Welcome back, everyone. Last time, I mentioned that I thought 2017 was a pretty good year for pop music, and here I’ll get to explain exactly why I feel that way. Like I said on the intro for the worst list, there was a lot of diversity, and lots of artists outdid themselves, both artists I like getting a rare shot at the mainstream, as well as established hitmakers exceeding my expectations. I had to make several cuts when I finalized my worst list, but I also had to make just as many cuts here. As far as I’m concerned, that’s an indicator of a solid year for music.
Now, the rules for eligibility are the same as before. A song must appear on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Chart for 2017. And just like I made an unofficial worst list last year, I did a best list as well. Here it is:
Continue reading “The Top Ten Best Hit Songs of 2017”
Okay, so if you’re at all familiar with internet music reviewers in general, and folks like Todd in the Shadows in particular, then you already understand what I’m doing here. If not, an explanation: every year, Billboard Magazine publishes a list of the top 100 hit songs, the pop songs that, through a combination of sales, radio play, and streaming, were the most popular tunes of the time. They’ve been doing this since the late 1950’s, and going back through old lists of hit songs is an enlightening exercise.
Of course, I’m not interested in the hit songs of the past right now, but of the present. In general, the 2010’s have been a strange decade for popular music, in large part because pop music has had an increasingly nebulous definition during this time. For any number of reasons, including the dissemination of indie and underground artists, the decline of sales and radio audiences, and the eccentricities of streaming, pop has become less and less dominant in the popular consciousness.
Continue reading “The Top Ten Worst Hit Songs of 2017”
Well, here we are. I’ve said before that I intend to touch on different parts of culture and cultural criticism in this space, and so I’d be extremely remiss if I didn’t go ahead and review a Star Wars movie when the opportunity presents itself. Even without the sense of obligation, I’d still be interested, of course. I’ve been a big fan of this series since I was a kid, enjoying movies, video games, and especially the Expanded Universe novels that were out there in the 90’s and 2000’s. There was a major drop-off in book quality around 2005 or so, but you can’t have everything. And certainly once I got a little older, I started to see a lot of the flaws in the Prequel Trilogy that the internet has fairly well beaten into the ground over the last decade and a half.
With all that in mind, I really enjoyed The Force Awakens two years ago. It was a breath of fresh air, and although it clearly made a point of evoking classic iconography and set pieces from the Original Trilogy, I felt like it modernized enough of it to make its own mark. A light 9/10 from me, and I definitely recommend it to anyone interested. Certainly, I was interested at that point to see where the franchise was going to go next.
Continue reading “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi – A Movie Review”
What, me, schedule slip? Whatever, let’s finish this.
Welcome to Part Two of my thoughts on the challenges facing modern liberalism. I’ve already written as much in the first part as I did in two parts about conservatism, which either indicates that my perfectionist streak is taking over my writing, or else being closer to liberalism ideologically made me feel compelled to cover my bases better. Probably both. In any case, I’m trying to maintain an analogous structure to this two-parter as I did for the last one. Since last time I dealt with liberalism’s past and how it affects the present, today I’ll address what the Democratic Party is and how that affects the way it can move forward.
I’ve already alluded to the idea that Democrats and Republicans share lingering psychological trauma from the 1970’s, as well as old grudges that divide their coalitions. Today I’m going to expand on that thesis a little more. Before I do that, I feel like I should reiterate the importance of what I’m doing here. I do read the news and all, and with recent Governor’s races and special elections in New Jersey, Virginia and especially Alabama, it seems like the Party finally has something to celebrate.
Continue reading “The Future of Liberalism, Part Two”
Alright, so to break the doom and gloom that my usual political material involves, lately I’ve been tackling some cultural stuff. And it’s been a lot of fun, reviewing music and movies and not really worrying about the real world as much. But none of that weightier stuff is going away, and it’s time I finally discussed the Democratic Party and its likely future.
This has been an interminably delayed project of mine, I know, and the main reason is simple enough when compared with my thoughts on conservatism, which I got out in a timely fashion back when this space had a regular schedule. The fact of the matter is that I don’t really talk to many conservatives in my social life, so I wasn’t as worried about offending anyone in particular with my measured, but often bracing criticisms of the modern GOP. By contrast, I’m going to be walking on eggshells here, trying not to offend basically everyone I know with my critiques of the Democrats, who I think are every bit as broken as the Republicans, maybe more so. (To be fair, I’ve been just as worried about not doing the subject justice, but that’s another issue).
Continue reading “The Future of Liberalism, Part One”