This also makes Post Malone a perfect fit for Spider-Man, the canonical story of awkward adolescent empowerment. We meet the teenage Miles Morales in his bedroom, alone, doodling and bobbing his head to the bouncy hit about a dysfunctional relationship. The awkward teenager is called, awkwardly, out into the world.
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Amid all the cringiness, his unexpected superpowers will bloom. Adolescence, despite its obvious flaws, can still save the world. It is both a brazen bid for the big time and a disquietingly intimate glimpse inside a wildly idiosyncratic mind — in tantalizing, and occasionally maddening, chunks of tightly rationed time. Each track ends after no more than one minute: some segue seamlessly into the next musical idea, some cut off in what feels like midverse.
Whack — as opposed to, say, Frank Ocean — is by no means a piner. Past romance is referenced from time to time, but largely in passing, as if the interesting stuff lay elsewhere. In spite of its undeniable of-the-moment-ness, this is not a collection of music best served by Spotify or any other randomized and algorithm-driven playlist. And what a short, strange trip it was. Music has mourned the death of our planet for decades.
How do we prepare for devastation, and can we reckon with how useless our efforts to stop it have been?
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Such questions have largely gone unasked in the indie sphere, especially as the genre signifier has transitioned over the last decade from ethos to marketing term. We asked Grimes to elaborate. The lyrics are so worshipful. There's a subtext that they're kind of scared. But A. They made me. Just at random. And it will know everything about everybody.
So it will be angry and punish people who try to inhibit it. I'm not necessarily positive that A. Like with corruption in government, it's potentially worth taking the chance of having an A. Because at least it's objective and probably doesn't care about money. It can just get whatever it wants.
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Maybe the A. But the main people who are going to be saved are the people working to bring it to fruition. Sigh, stare up at the ceiling fan and ponder the song as if it were a text? Or do what you do when some other tune catches you — flail your limbs, move your hips in weird little circles, bob your head rhythmically up and down? The world was built for pop songs: Public spaces pump the voices of stars through speakers the way air flows through ventilation ducts, and that sweet, consistent flavor — like Diet Coke or pamplemousse LaCroix — pairs easily enough with any modern pastime.
But if the territory of pop music is everywhere, how and where does a piece of art pop — something equal parts challenging and engaging — make its home? Julia Holter, a Los Angeles-based artist with a background in composition, answers this question by creating otherworldly spaces in her own work. From its opening — a cacophony of cymbals and anxiously pacing strings — the album is a study in creating a private dwelling place amid the chaos and uncertainty of the world. The worlds glimpsed here are varied, sometimes wildly so, but what they share is the sense that they are not so much depicting reality as taking inspiration from it, channeling familiar features into new forms.
Holter, in other words, takes the garden path to catharsis, allowing something uplifting to emerge from the tumult, making chaos resolve itself into something humane and beautiful and full of intention. And she has found, even at music festivals and rock clubs, hushed and attentive audiences for this. Her performances are absorbing: They highlight the organic beauty and authority of her voice, the way the meanings of words can be a sort of veneer over their untamed musicality. The music rewards more than just hearing it.
It rewards some other kind of listening, asking you to let yourself become porous. And lately it can fill an appetite that seems both modern and primal at once: to make whole a fractured attention span, to find a ritual that works. Our days are full of tiny slivers of time that we offhandedly cram with music, filling the gaps between tasks and places like someone idly coloring in a picture.
Though the song began as a demo by the L. Neither does Adam Levine who gets a writing credit or his happy-to-be-here sidemen who constitute the Maroon 5 touring entity. As the camera circles, Levine stands in the center of a soundstage, arms by his side, his voice skipping nimbly over the melody. As the verse-chorus unfolds, Levine is joined one at a time, their backs to his back, by the 26 women. Then, less than two minutes in, he suddenly disappears, as if ceding the spotlight.
When Cardi B delivers her final flourish, he returns briefly, but by the end of the video, the soundstage is occupied by only the women. Adam Levine is to a rock star as a rock star is to a rapper. At least in this moment, he leaves the pocket T-shirt on, keeps the guitar in the closet and hands the mic to the long-suffering women who have chosen to support him.
For the first time, maybe ever, he flashes some legit star-power potency. What in the world happened here? I was only gone for an hour! Some elements were familiar a crew of guys in front of a brownstone, drinking and mugging for the camera , and some were menacing the number of red bandannas and guns on display , but it was the man at the center of the video who startled me most; he seemed almost precision-engineered to make people feel old.
In an era when most young rappers have a couple of face tattoos, 6ix9ine had the number 69 inked above his right eye in point type. He had the same number spelled out in cursive over his left eye. It was everywhere on his body. Within about a year, he would be in federal custody, a year-old facing life in prison for a number of charges, including racketeering and attempted murder.
Normally this sort of arrest leads to an outcry about literal-minded police overreach. Not this time. People generally seemed pleased to see the rapper in cuffs. This was partly because 6ix9ine was universally reviled by music critics and journalists, on account of a crime he committed before he became famous: In , he pleaded guilty to the use of a minor in a sexual performance, for having filmed and shared on social media a video of a girl performing oral sex on his friend. But it was also because he had spent the past year living the life of a Looney Tunes character: courting danger, narrowly escaping it, then taunting his foes.
This genuinely incredible run netted him more than stories on TMZ: gang members in San Antonio threatening his life; a shootout at the Barclays Center; shots fired at a video shoot in Brooklyn; more shots fired at a Beverly Hills video set. Through it all, he posted on Instagram, usually wearing red, often handling bricks of cash, sometimes clutching extremely illegal-looking guns, but never betraying an ounce of concern for his well-being.
Cultivating this sort of personal mythology is not at all new; it dates back to the earliest days of gangsta rap. Ever since Eazy-E bankrolled NWA with drug money, a certain proximity to criminality has been expected of certain rappers. Not long ago, rappers had just a few limited channels through which to prove that they did: lyrics, album art and, if they were famous enough, music videos. Like Old Testament gods, they willed whole universes into being through their words. Now they have social media. This sort of online mythmaking is second nature to SoundCloud rappers, so called for the streaming service that birthed the scene.
SoundCloud rap is not characterized by a particular sound so much as its anarchic energy — the face tattoos, the prescription drugs, the orthographically complex handles. The problem, for 6ix9ine, was that a big part of his adopted persona, both on Instagram and in his music, involved being a member of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. According to a Rolling Stone profile that came out after his arrest in November, this was essentially an act: Danny Hernandez, in the years leading up to his fame, had been a trollish and goofy Bushwick deli employee; his industry blacklisting had pushed him into the hands of an apparently gang-affiliated manager, who also provided him with a new edge.
Maybe the whole thing really was a put-on, but also, he really did it. The Rolling Stone article recounts how, at his arraignment, the presiding judge asked the prosecution how it knew Hernandez was at real-life crime scenes. A liminal space has always existed between rappers and their personas. The gap between 6ix9ine and Danny Hernandez was considerably wider, but he snapped it shut with his phone, merging fantasy with reality through a front-facing camera. It was reported in February that 6ix9ine, who pleaded guilty, agreed to help prosecutors in their case against his co-defendants, hoping for leniency: a reduced sentence and possibly witness protection.
But helping 6ix9ine disappear into some corner of America might prove difficult, and not just because of the tattoos. In , the Swedish singer-songwriter Robyn turned 14 and finished middle school; then she signed a record deal. A feeling of healing from sadness and wanting to share that with the world and with myself — a sense of self-love, excitement, some kind of peace of mind.
Like when your strength is coming back. Intimacy, definitely, but it could be with yourself. Any experience you have that will give you a new point in your scale of emotions will make any other experience richer because you have a new point of reference. Not reserving that deep pleasure for a sexual sensation, but something you could experience day to day. Intimacy in every little thing. I feel like I have to work for it every day.
You get it going and then you can use it and tend to it and start it back up again. Is your fire well tended? Not at all. I maybe need to go back and listen to some of my songs myself to figure this out. Your songs are known for intermingling sadness and euphoria. I used to believe it would all make sense if you just powered through. Post-recession capitalism has glorified the hustle so much. But you can actually use a story that relates to something more real than buying yourself out of anxiety.
Definitely: Pop at the moment is depressing. Hip-hop is really dark. The music kids are listening to is heavy! Is the industry set up for artists to be able to share their pain but protect themselves? People want you to be vulnerable. You turn 40 this June. I think it can be that, for sure. It was hard to tell how many people in the club liked flamenco, an art form not much associated with young people anymore. Some of the younger girls even twerked. She sounds and feels cosmopolitan, cool in a sophisticated and almost foreign way.
Her own aesthetic is polished, globally recognizable, informed by hip-hop and trap music. Maybe this is the price of success in a culture that looks askance at overt displays of ambition or self-actualization, especially by women. The local fascination tended to focus less on her art and more on her as a phenomenon, on the extraordinary speed of her rise to stardom. It would spark arguments too, about cultural appropriation and the Romany community, who have always been closely associated with flamenco.
A woman gets married to a man who later grows jealous and imprisons her. What sort of place were you at in your life when you wrote this song? Obviously I was working a lot.
W. Somerset Maugham
I had already toured Europe and the U. I wanted to make a banger to play live — I just picked up my microphone and started talking. The song came out in a funny way, but the undertone is serious. Whatever you do, whatever amount of energy you put into something, you have to do it for yourself and not to please others. Not to build this facade or this persona or achievement. Do you think people base too much of their self-worth on their work? We live in a society that is based on work — goals, achievement, money.
The Voice of Willie Morgan and Two Other Short Stories
Of course! But I think you become a much more useful person if you learn how to love yourself. It would be hard to know. It looks really fun and glamorous. And it is, sometimes, for a few hours. I wish I had your life. Do you think I woke up one morning and became who I am? People think of the dance floor as this freeing space. For me, at least, it is. It used to be different. When I was 16 and I started going out in Montreal, going to underground parties and raves and clubs, it was magical.
I was going there for fun. Even if I was playing, it was special. That space is now a work space for me. Now if I want to feel something mind-blowing or magical, I have to look for it outside of club culture. The music never loses its magic, but the social thing happening at a party or something like that? It sounds as though the song stemmed from your personal experience, but it feels universal. When I made it, I knew anyone could relate. Because this is the time we live in. Everything goes really fast now. People are expected to produce and achieve. So how do you make art under capitalism?
I never did. Blake, a Grammy-winning avant-gardist with an ear for pop, who has been playing the piano since he was about 6, has a long list of heroes whom he has studiously copied in pursuit of his own sound. Copying the virtuoso jazz-pianist Art Tatum, the protominimalist French composer Erik Satie and the midcentury gospel maestro the Rev.
James Cleveland taught Blake novel ways of opening up complex chord structures and fitting them — to gorgeous, aching effect — around deceptively simple melodies. Copying singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder emboldened him to write and sing pop songs with increasing emotional candor. Blake stands at an imposing 6-foot-6 and carries himself with the deliberateness of a man at risk of scraping his head on doorways.
At their feet, black cables snaked and cloverleafed among clusters of red-, blue-, silver- and cream-colored effects pedals, like tracks connecting villages in a model-train set. When I recorded it, I broke the vocal up. The extent to which Blake has digested the lessons of his musical heroes is illustrated not only by his decade-spanning run of singles, EPs and albums but also by the number of pop auteurs who have collaborated with him. As an influence and a collaborator, Blake has helped shape two of the more striking trends in contemporary pop: beats that mutate over the course of a song, resisting any traditionally identifiable center, and an emotional atmosphere in which the line between hedonism and melancholy, bliss and despair comes undone.
In , I visited Drake — a pop giant whose entire musical project has been about smudging the line between hedonism and melancholy — at a converted Toronto warehouse, where he was working on his second album with his musical right hand, the producer known as Five-odd years ago, Blake suffered from a depression so severe that he considered suicide. Blake was two and a half weeks into rehearsals for a tour that would take him around the country and then around the world.
Blake furrowed his brow. As its lyrics switch between optimistic vows of commitment and confessions of insecurity, this duality is echoed in the music, which consists of two alternating piano motifs — one shimmering, the other overcast. The track began as a long, meandering improvisation from which Blake eventually sampled two disparate chunks, putting them into jarring conversation.
The first section has the tonic as the bass note, which gives it this firmly rooted presence, whereas the other section has the third in the bass, which makes it feel suspended — which is when the lyrics turn to self-doubt. Blake was raised by his father, James Litherland, a singer-songwriter and guitarist with a prog-rock pedigree, and his mother, a graphic designer and cycling instructor, in Enfield, a North London suburb.
He described his life from adolescence on as largely unhappy, warm and supportive parents notwithstanding. Romantic and personal betrayals. And just a feeling of persecution. So that was my childhood, that reflex being stamped out of me.
And it stayed with me well into my 20s. The case went to trial in Plint pleaded guilty to 18 counts of indecent assault, and in March he was sentenced to 11 years in prison, where he would die of cancer in Because Plint entered a guilty plea, the trial was all over before Blackwater and 15 others could tell their stories. That was a source of deep frustration to them, Rev.
Brian Thorpe recalls. After the criminal suit there was virtually no public reaction. It was over so quickly it barely registered. Dissatisfied, Blackwater and his comrades turned to lawyer Peter Grant, at the time working out of a trailer parked in Hazelton. Grant was a crusader who had made an early decision to put the law to use to help the marginalized. It would turn out to be one of the most pivotal civil suits in Canadian history.
And as much as he may play down his own importance, when he speaks of the lawsuit, he seems to take possession of it. During the criminal prosecution, the United Church did not show up to support us. Neither did government. It seemed as if nobody really gave a shit, either when we were in school, or later during the court case.
Plint had not gone to trial.
There were 28 plaintiffs when the case began in the B. Supreme Court in February By the time proceedings in Nanaimo wrapped up, 21 plaintiffs had settled out of court, including Blackwater. Making up for the opportunity lost in the criminal case, everybody wanted to get up and tell their story. Then — surprise, surprise — they were cross-examined. Initially, the church and government lawyers played hardball. Two plaintiffs died during the trial. My friends. It was never my intent to see people further damaged.
I talked to Grant. Can you negotiate a settlement? I withdrew. The trial spanned three years. In a precedent-setting decision partway through, B. He would later assign the government 75 percent of the liability, and the United Church 25 percent. Before Blackwater v. The Blackwater case gave hope to thousands of other residential school survivors who had long despaired of ever having their stories heard or being compensated for the harm they suffered. Peter Grant relates a telling anecdote. This is about all students in all residential schools across the country.
Willie Blackwater and his lawsuit certainly pushed the button to make the church and government take notice.
Historian Miller thinks the Blackwater case forced the churches to lobby for a comprehensive out-of-court settlement to avert fiscal ruin. For the United Church, finding another way would come to mean more than focusing on damages for physical and sexual abuse. Plint, that systemic harms such as forced removal and loss of language, culture and community also needed to be addressed.
A class action lawsuit launched by the Assembly of First Nations against the federal government in finally brought Ottawa around to the same conclusion. On June 11, — 10 years after Willie Blackwater and the Alberni plaintiffs told their stories for the first time in a Nanaimo courtroom — then prime minister Stephen Harper stood up in the House of Commons and apologized for residential schools and the policies of assimilation that underpinned them.
Willie took the risks. Blackwater made his peace with his father just before he died. He has not yet reconciled with his estranged son, Leroy, though he continues to try. And then he has to pause to wipe a tear from the corner of his eye. Losing a son is nothing to laugh about. I found myself typing the closing paragraphs of this story on the very day last December that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its full, six-volume final report.
It takes 2. In light of the TRC, I ask him if he felt he now has closure — if he has finally, really, won. Did you know that there are over Stephen King short stories in existence? So if you want a taste of King's horror but don't have time to sit down and read a whole novel, we've got you covered.
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Read on… if you dare. King's first collection of novellas has a more dramatic than horrific bent. Looking for something new to read? Trust real people, not robots, to give you book recommendations. This is the rallying cry of Skeleton Crew. In one tale, a word processor — an otherwise boring and practical tool — becomes a deadly device in the hands of a man "Word Processor of the Gods". Linking the four stories of Four Past Midnight is the theme of, well, midnight: a time fragmented between two days, inviting reality to fragment as well. Thus the stories feature people desperately attempting to clutch their sanity, while being pulled further and further from it.
Who is he? This book features five sequential stories that take place during the ss, all connected to the horrifying events of the Vietnam War that continue to haunt well past its end in Despite the intended connection between each story, some reviewers still feel that each work better as part rather than a whole.
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