Omens, What We Do in the Shadows, and Our Flag Means Death. I can say that while I may not have given in to the first wave of this occurrence, the second time around I am not so lucky. These three shows all come together in such a way that gives a sense of progression in this age, instead of the frantic grasping for scraps that people had to engage in during the age of Superwholock. While many people rallied around shows like Supernatural, Dr. Who, and Sherlock due to their potential for representation of more inclusive relationships and people’s ability to relate to their characters, people now rally behind shows like Good Omens, What We Do in the Shadows, and Our Flag Means Death due to their explicit representation offered in an age that is significantly more accepting.

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Jason’s Metal Library: Xanadu

To immediately get this out of the way, I want to state that this blog may have metal in the name, but we will discuss classic and progressive rock. As such, let’s begin by taking a look at “Kubla Khan” – a poem written in 1797 and published in 1816 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In Coleridge’s preface to “Kubla Khan”, he notes that this poem was created after an opium-influenced dream after reading about the capital of the Yuan Dynasty, led by the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan. After waking from the dream, Coleridge went to work on writing the poem but was interrupted. Instead of completing a 200-300 lined epic, the interruption caused him to forget the lines he had planned, resulting in the 54-line poem we know today. The band Rush created a song based on this piece, called “Xanadu”. This 11-minute epic takes concepts from the story and it comes together as a grand merge of both literature and music.

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Lauren’s Etude to Eden: Tess of the d’Urbervilles and “Eden”

Welcome back, everyone! This week we are taking a look back to a classic, one in which I managed to find a song that I personally think is my best pairing yet. Now, I have a lot of opinions on this work, and I am going to hopefully manage to reign in my impulses to rant on these various topics. I personally have no one else who has read this book yet to bounce these ideas off of, so these thoughts have been festering for a good while. With that aside, the novel I will be turning my attention to this week is Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. This is a read I do not encourage one to binge in one sitting, because it will give you whiplash with all of the events that go down. I say this from experience, from the perspective of a master procrastinator that read this book and analyzed it all in one day for a school project I had put off for months. SPOILER ALERT: I chose this book out of the many available mainly due to my awareness of the ending in which, spoiler, Tess dies. I largely chose my books based on dramatic endings because I wanted to see how the events of the story unfolded to lead to unfortunate fates. However, I had no idea of the events of the rest of this book, and it would be an understatement to say I was shocked at the time, as the plot provides hit after hit. The song I have chosen to pair with this book I think presents said events in a view that matches with my own and breaks down Tess’s story into the true horror it became. That song would be “Eden” by Sara Bareilles.

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Lauren’s Etude to Eden: The Love Hypothesis and “My Heart is Buried in Venice.”

Alright everyone, get ready for a doozy of an update because this week I have thrown everything to the wind. I like to think of myself as pretty organized and too anxious not to have a properly formed plan and schedule, but the impulsivity kicks in every now and then to ruin it and this will be a direct result of that. Because this week I actually read a book. I genuinely cannot remember when I last finished reading a story I chose of my own volition, but I binge-read a book in 24 hours in the middle of this week and it has taken over all thought processes. The plan was originally to write about another classic – and I know you will all be so bummed to hear I am no longer doing that – but instead, I have pushed the whole line-up back to discuss this novel which has taken up the residence of the tiny plot of free real estate that is my mind: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. I am laughing as I type this that I enjoyed this novel so much, especially after learning about how it is another example of mass-produced fanfiction from the internet. However, the fact that it reads so much like fanfiction really kept me reading, with its weird quippy lines and typical weird, unlikely situations. Plus, this baby has ALL the tropes. It really is a culmination of what writing on the internet has come to, and I love that those who put themselves out there on public platforms so long ago are getting recognition in the actual world of literature.

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Jason’s Metal Library: The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Music often tells a story, whether it is directly through lyrics, hidden meanings, or through the composition and sounds of the instruments, there is always a story being told. Songwriting and fiction go together perfectly because of this. This basis is what will be assessed, seeing how musicians adapt the stories of authors to pay tribute and add on the compelling story being told. For our first analysis, let’s look at “The Murders in The Rue Morgue” – a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and a song by the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. First written in 1841, Edgar Allan Poe’s short story captivated audiences, as it was one of the first modern stories written about a fictional detective which eventually inspired the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. C. Auguste Dupin is the French detective that is the narrator’s companion and main character of the short story. Dupin is not a professional, but his supreme intellect, imagination, and ability to put himself in the mind of the criminal are the talents that allow him to solve cases. 

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Lauren’s Etude to Eden: Wuthering Heights and “Sick of Losing Soulmates”

Hello all! My name is Lauren Lotarski and I am here to write about literature and songs, but it is not as simple as it sounds. See, I have this large playlist I have been cumulating for about two years now (I am definitely the type of person who just maintains one playlist over time rather than creating new ones. I have been told this is weird, but alas, I cannot comprehend organizing more than one set of songs). My main objective of this playlist was to bring together some songs that all gave me a similar calming vibe that could help me destress, and generally have slower, nicer sounds that I could calmly breath along to; I call it “Eden” (This is heavily contradictory to many of the songs included, but that is besides the point). Anyways, a lot of these songs have come to me through media I have indulged in over time, and when I listen to these songs, I get the happy feeling and thoughts I had while originally consuming it. Many of these mediums were books I was made to read in my classes, or books that became so much a part of me that I looked through every corner of the internet to find content that could bring me new, refreshing takes on already great material. And through this collection of music and emotions, I have concluded I have plenty of material to write a blog on, so here I am, and let us see where this goes together. I hope you see as much wonderment in these combinations as I do.

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Putting Tracks on the Map with Trish: Lucky Daye

New Orleans singer and songwriter David Debrandon Brown—better known by his stage name, Lucky Daye—is becoming another staple in the contemporary R&B sphere with his striking voice and experimental instrumentals.

Secular music was something Brown was restricted from listening to since his mother was part of a religious cult. Even so, Brown taught himself different melodies by singing lines from children’s books and Bible verses. Both Brown and his mother fled the cult and their New Orleans home due to Hurricane Katrina. And from there, Brown was able to expose himself to classic R&B artists at the age of eight. His music draws inspiration from the likes of Lauryn Hill, Prince, Rick James, and Stevie Wonder.

His EPs I and II illustrate a vast array of moods that Brown is capable of singing about in regards to romance. In I, Brown’s debut single “Roll Some Mo” and other tracks such as “Extra” and “Late Night” reverberate the same psychedelic funkiness as Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. “Ready For Love” is a more stripped approach of Brown’s voice, accompanied by softer instrumentals to accentuate the rawness of the song.

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Michael Lane’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

Banner credited to Michael Lane

Thought I wouldn’t make it this year, huh? This is really (extremely!!!) late, but I truly enjoy writing and crafting these lists more than you could probably understand, so I had to return for the fourth consecutive year to rank my 10 favorite albums of the year.

I am extremely thankful for a lot of things that this past year has given me, which of course includes all of the superb music that soundtracked such a memorable 365 days. Below you will find the 15 artists and their respective albums that impacted me the most this year, each one an owner to certain months or even full seasons of 2018. These are the albums that surprised me. These are the albums that I listened and re-listened to more than any others this year. These are the standout albums of 2018 in my eyes. As always, my hope with this list is that you will discover some new artists you will come to love just as much as I do. Happy listening!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Twenty-One Pilots – Trench
  • The Voidz – Virtue
  • Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer
  • MGMT – Little Dark Age
  • Public Access T.V. – Street Safari

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Basement Dwelling: “Some Rap Songs” by Earl Sweatshirt

On my first listen of Earl Sweatshirt’s third album, Some Rap Songs, I thought a lot about that title. Some Rap Songs. It struck me as sort of commentary on how so many people consume music in 2018. Here’s this rapper that has been buzzed about for years. Here’s his album. Listen to it, get it or don’t, and move on to the next thing. What was it? Some rap songs. It’s a notion portrayed in the cover art too; a blurry, borderline frightening image of Earl is front and center — an image that renders the creator of this album nearly faceless. In my mind, it all fits, being brilliantly calculated and serving a specific purpose; an analogy for this record as a whole.

This was not a record meant to be released in this time, but couldn’t have come out at a better one. If you think the intention was to just deliverer “some rap songs,” you’d be mistaken. No. instead what’s been presented here is a masterclass in album making, Earl Sweatshirt’s finest work to date. and one of the most forward-thinking and boundary-pushing rap records of this decade.

You probably know the story already: Earl, a near mythological figure in rap already at only 24 years of age, has been in the spotlight since his early teens. Born Thebe Kgositsile, Earl made his start in the Tyler, The Creator-founded hip-hop coalition, Odd Future. He was sent away to a boarding school in Samoa for at-risk teens right after the release of his first mixtape, only then to make a triumphant return with his first proper record, Doris, in 2013, and following that up with the brilliant, now cult classic I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside in 2015. I Don’t Like Shit marked the signs of a significant stylistic shift and the start of a new era for Earl.

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Basement Dwelling: “Oxnard” by Anderson Paak

The cover for Anderson Paak’s latest album, Oxnard, immediately gives the impression of a film. “Starring Anderson Paak,” it reads, much like the marquee on a movie poster. And like a movie poster, we see an array of images all pertaining to Paak’s life. These include images of his son, two of the members of his band The Free Nationals, as well as Paak himself, standing before a large crowd next to the most glaring inclusion, which is hip-hop legend Dr. Dre. All of these images are portrayed in a cloud of smoke, as Paak stands firmly there, arms open, assuredly singing something uplifting and life-affirming.

This is the poster to the film that is Anderson Paak, Oxnard being the third film of the trilogy — and the biggest one to date due to his meteoric rise in the public consciousness in the last two years. Keeping this in mind, despite my hype for this record and my love of Paak’s previous works, I still had my apprehensions about this project. I wondered if this newfounded backing and production by Dre and his label Aftermath would result in a production too large with stakes so high that it might suck the soul out of what makes Paak so great — the soul that was allowed to freely reign on a record like Malibu. Would Oxnard be marred by tracks lacking the songwriting ability that made his previous works so instantly lovable and memorable?

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