All posts filed under: Music

Beyoncé & Kendrick Lamar: Politicizing Popular Art

American popular culture, specifically from the mid-60s to mid-70s, was highly politicized, critical, and urgent. Calls to action and societal critiques were common in forms of expression created and disseminated within mainstream youth culture. The sheer abundance and popularity of politicized art meant that both creators and consumers were interested in engaging with immediate problems. The imperative for change was palpable. But this sense of American political urgency seemed to diminish in the 1980s, with the election of President Reagan and the establishment of an overpowering neo-conservative ideology. From the 1980s – 2010s, political expression was still a part of mainstream American pop culture, and is exemplified in the work of N.W.A, Shepard Fairey, Michael Moore, and countless others. My intention is not to discount these works, but to say that I am hopeful that America’s youth will collectively become more political again, with the same urgency that characterized the 60s & 70s. Which brings me to Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. Already this year, we have experienced two particularly powerful political moments in music: Beyoncé’s release of her music video for “Formation,” and Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy’s performance. …

Study Tunes

With finals coming up, I thought it would be a good time to share some of my favorite study tunes. Some people enjoy studying in silence, while others prefer the accompaniment of music. I, for one, need music to study; ideally lyric-less, groovy tunes. So here are a few songs I like to get my study-on with: What do you like to listen to when you study? Let me know!

Vertigo’s Magnificent Score

I’m the type of person that can get a bit obsessive at times. Movies, TV shows, food (currently avocados), places; you name it, I can obsess over it. But music – whether it’s a song, artist, or album – has always been featured in the ultimate realm of my mind’s obsessions. In these bouts of preoccupation, I may replay the same single song dozens of times in a day. By the end of that day (or days) I feel overwhelmed by my fixation, but with each replay I continue to awaken with a jolt of comfort and happiness. In short, it’s a joyful sort of overwhelming. If I’m listening to something on repeat it’s because it moves me in indescribable ways. My current obsession has been the score to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film, Vertigo. It has come to the point where the music lives outside of Hitchcock’s world and is now a part of mine. I’ve listened to the entire soundtrack far more times than I’ve seen the film, and although I think Vertigo is spectacular, my love for Bernard Herrmann’s score reaches a place far beyond it. …

My High School Playlist

After perusing my iTunes library, which I honestly haven’t used much since high school, I was instantly hit with an intense wave of nostalgia. Music played a humongous role in my high school experience, whether I was going to concerts, making mix-CDs for friends, or brushing up on my crush’s favorite bands. All of the songs I listed in this playlist take me back to that awkward, exciting time. Here’s my ultimate high school playlist: What songs make you nostalgic?