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

 
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Friday, Sep 12, 2014
In my eyes, indisposed, in disguise as no one knows hides the face of this week's Counterbalance. 281st most acclaimed album of all time, won't you come and wash away the rain?

Mendelsohn: I didn’t even want to talk about this album. I just wanted to make you listen to Soundgarden for a week. Mission accomplished.


Klinger: Well played, sir.


Mendelsohn: But, while were here, and since I imagine you listened to this record at least once, we might as well have a little back-and-forth. Because, honestly, what else are we going to do? In my head, I can already here you grumbling about no nostalgia for the 1990s, no affinity for alternative music, wading through your Gen-X miasma, etc. I almost feel bad for making you listen to Soundgarden’s Superunknown. Almost.


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Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014
A scattering of some of the Interpol tracks you may have missed or skipped over in favor of those oh-so-relevant singles.

When you really think about the group’s music, there’s a lot about Interpol not to like. Be it the consistent post-punk cribbing or the monotonous delivery of its albums, all of which are cut from the same cloth, it’s easy to dismiss its members as hipsters of the highest order. (I have one friend who cringes at the first note that singer Paul Banks utters.) Interpol can be labeled as “the” quintessential New York indie band, the one that exploded on the scene with its debut, Turn on the Bright Lights, in 2002 to immediate acclaim and a built-in audience. But times change and sustainability is not a capital that most “it” bands are able to trade in fruitfully. Despite all of the odds against it, Interpol managed an almost-hat-trick with its first three albums; Turn on the Bright Lights,, Antics, and Our Love to Admire, respectively. The ensemble’s fourth LP, the self-titled Interpol was deemed a mediocre affair, at least critically, that culminated with founding bassist Carlos Dengler leaving the band and casting its immediate future in a wavering light.


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Tuesday, Sep 9, 2014
For the last month of the summer music cycle, K-pop has been an especially busy field, which made it tough to choose what to include in this roundup.

August has been one of the busiest and most exciting months for K-pop all year. With so many releases from big acts like Kara, Sistar, and Spica, along with some exciting debuts, it was tough to choose what to include in this roundup. It’s really felt like everyone rushing to put out a summer single before we move into the fall, which has left us with a ton of great music!


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Monday, Sep 8, 2014
An exceptionally intricate, intelligent, gripping, and ambitious track, "Jesus of Suburbia" also did a fantastic job of setting up the story, characters, and social commentary that makes this LP so great.

As I mentioned in the introductory installment of this series, Green Day’s American Idiot has often been compared to the Who’s 1973 conceptual opus, Quadrophenia, and it’s not difficult to understand why. After all, both records’ narratives center on rebellious teenage males whose punky individualism puts them at odds with social conventions, familial expectations, peer pressures, and romantic expectations. In other words, the protagonists of both records are sick of the bullshit that surrounds them, and they even develop alternate egos to help deal with the banality and overwhelming uncertainties of everyday life. Furthermore, both records contain rambunctious multifaceted suites in which each stylistic change represents a new emotion or perspective. Although the entirety of American Idiot contains examples of these connections, the second track, “Jesus of Suburbia”, does it the best. Broken into five distinct movements, the piece is a tour de force of catchy melodies, invigorating momentum, emotional timbres and progressions, and most importantly, wonderful transitions.


Tagged as: green day
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Friday, Sep 5, 2014
You reach out and into the absence and gasping. The vastness grabs you like an alien embrace, your face to the face of this week's Counterbalance, in which we look at the Dirty Projectors' 2012 indie hit. Foolish, we know, but we're about to die.

Klinger: I don’t recall what exactly led me to pick up Rise Above, the Dirty Projectors’ radical 2007 reimagining of the Black Flag album Damaged. I was never that much of a Black Flag fan, and I think I had only read a review or two of the Dirty Projectors before I took the plunge. I’m awfully glad I did, since Dave Longstreth and his group have consistently produced music that’s equal parts challenging and exhilarating. I’ve been a big fan of the way the group structures its songs so that it’s hard to tell exactly when a wave of noise is going to overtake the arrangement, while still maintaining a surprising sense of melody. Swing Lo Magellan (2012) might be my favorite of theirs, with a series of undeniable hooks lying below the slightly off-kilter surface.


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