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reading writing

“Suburban Wars” in The Athenaeum Review

In my latest for the The Athenaeum Review, I looked at two titles in Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series, short books on single albums. I had some fun collapsing the intellectual distance between Nine Inch Nails and Arcade Fire in writing about their albums, Pretty Hate Machine and The Suburbs, respectively. Daphne Carr’s book on Pretty Hate Machine lands in my top three of the series, alongside Marvin Lin’s book on Kid A and Kirk Walker Graves’ book on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

You can read the review here.

Categories
reading

March Reads

Since limiting my reading time in January, I thought more time at home in March might challenge that boundary, but I stuck with my commitment and only read five books this month. If you missed January and February, they’re still waiting for you.

Bookstores could really use your support during the current closure, and indie bookstores especially. I personally love Deep Vellum Books in Dallas and Commonplace Books in Fort Worth, but I’m also partial because I have friends and roots in both places. Wherever you are, try to find your local bookstore and order from them.

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Music Year End Lists

Soundtrack to My Decade

For the past seven years, I have reflected on the year behind me through the music I loved (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013). I wanted to do the same for the decade, but had no idea how stressful that would quickly become (okay, I had some idea). The list that follows features 35 of my favorite albums, but at various stages of this process it numbered 100+. I even reordered every year and tried to imagine what my lists would have look liked for the first three years of the decade before I started this tradition. (Why am I the way that I am? Another reflection for another time…)

The point is, if you’re baffled by the exclusion of a particular album, it’s probably on my overall list somewhere. But the 35 albums that follow defined me more than anything else, and I couldn’t put the decade to rest without writing a few words about each.

All rankings are subject to change, so don’t hold me to any of this.

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Music Year End Lists

Soundtrack to My Year, 2019 (vol. 7)

As another year draws to an end, I take a moment to reflect in the way that I have since 2013: ranking and writing about my favorite music of the year. Taken together, these albums represent my personal trials and growth this year. I still have a queue of albums to listen to fully, but this non-definitive list does its best to capture something unique about the person I am still becoming.

For past year’s lists, see: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.

If you’re more of a listener than a reader, I won’t hold it against you. I’ve made a playlist of some of my favorite songs from the year.

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Music Year End Lists

Soundtrack to My Year, 2018 (vol. 6)

Last year, I started writing for DJBooth, a publication that covers hip hop and which I deeply revere. I wrote three articles in 2017 and set a personal goal to double that in 2018. I’m now ending the year with 14 articles written for DJBooth in 2018, in addition to my first academic article on hip hop and religion going live in Black Theology: An International Journal.

That said, I am here to honor my annual tradition of sharing my favorite albums of 2018, in hopes that you might find something you like and might tell me about something I missed. This was a year marked for changes in my personal life: it was my first full year of marriage, I earned my Master’s degree, and I returned to teaching this fall. I also found my music choices transitioning, as older favorites began to disappoint and new favorites replaced them.

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Music

Soundtrack to My Year, 2016 (vol. 4)

Every year, I like to reflect on the albums that got me through the year. In 2016, I spent more time trying to listen than talk, and I felt these albums offered the space for me to reflect and understand the nuances of the experience of others. Each title links to where you can purchase directly from the artist (in most cases), and a few of them are even free.

Categories
Music

Soundtrack to My Year, 2015 (vol. 3)

Music in 2015 was good to me. I like to reflect on the albums that impacted me over the course of a year to understand myself, and others, better. Continuing my yearly tradition, here are my top albums and what they meant to me.

Categories
Music

Soundtrack to My Year, 2013 (vol. 1)

I wanted to take some time to talk about the greatest year of my life so far, but I couldn’t find a way to do it without being sappy. So, since I love music and since this year gave us some phenomenal music, why not write about my year through the soundtrack to it? After writing this out, it seems I said more about the music than myself; I think it’s fitting though, since this music says more about me than I ever could.

Here are my 14 favorite albums of 2013. Yes, it would make more sense to choose 13 albums for the year 2013; but I refuse to let you box me in like that, world!