Ocarina of Our Time: The 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

Ocarina of Our Time: The 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

The Nintendo 64 was the first video game system that really and truly impressed me. The flat graphics of the 16-bit generation were, from my adolescent viewpoint, limited but the N64 presented games in three dimensions, changing what video games could be and allowing for a previously inconceivable level of immersion. And while the Sony [...]

It’s Complicated: Sara Bareilles’ “She Used to Be Mine”

It’s Complicated: Sara Bareilles’ “She Used to Be Mine”

Halfway through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, titular hero Harry is in need of reassurance. Like a lot of teenagers (and, frankly, a lot of adults), Harry is suffering from a common malady: He thinks he sucks. Because J.K. Rowling knows her way around a plot device, Harry's lovably rogue father figure [...]

Salt & Shadow

Salt & Shadow

The misapplication of social media can lead to the dissemination of fraudulent information, the degradation of trust in democratic systems and even the incitement of tragedy. These are worrying, ever-present concerns in the modern world. They are also representative of the types of social problems that have existed for millennia because, for as long as there have been social [...]

The Labyrinth Within You

The Labyrinth Within You

At the climax of the 1986 muppet-dystopia Labyrinth, David Bowie's impressively-codpieced Jareth confronts Jennifer Connelly's emotionally ascendant Sarah in an Escheresque series of gravitationally impossible stairways. Frustrated by Sarah's continued rejection of his romantic overtures, Jareth makes one final attempt to subdue the object of his affection. He fails. But in the opening minute of [...]

A Better Son

A Better Son

You can disdain the band's high-school-goth lyricism or snicker at their emo-extremist wardrobe but you can't deny that My Chemical Romance had a flair for the (often needlessly) dramatic. With Father's Day just having passed and with parentage on my brain, let's take a moment to enjoy one of the best instances of that dramatic [...]

What a World We Have Made

What a World We Have Made

Three years ago The Decemberists released What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, the band's seventh full-length album which, like most releases from Portland's premier prog-folk outfit, is clever and catchy and thoughtful. Stylistically, What a Terrible World hews closely to The Decemberists' well-established folksy style but the album is no worse for being [...]

The Best Albums of 2017

The Best Albums of 2017

Okay, so that title is misleading. These aren't necessarily the best albums of 2017 - who am I to judge? - but they're certainly the new releases that I enjoyed most this year. (Presented alphabetically by artist.) I'm Only Dreaming by Eisley By the end of the album's very first song, it's clear that I'm [...]

Writing Young

Writing Young

A decade ago I sat in a collegiate music composition class and listened to a professor explain how, in order to write a truly great song, it was necessary to hone an idea over and over, fully exploring it and discovering the best way to implement it. Young people, he posited, struggled with this because [...]

You, Me and DuPree

You, Me and DuPree

When I was a kid, my best friend lived down the street. Ours was that kind of inseparable childhood friendship where we hung out pretty much every day, no matter what. We played with Legos and video games and on the same hockey team. We knew each other's immediate and extended families almost as well [...]