It’s getting to the point…

In which it’s a matter of mind over music—or is it? Yesterday a favorite podcaster of mine who often engages in discussions of mental health issues—and who is herself studying to be a therapist—read out a message from a female listener who described her boyfriend’s unwillingness or inability to help her through an emotionally turbulentContinue reading “It’s getting to the point…”

We’re in Urinetown

In which I’m filled with symbolism and things like that It’s the oldest story: Masses are oppressed Faces, clothes, and bladders all distressed Rich folks get the good life Poor folks get the woe In the end it’s nothing you don’t know : “Too Much Exposition” For nearly a week now—beginning, with eerie prescience, shortlyContinue reading “We’re in Urinetown”

The Greatest Jazz Album…?

Or, a Christmastime observation I’m relying on holiday tunes more heavily than usual this year to keep the spirit of the season alive in relative isolation. I can’t help listening a little more closely, perhaps only because I can. Among the records on regular rotation is, for self-evident reasons, the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack toContinue reading “The Greatest Jazz Album…?”

My Year in Song

In which I compile an eclectic playlist for an eclectic year As we commence our closing tricks in the death-defying circus act of 2020, let me gift you with a soundtrack to help us carry them off. These picks more or less sum up each thirty-day cluster; some are snapshots of the state of myContinue reading “My Year in Song”

A Brief History of A Cappella

In which I sing the praises of a much-misconstrued genre The above image, whose painter I could not identify for the life of me (drop a comment if you can), does not depict the a cappella style we know, as there are instruments present. However, it does depict (again) that musical troublemaker St. Cecilia, plusContinue reading “A Brief History of A Cappella”

Every Beatles Reference in “You’ll Be Back”

In which I send a fully armed battalion to remind you that all you need is love Hamilton’s George III, our favorite mad king, steps out in the middle of Act I to the most fanfare since, well, Hamilton stepped out. He proceeds to introduce himself with a tune I can only describe as Late-StageContinue reading “Every Beatles Reference in “You’ll Be Back””

Is “I’m a Believer” a Perfect Song?

In which I pose a rhetorical question Today is the feast of St. Cecilia, patron of musicians (also poets, less relevant to the forthcoming discussion). On an unrelated-yet-related note, I listen to a podcast called Punch Up the Jam wherein the hosts and guests end each episode by offering an “unpunchable jam”—a song they feelContinue reading “Is “I’m a Believer” a Perfect Song?”

Marie Before Marian

In which I spotlight an entertainer who made (largely untold) history My preexisting plan for this week’s post is serendipitously harmonious given the impending arrival of a Black woman in the White House. Because on this date in 1878, the White House welcomed its first Black musical performer, Marie Selika Williams. Williams, née Smith, wasContinue reading “Marie Before Marian”

A Far-Too-Close Reading of “Your Song”

In which I, well, never mind This week we arrive at something that has been on my mind all year: the half-century of the release of one of the most special songs in popular music. I’ll execute a smooth transition out of last week by introducing it as the song that prompted Lennon to say,Continue reading “A Far-Too-Close Reading of “Your Song””