My Favorite Music of 2019

I am still working on finding the right language to use when talking about music, but I still find the best way to share why I love a song or album is to just present you with it. Here are some tracks I listened to a lot this year. There’s some pop music you’ve probably heard mixed with a lot of tracks you probably missed. I’ve also included a few music videos I enjoyed as well.

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Music Review – Primal Heart|Kimbra

Primal Heart|Kimbra (2018)
Produced by Kimbra & John Congleton

In the realm of popular art, there is a talent: fame ratio, meaning there are artists whose level of fame is inflated when compared to their actual ability. In reverse, as is the case with Kimbra, there are artists whose level of talent is astronomical, but due to the ebb and flow of studio trends, they never reach the level of fame they deserve. This is Kimbra’s third studio album but you probably already know her. It won’t be from her solo work but from her duet with Gotye “Somebody That I Used to Know.” I’ve been listening to her since around 2011 when I stumbled across music videos on Vimeo for her first album, which was only out in New Zealand at the time. Like the other artists I’ve reviewed, Weyes Blood and Toro y Moi, her music is richly nostalgic yet progressive. It takes sounds we know and moves them forward into a new space. Her third album, Primal Heart, was released in 2018 and continues a trend of eclectic tones and themes.

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Music Review – Boo Boo|Toro y Moi

Boo Boo|Toro y Moi (2016)
Produced by Toro y Moi | Carpark

Listening to Boo Boo by Toro y Moi is a profoundly nostalgic experience, taking me back to childhood in the late 80s/early 90s. There is a particular sound he manages to capture from the past while staying fresh and relevant to modern tastes. He recalls the 1980s R&B of Al Jarreau, mixed with the Miami sound, but never playing as cheesy, but respectful of the roots of what he’s trying to make. The dreamy synthpop keyboards float the listener away to a white sands beach on the Atlantic, likely somewhere around Toro y Moi’s old stomping grounds of South Carolina. The snappy drum loops capture that long ago feeling of childhood for people in my generation.

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Music Review – Titanic Rising | Weyes Blood

Titanic Rising/Weyes Blood (2019)
Produced by Natalie Mering & Jonathan Rado|SubPop

Climate collapse is a disturbingly real thing for children through twentysomethings, despite what octagenarian and baby boomer deniers may say. What art emerges out of the anxiety and uncertainty of a future without clean air, rising sea levels, and decimated populations? Would you believe a hearkening back to Karen Carpenter and Harry Nilsson with a dash of primitive Christian music tossed in? Natalie Mering, better known as Weyes Blood, has put out her fourth studio album Titanic Rising this year and it evokes the moods associated with an unclear future so beautifully by mixing modern producing with nostalgic warm sounds.

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Favorites of 2017 – Television & Music

popcult2017

My Favorite Television & Music of 2017

Television

Twin Peaks: The Return

twin peaks

There’s no question for me that Twin Peaks: The Return is my favorite media experience of 2017. Out of all the books, movies, music, etc. of the year, nothing affected me and meant as much to me as this revival. David Lynch delivered the most surprising piece of art I have seen in many years. I was continually shocked, awed, and frustrated in all the best ways. I wept at the opening titles of Part 1 and found myself sitting in dazed silence and wonder at the close of Part 18. While some people talk about wanting a Season 4, I believe this was the perfect place to end the series. I first watched Twin Peaks when I was nine years old so to be able to return to this world at the age of 36 will always remain one of the most profound honors of my life.

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2016: My Favorite Video Games, Music, and Books

popcult2016

My 10 Favorite Video Games I Played in 2016

civilization-vi-featured
Civilization VI
– For some foolish reason, I didn’t think I would get hooked on this sixth installment in the series. How wrong I was. 36 hours may not be most for some people, but for my more restrictive gaming schedule that is quite a bit. I have barely scratched the surface of Civ VI but I know it will be a game that eats up my life in big chunks.
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