If you had to listen to one band / artist's music by hitting "shuffle all songs", who would it be?
It's the 56th annual Recommendation Riday! TGIRR! Scroll to end for a POEM that I wrote.
Can you believe it's already Friday? And also that it's the 56th annual Recommendation Riday? Feels like just last week we were doing the 34th annual RecRi, but hey, that's time for ya.
Also huge congrats to the word “tomfoolery” for beating out “dingus” as the best favorite word in last week’s poll. If you are in personally in touch with the words webinar or pandiculation, both of whom received nary a vote, please check in with them this weekend.
Question of the week
Today's question is a simple one: you've got two hours to kill so you're gonna walk around and listen to music. You can only listen to one band or singer and you have to hit "shuffle all" to play through ALL their songs at random (NO SKIPS) - who do you pick?
In other words whose music do you feel most confident to shuffle through KNOWING that no matter what song you get, it's gonna be a banger.
Leave a comment and share your jesus shufflesworth with the world.
My answer is…
For the last few months my answer has been, no question, Florence and the Machine.
I fucking love them. Everything about the Florence’s voice and the band’s ballad orchestral rock to the dingalingaling beats and the cellos and harps and maybe violins I don't even know. Listening to it makes me feel like I’m at church but usually I’m actually at the gym but regardless I know that no matter what song plays, I'm gonna start dancing and wiggling and jumping and that's all there is to say!
I'm also realizing that this female-led rock/techno/soul style of band is one of my fav genres - St. Vincent, Robyn, Sia, Maggie Rogers, Phoebe Bridgers, Japanese Breakfast all the way back to the First Song I Ever Loved - Torn by Natalia Imbruglia. At a hang with some friends recently we listened to the music of our youth and Torn came on and we all lost our shit - the men and women alike said THIS WAS THEIR SONG and that all of us fell in love with Natalie Imbrugz when that music video came out. That night we all started a text chain called "Natalie Imbruglia fan club” and its the best.
I'm not sure what it means that I generally relate far more to female singers and what they sing about but I've got to assume its a good thing and that I'm a good boy feminist and, just to clarify, THIS IS ALL ABOUT ME THE MAN WHO IS DOING GOOD WORK ON BEHALF OF WOMEN thank you so much where is my trophy, my check, my trophy that is a check?
Quick game for the audience -
Where do you think Natalie Imburglia is now? Guesses from the text group include Real estate, DJing, animal rescue, Life coach, metaverse real estate. I guessed that she owned a vintage clothing shop in the midwest but then was told she lives in Australia so I said yes of course I meant the midwest of Australia.
So what’s the answer?
She’s still a singer! She had a kid and acted in some movies and now is back to what she does best - singing! In the summer of 2021 she released a single called Build It Better which looks miiiighty suspicious given that the Build Back Better Act of 2021 was being voted on in the house and senate mere months later?
No way to interpret this but Natalie Imbruglia being a psyop for the Biden agenda.
Back to Florence and her machines
The entire new album is banger after banger. The first song - King - is prolly my fav right now. I feel like it captures so well this feeling of being in ur 30s and trying to balance family with art, mental health with the dark stuff you think you need for your art etc.
We argue in the kitchen
About whether to have children
About the world ending and
The scale of my ambition
And how much is art really worth
The very thing you're best at is
The thing that hurts the most
But you need your rotten heart
Your dazzling pain like diamond rings
You need to go to war
To find material to sing
I am no mother
I am no bride, I am king
Also wtf choreomania means what??
She’s got a song on the album called Choreomania and frankly, it too is a banger. But wait there’s more!
Dance Fever was largely inspired by the somehow very real cultural phenomenon of choreomania: a dancing mania or dancing plague that took place between the 14th and 17th centuries that involved "people dancing erratically, sometimes thousands at a time. The mania affected adults and children who danced until they collapsed from exhaustion and injuries"!!!!!
Some highlights from the wikipedia page on Choreomania (bolding done by me for laughings):
They hardly stopped, and some danced until they broke their ribs and subsequently died. Throughout, dancers screamed, laughed, or cried and some sang.
Women have often been portrayed in modern literature as the usual participants in dancing mania, although contemporary sources suggest otherwise. Whether the dancing was spontaneous, or an organized event, is also debated. What is certain, however, is that dancers seemed to be in a state of unconsciousness, and unable to control themselves.
Often musicians accompanied dancers, due to a belief that music would treat the mania, but this tactic sometimes backfired by encouraging more to join in.
You gotta think that a lot of the diagnosing and analyzing of this dance mania was done through the lens of rampant sexism and classism, but from here it sounds like a bunch of people felt so shitty that they gave their bodies up to dance.
While we’re on the topic of badass women and the many ways a patriarchal society has failed them, allow me to please share The Matriarchy, a brand new newsletter that one of my best friends and most talented writers / great souls I know, Rae Katz, has just launched! Here’s a quick description:
The Matriarchy is a twice monthly dispatch of personal essays exploring and celebrating the female body and feminine qualities. Topics range from autoimmune disease and birth control to workplace dynamics and wealth seeking and self-worth and what living a good life means in our modern culture (alert: I have not solved this, no way, but I do promise to turn the question over and over, to peer around it and try to catch a glimpse of the many right answers). These dispatches include stories and research, drawing on thinking from other (mostly women) writers, always pushing towards radical honesty, and looking for moments of humor on the journey. These essays tend to be intimate; I will dig through the gritty soil of my own experiences for interesting questions, burning contradictions, and gems of wisdom.
Here, we will imagine what it could look like to live in a world where we talk openly about women’s experiences of menstruating and birthing and working in a feminine style, where we respect those experiences, even, or, goodness, where we admire them.
Here are two essays I LOVE with a snippet from each:
To put it simply, (and this is the subject of a lifelong inquiry, which I will treat here with one paragraph), the way I understand that seemingly insane decision to keep going despite everything is this: I had a subconscious sense that the scenario where I failed at my startup would somehow be even more painful than the current scenario of running the startup in a state of total misery. Because, stupidly, accidentally, predictably, I had come to equate myself with my work, so leaving meant inviting in an awful, empty, dark void where there was once self-worth. Leave and I would be faced with the overwhelming project of actually considering what makes a person’s life worthwhile. And the terrifying prospect that perhaps my own life was not.
The other day, a male friend of mine said to me offhandedly, I wish my body could get pregnant. He mused, I like being a man, I am generally happy with my body, but I just wish it could get pregnant. It was a casual comment, the ability to get pregnant framed as an interesting curiosity. Unexpectedly, I bristled, felt suddenly angry, tightened the muscles around my mouth to try and maintain a neutral visage. It was odd. Why should I care if my friend casually wanted to get pregnant?
But something about it stuck with me. As I lay in bed later, still thinking about the silly thing, considering my reaction, I realized why the comment plucked a tender string in my chest: a body’s ability to get pregnant, whether or not one actually carries a baby, is so wholly formative, the idea that one could just put a pregnancy add-on to a male body is a ludicrous fantasy. At a moment in the US when women’s right to an abortion is receding, women’s health is systematically deprioritized in research and practice, periods are still taboo, autoimmune diseases in women are reaching epidemic levels, institutional postpartum support for mothers is virtually nonexistent, and childcare eats up whole paychecks, the ability to get pregnant—whether one does or not—shapes one’s whole life.
You made it here, to the end, and for that you get a treat - I wrote this tour de force last night when I was half asleep and I think it might be the best thing I've ever done. I am sharing it here without any editing from the original. I hope you enjoy.
Untitled by Alex Dobrenko
i mean honestly I am just fucking tired. Like...the lights seem off. I don't feel TOO bad about that, but I do a little I guess. This sort of feels like a nice place to write from too, just hazy and lazy and wavy and weird, the words doing what the words will do, from here to there to timbuktu and timbuktoo too, a tutu for desmond, the guy in lost, the boys back in town, the town our town The Town with of course the great Benjamin Aflecks the heir to the insurance empire, what we call the ref in baseball a sport within which crying there will be none of, simply no place for it, crying, in the baseball, crying in the rain now that's a cliche if I've ever cheen one, two, buckle my shoe, shoe me the monoe, jason manoa the man the myth the legend dating zoe kravitz mom we know so much about their lives why don't they know anything about ours hey lisa bonet I once made out with three women in the span of a week can you believe it lisa? Let me know and tell your friends too, desmond, tutu, ta.da the keyword the magic the gathering the harvest the sintendo nitch, quiditch quid each for one itch .io hi ho the darry oh strawberry fields 4eva longoria
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Shouts & Mumus
Quick shout outs to everyone who recommended stuff last week, especially to Tyler Berbert for recommending the essay “The Anxiety of Influencers” by Barrett Swanson which I read and then re-read out loud to Lauren because it is so good + funny + fucking terrifying.
And coach kiki for sharing her story of seeing the Coen Bros first movie Blood Simple in a theater in 1984.
Imagine forgetting everything you know about film from 1984 until today. Now imagine it is 1984, NYC and you are in an half empty cinema watching Blood Simple. No one has ever seen anything like it.
PS - I will have watched Barton Fink by tonight so please tell your lawyers to leave me alone.