Travelog: ‘Made in U.S.A’

How to react. Going to listen to vaguely defined live music in Dublin only to experience an American accent, complete with a Southern Twang and frat house classics. The artists are Irish, but their vocal patterns are spot on: The accents are part of the performance, it is all imitation.  

The complaints here are twofold. On one hand, there’s that surface level frustration at a failure to experience authentic Irish music, an unfair expectation and frankly silly desire that still manages to worm its way into one’s head every time it remains either unfulfilled or fulfilled only in the most touristy context (that is to say, for Americans and Americans only). Legitimately pernicious though, and perhaps a more valid complaint, is that presentation of American music devoid of any cultural context.

XU | What it Sounds Like When Men in Their Forties Pine

I am super excited for Sufjan Stevens’ new album Javelin, scheduled to come out on Oct. 6. The New York City-based artist has an aesthetic that fits with the lush waterfalls of upstate New York; Stevens did, in fact, relocate to the Catskills for a period of time in the middle of the pandemic. Based on an interview with Vanity Fair, the move did him a lot of good in terms of creating, living and thriving. The first single from Javelin, “So You Are Tired” came out in August, followed by a second, “Will Anybody Ever Love Me?” released two weeks ago.

Travelog: Stuck at the Airport

I’m obsessed with these Onion News Network YouTube videos that were released in the late 2000s/early 2010s. All two or three minutes long, they pretty expertly ape cable news personalities while still infusing that biting Onion satire. There are more recent ones, and in fact they still make some video content today, but as internet news has become more prevalent, and that cable imitation less fashionable, the form of the videos has altered, and no longer features that same charm. 

Anyway, there’s one of these videos that strikes me in a “how did the Simpsons predict X ” kind of way (or perhaps just rubs me the wrong way as a satire that isn’t quite so funny as frustrating at the moment). From how many times I’ve seen it, I’ve almost memorized “Prague’s Kafka International Named Most Alienating Airport.” My Squid and the Whale-esque pseudo-pretentious streak mixed with a love of in-your-face absurdist sense of humor makes it worthy to me of constant rewatches. I even showed it to my partner, way too early in our relationship, and watched her react stonefacedly as I cackled awkwardly. 

I just rewatched the video again, at an airport for the second day in a row, having had my flight canceled and being unable to reach anyone with my airline or get my flight rebooked or figure out how to get my new hotel stay compensated, and, maybe I’m biased, but the video isn’t *that* funny, at least in the way it originally was.

XU | Long Way Without Friends: A Moment in 90s Rock

As someone born after the year 2000, could I genuinely be nostalgic for the 90s? Or anything that came before? I think about that every time I listen to my dad’s music, downloaded into his thick iPod classic. I can almost recite the lineup: Alan Tam, Jacky Cheung, Dave Wong, Chyi Chin. A rock band named Black Panthers (unrelated to the party, sadly) spearheaded by Faye Wong’s ex-husband, Dou Wei.

CHARI | The Concert Experience and the Value of Anticipation

This summer, I am seeing Beyonce live for the first time. 

Her upcoming Renaissance World Tour is, by far, the biggest concert I have ever been to and definitely the most expensive. RENAISSANCE was my most played album of last year, immediately becoming my favorite Beyonce album and one of my favorite albums of all time. Beyonce is known for her fantastic showmanship, and I knew that she would outdo herself for her latest tour. 

I admit, I did not do any of the work to acquire the Renaissance tickets. In fact, it was my friend who had the verified presale and that sat at the computer, pressing the exact buttons at the right time (I had class). He wanted a good seat.

Did You Fall in Love or Limerence?

Apart from enjoying the content, an incredible feature of movies and books is being able to learn from the characters’ experiences and reflect on your own by applying any knowledge you’ve gained to analyze what interests you the most. In this article, I want to discuss the term “limerence” to help you understand whether you’re going through limerence, thinking that you fell in love, by using the movie Ruby Sparks as an example. The main character Calvin is a famous writer who struggles with social anxiety. He has a peculiar dog, and he can’t get used to its behavior. His only friend is his brother, and besides attending book presentations, he occasionally visits his therapist.

XU | It’s a Lovely Day for alt-J

I have been hunting for a specific kind of lyrical, melodic, soft electronica. I went through Sufjan Steven’s The Ascension (think “Video Game”), Jamie xx, a bit of Tame Impala and lots of Joji before remembering alt-J. The British band combines elements of electronica, rock and pop to create the distinct texture of their music. I knew their most popular song, “Breezeblocks,” but I had never really listened to their albums seriously up until now. It was down this lane of rediscovery that I stumbled upon alt-J’s version of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.”

Alt-J peaked around 2015.

KOSEMATOGLU | Recommendations of the Week

Are you tired of reading about the French Revolution for the 18th time since high school for your classes? Or perhaps you are in a Spotify slump, where all your songs seem a little overplayed? I want to provide a few recommendations that may give you some hope and happiness after the rough couple of weeks we’ve had.