I don’t remember the bandage being uncomfortable on the plane to Florida. I only remember stuffing myself into the middle seat and watching 70 percent of Meet the Parents. Robert De Niro had just realized Ben Stiller had spray-painted the cat’s tail. Then we landed.
A week before that, in the dermatologist’s office, I fainted while my new doctor scraped a patch of skin off my back with a sharp tool. He’d found something and wanted to get it biopsied right away. I was cool with the whole thing until he walked in front of me and I caught a…
I’ve been trying to write this piece for four months. The initial idea was to capture the moment we’re in, back when that moment felt novel. Now more than ever, people said, it was important to stay connected. So we did.
A friend sent me a collaborative Spotify playlist called “Strawberry Songs” full of songs by Tim Buckley and Natalie Prass and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. We texted about how good it felt to disappear into walls of guitar noise. I listened to this music when Haley and I unfolded the stowed-away flap of our Ikea kitchen table to create…
How do you make God laugh? Make a plan.
So goes the old Yiddish proverb that’s been a notable source of inspiration for everyone from Ben Gibbard to Joseph Fiennes to Public Enemy. But what if your job—a higher calling that places you at the head of His church, in charge of all decisions and the safeguarding of it from, as you see it, circling intruders—is quite literally to make his plans? To lay down the very manual for how we’re supposed to talk to God? To talk to Him, and to listen? …
This year’s list differs considerably from that of 2016 and 2017 and 2018 in that 2019 was the first year studios actually sent me awards-ready, buzzy DVD screeners, mistaking me for someone with any actual influence in the industry. (Although I did join the WGA East this year, so I guess actually I do.) I have a friend who saw Phantom Thread upwards of five times in theaters because he loved it so much that it consumed him. For reasons I haven’t quite parsed yet, that’s me with The Two Popes. Here’s that, plus everything else I saw this year…
The band was called Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s. At the time of the song’s release, there were apparently eight musicians in the band, though it’s hard to pin down a precise number. Some decent live videos from 2008 appear to show seven onstage, adding two violinists, a cellist, and a trumpeter to a standard guitar-drums-keyboard indie arrangement. The exact figure doesn’t matter. This band, like Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire before it, was a cyclone of bodies and chamber instruments. They were meant to overwhelm you.
3. Eighth Grade
6. A Star Is Born
8. If Beale Street Could Talk
9. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs
10. Support The Girls
11. Sorry To Bother You
12. Juliet, Naked
13. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
14. Mission: Impossible — Fallout
The criteria for this list is simple: The music had to knock me on my ass. Guitars tend to do that the quickest, so most of the below music is rock-based. Please note that I also liked the Big Ones this year — Kacey Musgraves and Snail Mail and Janelle Monae and The 1975 and Ariana Grande and Camila Cabello in particular — but I didn’t listen to those ones as much as I listened to what’s on this list. Below are 10 albums that, if you asked me what I actually listened to the most in 2018, I could…
Let me say up front that The White Album (officially known as The Beatles and released this week 50 years ago) is my favorite Beatles album. I love nearly every song on it. However, as it will quickly become clear, some are better than others. In honor of the album’s new Super Deluxe 50th anniversary release (out now), here’s my ranking of the songs, which is the correct one. Don’t even think about disagreeing!
There are no bad songs on The White Album. But this grating pass at psychedelia, one that repeatedly bounces the chorus of the superior “Honey Pie”…
When The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie died in October 2017, my former editor Simon Vozick-Levinson memorialized him in The New York Times writing that as Americans, it’s hard to quantify just how massive a figure Downie was in his home country of Canada.
“The place of honor that Mr. Downie occupies in Canada’s national imagination has no parallel in the United States,” he wrote, and continued: “Imagine Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Michael Stipe combined into one sensitive, oblique poet-philosopher, and you’re getting close.”
Right now, my turntable would give any audiophile a heart attack. Not only is it one of those vinyl-to-MP3 setups, but without a proper sound system, my remaining option was to rig it through old Logitech desktop computer speakers. I know, I know—but it gets worse. The turntable itself spins too quickly, pitching songs up nearly a half-step and completing a three-minute song in about 2:50. It’s not as bad as listening to podcasts at 1.25x speed, something some particularly freakish people do willingly, but it’s not ideal listening, either.
I’m not proud of any of this, and I don’t…
I write and edit for @MTVNews and still listen to nü-metal.