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by Eric Risch

28 Sep 2016

Becky Warren nails  the immediacy of Saturday night revelry with "Dive Bar Sweetheart".

Photo: Kyle Dean Reinford

Shaking hips and breaking hearts, Nashville singer/songwriter Becky Warren nails the immediacy of Saturday night revelry with “Dive Bar Sweetheart”, its toss ‘em back roadhouse groove introducing June, the female lead of her forthcoming solo debut, War Surplus. A story cycle revolving around the before and after effects of love during the Iraq war, “Dive Bar Sweetheart” marks June’s red carpet debut to Scott, the soon-to-be deployed soldier who will never be the same.

by PopMatters Staff

28 Sep 2016

Five years after  the White Stripes' heartbreaking end, "City Lights" is a melancholy echo of what was.

Adriane Pontecorvo: Five years after the White Stripes’ heartbreaking end, “City Lights” is a melancholy echo of what was. Jack White’s distinctive voice cracks over sparse, lovely guitar twangs, sounding like a late autumn chill. It’s a gem, but an unpolished one, beautiful for all its rough edges and the time it’s spent buried. Michel Gondry takes an intimate, minimalist approach to his surprise video, fitting for such a bare-bones song. A bittersweet hymn for fans of the White Stripes who need a real chance to mourn, and a simple, soothing acoustic piece no matter who you are. [9/10]

by G. Christopher Williams

28 Sep 2016

Sometimes stories need  to end badly in order to be really good.

An image from one of the "True" Endings of Catherine (Atlus, 2011)

So, I did it. I finally managed to complete the 2010 classic horror game Amnesia (third times a charm, I guess). Knowing, as I did, that the game had multiple endings, though, I did that gamer thing. I reloaded the game’s final sequence two more times to also witness the game’s other two alternate endings.

My first playthrough resulted in what has been dubbed the “good ending”, my second completion was the game’s “neutral ending”, and finally I finished the game up with the “bad ending”. In particular, it was this ending, which fans call the bad ending, that gave me some pause. To me from both a narrative perspective and from a personal perspective, this “bad ending” seemed like the best ending possible. It seemed to me to be the most appropriate ending to the story of the amnesiac Daniel, ending the game with a conclusion that most clearly represented his final self realization and response to regaining his memory. In that ending, Daniel essentially destroys himself, allowing the shadow that has been hunting him throughout the game to catch up to him and kill him.

by PopMatters Staff

27 Sep 2016

Unlike the extraverted  bangers on This Is Acting, "The Greatest" is rawer and more psychological.

Andrew Paschal: Lots of pop artists sing about overcoming adversity and “not giving up”, and often it rings hollow, coming across mostly as a fear of negative emotions and insistence on positivity at all costs. When Sia sings about these things, though, I believe her. Her lyrics are no different than your typical Katy Perry or Demi Lovato anthem, but you can hear the pain and brokenness in her voice; the fact that she weaves such shattered emotions into a perfect pop tapestry, as she does on “The Greatest”, speaks to a real and authentic triumph. This has been Sia’s calling card ever since her pop revitalization a few years back, but there’s something particularly labyrinthine, twisted, and gnarled about this one that makes it stand out even by Sia standards. Unlike the extraverted bangers on This Is Acting, “The Greatest” is rawer and more psychological; it takes you inside a mind coursing with adrenaline, the survival instinct kicking in just as the water begins to rise. [8/10]

by Evan Sawdey

27 Sep 2016

After a four  year break since her last album, Rachael Yamagata reveals a love of spreadsheets, a love for Streisand, and why it's totally OK to suck at playing guitar.

Photo: Laura Crosta

It’s been a long four years for Rachel Yamagata.

For fans of the once theater-bound singer songwriter, the PledgeMusic campaign that helped create her 2011 effort Chesapeake was godsend, having survived two rounds of major label action. “PledgeMusic saved me,” she told PopMatters back in 2011. “It was something that allowed me to make instinctual decisions about how the funding would be used, and I didn’t have to get clearances from anyone. I’m sitting here now writing hand-written lyrics for people who supported the album. I love that fans can support something in advance they would’ve supported anyway. And I get to share behind-the-scenes stuff with them! It’s a great way to get more authentic music.”

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Measuring Success: The Unsatisfying Notion of "Good Endings" and "Bad Endings"

// Moving Pixels

"Sometimes stories need to end badly in order to be really good.

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