First Impressions: Coldplay – Ghost Stories

Coldplay’s sixth studio album travels inward, finding hope in an atmospheric album about broken connections.

ghoststoriesfull

It’s two in the morning and my one-bedroom apartment feels especially empty. I should probably put the A/C unit in the window and go to sleep, but I’d rather sit outside on the stoop, breathe in the warming air and watch the moon. Sometimes I feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be, not with who I’m supposed to be with—a piece that doesn’t quite fit into the puzzle I’ve got laid out on the table. Coldplay’s Ghost Stories is exactly the album I need in these moments.

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Song: “Packing Up”

The first song I’m releasing from my next album, If You’d Call This Place Home.

Packing Up

I don’t want you to go.
I’m sorry, but that’s all that I’ve got.
I’ve been trying to write this song for so long,
I guess packing up is harder than I thought.

You took your records and coat,
The only things that keep you warm now.
And I’m staring in the closet
It’s emptier than I remember.

‘Cause all I can think of is you and the way you’d smile sometimes.
You’re as cool as a shower in June and as rare as a comet at night.

So leave me broken, leave me restless, leave me strung out like a ghost.
Leave me humbled, leave me honest, just please don’t leave me alone.
‘Cause I would give it all back if you’d call this place home.

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Selections From 11:37: Tonight

For my senior honors thesis at Penn, I wrote two poems a day for six months. It was called Selections from 11:37. Basically, every morning and every evening, at exactly 11:37, I stopped whatever I was doing and gave myself fifteen minutes to write a poem. (You can purchase my collection here or click preview to read more about the project.) Only about 70 poems made it into my final thesis, so I have literally hundreds of poems that have never seen the light of day. Here’s one of them.

Burnt Match flower

TONIGHT                                                                                         (Night 4/22/13)

1.
i’m smoking a cig in the breath between
up too late and up too early

siphoning time into a jasmine jar
so the moments will smell sweeter

exhaling into the black-lit sky
and wondering where i’m headed

2.
what is this place where moonlight leaks
like cinders in the street

where life glimmers like a falling match
unsure of its consequence

where city lights may be
dashed or kicked or caught in traffic

3.
it’s nights like these
as the spring gives way to summer heat

when i hope the world loves me back

because i don’t want to handle how i feel
and every bridge is whispering my name.

————

P.S. Here’s another link to my poetry collection.

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Why Outkast Flopped At Coachella (It’s Not EDM’s Fault)

Outkast at Coachella 2014

A well-written article called “Why It’s EDM’s Fault Outkast Flopped” has gotten a lot of attention around the interwebs this week. In it, author Tim Hirsh picks apart the duo’s Coachella performance and blames the audience’s lack of energy on false expectations created by attending the sensory overload of an electronic dance concerts. The key quote: “The needle has slowly shifted away from ‘music,’ towards ‘party.'”

Hirsh isn’t completely wrong. Take a look at the trailers and aftermovies for the world’s most successful EDM festivals, and you’ll be hit with a wave of communal energy that’s completely awe-inspiring. More than any other genre of music, EDM is explicitly designed for the live space (hell, “dance” is in the name). But while Hirsh contends that the stratospheric production values of today are replacing the lyrics-based of yesteryear, he overlooks the most basic rule of headlining a music festival: sustaining a personal connection with the audience. This article shouldn’t be considered a eulogy for the whole genre—rap artists like Kanye, Macklemore, and Drake have been clear festival highlights for the last few years. But it does show that whether you’re Avicii, Jay Z, Muse, R. Kelly, or Lionel Freaking Richie, the best festival headliners find a way to enrapture their audience by sheer force of personality.

It’s not EDM’s fault Outkast flopped; it’s Outkast’s. Continue reading

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Recommended Track: “Mangrove” by Young & Sick

Image

Step outside and breathe in the spring air. There’s a slight breeze between your hair and the crooks of your ears; it sounds like keyboards beginning to bounce, pinging back and forth with the beat like two kids making up a dance as they play. Some wordless coos help you shake that sleepy feeling as you take a few steps down the block. You’re awake now, and the sun is shining bright.

With any luck, you’re listening to “Mangrove”, the opening track from Young & Sick’s debut album. Self-described as an “art project” by the Dutch singer/producer Nick Van Hofwegen (who does everything, including his album art), Young & Sick creates a breezy, slick hybrid of R&B and soulful pop that won’t be ignored.  Continue reading

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Don’t Think About It Too Much

Life In The Real World, Day 217: Don’t Think About It Too Much

Earlier tonight, I found out that the job I quit back in October laid off every single copywriter and editor in their web and magazine departments, outsourcing their jobs and ripping up their contracts. Just like that, another floor full of people is out there looking for jobs with the rest of the word.

Obviously I had a wave of reactions rising up at pretty much the same time: relief that I made the “right” decision, sympathy for friends who had the rug ripped out from under them, anger that a company could (and would) do that, resignation that it’s just the way the world works, gratitude that I took an uncertain step and it worked out for the moment.

I heard once in dire times, when you need a sign, that’s when they appear. I made a bad mistake at work last week that I honestly thought might cost me my job. Continue reading

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Recommended Track: “To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)” by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker

One thing about Ryan Adams’ music: it’s always perfect for the rain. Like a lot of musicians, his whole career has arguably been about recapturing the soul of his first album. Heartbreaker might be the best singer-songwriter album of the last two decades, a quiet showcase of Adam’s gift for simple melody and the immediate lyricism that launched him to the forefront of alt-country.

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