Recommended Track: “My Wrecking Ball” by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams Self-Titled

“My Wrecking Ball” is a simple song, even by Ryan Adams’ standards: a stripped-down arrangement, quietly sung verses, and an unadorned, repeating chorus. I’d be surprised if the whole song is more than ten sentences long. But the beautiful thing about Adams’ songwriting is that he doesn’t need to do a lot to break you in two.

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Poem: “out of range”

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out of range

it’s been a few months since I’ve written
poems about something
other than people I know getting swallowed
up by the spaces between the stars.

scientists say there’s light everywhere
in an infinite universe
but the dark spaces have always given me
a place to sit,
a warmth that hasn’t reached
the corner between my refrigerator and the floor.

I don’t always recognize myself in the swill
of the river and its unknown bodies,
there’s no lighthouse on my coast.

so I don’t always conduct that poetic spark
and I don’t always feel good about finding
a way through the mirrored glass
to meet the central bulb.
but I’d still like to think that wherever you look
there’s light
even if it’s out of range.

 

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For David L. Carpenter

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I haven’t written much since David passed. I’ve wanted to, I’ve felt the words inside me, but when I sit down to get them out on a page the spring doesn’t produce. It’s like having an ache you can’t describe, pointing to a general spot near your chest and saying, “It’s somewhere around there.”

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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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