Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
The fifth and sixth tracks on American Idiot represent a turning point in its narrative, as the man we thought was our hero finds himself unworthy of the position, and so he transforms himself into a more disruptive and selfish being so that he can deal with what the future holds.

Thus far in American Idiot, Jesus of Suburbia has left his hometown, abandoned everything he thought he knew, and set out alone to find the truth. However, as we saw in “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, this newfound purpose and solidarity has left him isolated, lonely, and scared, all the while questioning if he’s really on the right path. With the next two songs in the sequence—“Are We the Waiting” and “St. Jimmy”—we see him band together with others who are also going through the same search for introspection and morality, as well create a whole new personality with which he can lead them.


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Friday, Sep 26, 2014
Ain't nobody as dope as the 124th most acclaimed album of all time, so fresh and so clean. It loves it when you stare at it. A hip-hop game changer is this week's Counterbalance. Break!

Mendelsohn: While perusing the Great List one day I happened to notice Outkast’s Stankonia sitting respectably in the back half of the top 200. That was a couple of months ago — when I went to check the list again today (after the recent update), Stankonia had jumped all the way up to number 124. That’s a huge jump in terms of the Great List, meaning the full effects of the “Best Of 2000s” lists are now being felt throughout the Critical Industrial Complex as they reevaluate the last decade. It had been nearly 15 years since I’d listened to this record but I had some fond memories of a couple of the songs, namely the ones about apologizing to Ms. Jackson and practicing good hygiene in order to stay fresh and clean.


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Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014
The fourth track on American Idiot finds our hero alone and lost at the start of his journey. Ten years later, it's still as catchy, tragic, and affective as ever.

When we last left Jesus [of Suburbia] (on April 1st), he was embarking on a journey to find his figurative fortune whilst declaring his freedom from both the condemnatory nature of his town and the tyrannical pretense of his country. In other words, he was enjoying his “Holiday” from the lies and limitations of the world around him. However, much like the dramatic realization that strikes the impulsive lovers at the end of The Graduate, the party ends as soon as reality hits (on April 2nd), and Jesus is suddenly confronted with loneliness and hopelessness as he faces the future alone. He has no company or guidance as he ventures down the “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, and it’s quite the bitter pill to swallow.


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Friday, Sep 19, 2014
This week's Counterbalance takes on the 1,377th most acclaimed album of all time, Paul and Linda McCartney's 1971 joint effort. Have another look, have a cup of tea and a butter pie. (The butter wouldn't melt so we put it in a pie.)

Klinger: As someone who came into Beatle fandom right about the time that the 1970s were turning into the ‘80s, I came to understand a couple of pieces of received wisdom. The first was, of course, that the Beatles were completely unassailable in every way, and the second was that there were only a couple solo Beatle albums worth listening to. John Lennon had two, both of which we covered during our Great List years, while Paul McCartney had only one, his 1973 effort Band on the Run, the album that almost singlehandedly, albeit temporarily, saved his critical reputation.


Tagged as: paul mccartney
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Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014
While Kate Bush is a national treasure in the UK, US listeners don't know her so well. The following 12 songs capture her irrepressible spirit.

Last month, Kate Bush’s return to the stage at London’s Hammersmith Apollo for the first time in 35 years was a long-awaited event, to put it mildly. Since her first pirouette onto the music scene in 1978 when she was only 19, Bush has astonished and fascinated her listeners. She is an enigma—a Mother Nature-like figure spinning in leotards or dancing in kaftans while singing in a voice that has made her an icon.


Bush not only has a cult-like following of dedicated fans, she is a musician’s musician. Coinciding with her live show, the BBC released a documentary titled Running Up That Hill, which aired late last month. In the film, an impressive list of musicians including David Gilmore, Peter Gabriel, John Lydon, Elton John, Tricky, and Tori Amos sing Bush’s accolades and discuss how she has influenced their music. Even writers chime in: Neil Gaiman calls her voice “absolutely otherworldly“, and author Katherine Angle describes her style aptly when she observes that Bush not only stretches out her voice but also stretches “the pop form“.


Tagged as: kate bush, list this
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