How To Write About Music: A Definitive Method

This is a technique I learned in music school, from one or maybe two teachers who taught a class on musical analysis. It can work on any body of music in any style: I’ve used it to talk about “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra, the sociological importance of A Tribe Called Quest (using the album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm as an example), and a Ghanian folk song I had absolutely no background on, including a lyrical translation. The Music Map lets you dissect and diagram every part of a song and assign meaning to it. Then, when you’ve fully formed your understanding of the core essence you want to talk about, it gives you a chart of exactly how to write about it.

25 Songs Rolling Stone Forgot About This Century

18 and 1/2 years into the 21st century, Rolling Stone, celebrating a visual rebranding of the print magazine, decided to take a tally of the era’s greatest songs. The magazine was careful to point out the list does not reflect its editorial views, but the votes of “a large group of artists, producers, critics and industry…

Whiskey In A Teacup: The Yankee’s Guide to Great Country Music

Originally published as the cover story of Tastemakers Issue #49, “Southern Comfort: Reconciling Yourself With One Of America’s Oldest Traditions.” (See link or scroll down for full spread.)   When country and western, formerly called “hillbilly” music, started its ascent into the mainstream after World War II, its listeners made up a full third of…

Gogol Bordello: Smuggling in the Immigrant Culture of Gypsy Punk

Originally seen on Tastemakers Online, September 20, 2017 Gogol Bordello is what might happen if a drummer and a bassist put out a call for an exceptional frontman, and took five of them. The real story is this: the Ukrainian immigrant frontman Eugene Hütz (who you might already know as the life of the movie…

Feel It Still: Why My Dad Shares My Spotify Account

Modern culture likes to paint dads as very simple creatures. (“Why, in cartoons, is the dad always an idiot?” my dad used to ask.) The family collective, and each member individually, tends to learn him for a few tried-and-true points of contact. Aside from being Boat Dad, Hockey Dad, and Construction Dad, mine is Classic…

An Urban Tribe Called Quest

Tomorrow alternative hip hop legends A Tribe Called Quest will release their sixth and final alum, We got it from here… Thank You 4 Your service, featuring guests Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Elton John, André 3000, Anderson .Paak, and Busta Rhymes. After thirty years and a shift to an increasingly neotribalist society, is A Tribe Called…

The Basics of Modernism

The following is a transcript (written by me) of a presentation of modernism (focusing on modernist texts and further research) to students at Northeastern University in Massachusetts. The included section is an introduction that, read alone, can provide a good preliminary overview of the wide-reaching, unifying theories of modernism as it applies to art, literature,…

A Great New Binge Watch To “Get Down” With

Combined efforts from Baz Luhrmann, Nas, Grandmaster Flash, and more have brought a small but powerful piece of old-school hip hop to Netflix in a neat little package called ‘The Get Down’. The plot explores landscapes of hip hop, disco, graffiti, and politics in the late 1970’s Bronx, with a clear figurehead in each parallel plot and Ezekiel “Zeke” Figuero at the crux of it all.

New Release: Pierce Fulton’s “Make Me Blue”

The fresh and playful “Make Me Blue” stands out in Pierce Fulton’s current repertoire of in-your-face dance music, and puts him on the map for more alternative fans who still like to get down to a fun electronic groove. This new track is an alternating string of sparsely yet elegantly filled swathes of vast sonic…