"It's not up to you": or Ethics According to Björk It's rare when a pop star is also a prophet. The awesomeness possessed by those few who transcend celebrity to enter the echelons of cult is superhuman, awesome, and almost sick. And while its derivative may not be blistering fame, more often than not it is an overwhelming responsibility: whether to play up the hero worship or squelch it, and how to navigate a heavy, omnipresent expectation of magnificence. That quandary is especially true for Björk who, even when singing lead for the Sugarcubes in the 1980s, was a performer practically oozing with a delicious mystique. At every step since going solo in 1993, she has undone the laws of physics and logic to deliver albums that burst with innovation, their shrapnel glimmering with hope and wonder. The magnitude and magnetism of her oddity made her at once a powerhouse, earning respect from both the most mainstream and marginalized of spectators. So Björk disciples should expect nothing less from their outlandish maven than her continued another leg in the quest to surpass herself, pushing her status to its very limits. This time, that came in the form of quiet opulence, both in material and presentation. But more than that, it came with an incredible duty to do right by her music, her mood, and her fans. Radio City Music Hall set the ideal stage from which Björk could cast her spell over two sold-out New York City audiences. That space, drenched in tequila light, opera rather than rock show, already bordered on the incredible; its larger-than-life effect was emphasized by the full orchestra and choir that accompanied her. Björk appeared tiny when surrounded by the massive theater, and tinier still as she churned out the toyish "Frosti" from a music box as the first song of the night. The orchestra next cascaded in with the emotionally riveting overture from Dancer in the Dark as the light rose, fully illuminating a majestic Björk in her now infamous swan dress. When she began to sing "All Is Full of Love", the audience was already spellbound, dumbfounded to near silence, an occasional camera flash the only distraction from Björk-as-Goddess. The first half of the show (yes, a concert with an intermission) was devoted to her newer, more ethereal material, its effect intoxicating on a crowd coming needy of a fix. Once the crowd was sufficiently ready to submit, the show's second half blasted them with hit after mesmerizing hit to cement their devotion. Old, more electronic favorites like "Human Behavior", and "Isobel" met up with newer, orchestral songs like "Bachelorette" and "Pagan Poetry", creating a roller coaster of ebullience, contemplation, amazement. Her technique, like her singing, is always both big and oh so quiet -- at one moment seems to be sharing an intimate secret with the audience, and the next, her voice bellows nearly out of control, like an echo volleying around a canyon. These pushes and pulls seemed to electrify the audience to live wire status. So even the slightest twittering of dance moves evoked evoked overwhelmed reactions. She uttered few words during the show, but in the midst of the heaven she created there, words seemed strangely beside the point. It was not up to those of us who saw her show how we would react - for they came, they saw, they were broken, they were hers. Because for Björk, the easiest way to manage the oversized belief of her fans is to be beyond belief.
In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.
Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.
Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"
Encounter Across the Abyss: Examining the Ontology of the Self in Toni Morrison's 'The Origins of Others'
Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.
It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.
A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.
When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.
In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.