Tunes of the Week Edition No. 4

Published 5/14/14 by:

I love May for a lot of reasons. One reason is it means there’s about a month of teaching left for me. Another reason is that it’s bright enough to wear sunglasses when I leave my house at 6:45am. I can’t really explain how my disposition changes when wearing sunglasses en route to school, but my whole demeanor changes, and I just want to pump jams non-stop. Other than when the leaves change, it’s the only other time of year that I actually enjoy my commute. Here’s what I’ve been playing to start my day right.

 

Mikky Ekko’s Kids – This song was played in the season 3A finale of Teen Wolf. Yes, I’m endorsing Teen Wolf…look for a post on that later. This song is upbeat, and reminds me of Foster the People a tiny bit. This may only be applicable to me and my weird musical associations, but when I listen to this, it feels like a warm breeze no matter what the actual weather is.

 

 

 

The Lighthouse and the Whaler’s Pioneers – One of my most trustworthy musical advisors recommended this song to me after a co-worker saw this band open for Matt Pond PA. It definitely has a Vampire Weekend vibe, and makes me want to have a BBQ really badly.

 

 

 

 

Kurt Vile’s Wakin on A Pretty Day – I discovered this song last fall when I saw one of my favorite coming of age movies of the 2000s,
“The Spectacular Now”. This song is versatile in that I like to cook to it, drive to it, write to it, and grade to it. Also, it’s lengthiness lends itself to pretty lovely daydreaming. I’m so upset that I can’t see him perform with Jenny Lewis this summer. *Sighs audibly*

 

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On My Birthday: My 29 Song Soundtrack

Published 3/17/14 by:

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Tunes of the Week Edition No. 1

Published 3/15/14 by:

Listed below are the tunes that caught my ear this week. I’m constantly searching for new music via friend recommendations, iTunes recommendations, or from Pandora. I have to give a shoutout to two local radio stations as well, because they lend me some new ideas on a pretty routine basis: 92.9 WBOS and 92.5 The River. I’m hoping that if I can keep up a weekly post about new music that some of you may throw your new favorites out there as well. So, shall we?

Ray LaMontagne‘s new single “Supernova” – While Ray’s growly gorgeous voice still exudes from this track, the overall vibe of the song is something new for him. It has a tinge of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and just feels lighter than some of his other music endeavors. I’m looking forward to his new album “Supernova” coming out on May 6th, as well as seeing him in concert in Boston in May at The Blue Hills Bank Pavilion.

 

 

 

Coldplay‘s new single “Magic” – I keep saying to my brother that this sounds like a Chris Martin solo project, but I’m not complaining. Coming from the same vein as “Up in Flames” this is a bleak track that features Chris’ stellar vocals with what sounds like a synthesized drum. Call me a Coldplay diehard, but I’m really enjoying hearing this on the radio. Coldplay’s new album “Ghost Stories  is released on May 19th, and I hope to see them on tour for my fifth time.

 

 

 

Ingrid Michelson‘s new single “Girls Chase Boys” – This may not sound like a compliment, but Ingrid is my favorite soundtrack lady. She has had music featured on so many TV shows and movies that I adore, and her voice captures the feelings being visually depicted in an absolutely perfect and eerie way. This new single from her upcoming album “Lights Out” which will be released on April 16th surprised me in a fantastic way. This is more pop than Ingrid has ever been, but she still is showcasing those beautiful intonations in her voice! I can’t wait to see her in concert for the first time in May at The House of Blues.

 

 

What is everyone else listening to in preparation for summer concerts?

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Book Review: Lauren Oliver’s “Before I Fall”

Published 3/8/14 by:

Before I fall Cover

“There’s always going to be a person laughing and somebody getting laughed at. It happens every day, in every school, in every town in America – probably in the world, for all I know. the whole point of growing up is learning to stay on the laughing side.” (Oliver, 5)

 

You’re not going to like Samantha Kingston. Although she’s the protagonist in Lauren Oliver’s thought-provoking young adult novel “Before I Fall”, she’s difficult to root for. Why? Because she’s one of the “top four” most popular girls in her Connecticut high school, and the entire novel takes place on one day: February 12th, also known as “Cupid Day”. While some of you may remember Valentine’s Day in high school as a lonesome celebration that reminded you of how uncool you were, for Samantha Kingston and her BFFs, it’s the day where their peers become painfully aware of their popularity in a very visible way – by how many roses are sent to them. Perhaps you’re having flashbacks to “Mean Girls”, or perhaps you’re already turned off by the setting of this YA novel, but I can tell you this: “Before I Fall” will have you reconsidering most of the moves you made as a teenager, and maybe even some you’ve made as an adult.

 

On February 12th Samantha Kingston dies. This isn’t a spoiler because you’re made aware of this fact within the first page of the novel. What you soon find out is that Sam has to relive this day seven times, each time becoming more drastically different than the one before. This is where I, as a reader, became fascinated. There have been plenty of films, novels, shorts stories etc. that have tackled this idea of if you could relive one day how would you do it, what mistakes would you continue to make, and why? Lauren Oliver is making her mark on this existentialist’s dilemma by having her female protagonist, Sam, be a selfish, beautiful senior in high school, who continues to not get it right on her second, third, fourth and even fifth attempt at the same 24 hour period of time. This is a protagonist with flaws. Sam, as the narrator, makes the assertion that “Popularity’s a weird thing. You can’t really define it, and it’s not cool to talk about it, but you know it when you see it. Like a lazy eye, or porn.” (Oliver, 17)  Sam starts to question everything that she worked towards in terms of popularity, but she still makes lousy decisions time and time again. Some of those choices are a result of her being angry that she’s dead, while some of her choices become increasingly self-destructive and wild because, well, the consequence will never change.

 

As I plowed through this novel I considered what I was like at seventeen, and whether or not I would push the limits of what I could get away with, if I knew I was dead the next day no matter what. Would I unashamedly kiss the boy I always had a crush on? Would I go for cheap thrills like cheating on a test, skipping class, smoking in the school bathroom, or speeding recklessly? Would I become sentimental and incessantly tell my favorite people how much I love them, just to ensure they know before I am gone? I honestly don’t know. What I do know, is that as a seventeen-year-old I did not face the dilemmas or drama that Sam tackles in her seven tangos with February 12th, which made her moments of clarity and stupidity that much more compelling.

 

Book Grade: B+

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These Are My McDreamys

Published 2/10/14 by:

American Gentlemen

 

It’s the Monday before Valentine’s Day, so I thought I’d make you all privy to my list of the dreamiest American gentlemen. Honestly, this list hasn’t evolved much since 1999. Call me traditional. Ha! Who’s on your list?

Clockwise from the top left:

Miles Teller – The guy to watch in 2014! He was fantastic in The Spectacular Now, and his jazz-drummer film Whiplash won the top honor at Sundance this past month. He’s going to be in Divergent in March, and just signed on for a Scorsese boxing biopic.

Ryan Gosling – When does The Notebook 2 come out? Kidding. If you still think he’s just a pretty guy, please get your paws on a copy of Half Nelson.

Bradley Cooper – If you can manage to play a convincing newspaper reporter on Alias, and also be the token jerk in The Hangover then you may be on to something. Oh and he speaks French. Swoon-worthy.

Matt Damon – Cambridge MA native, who’s a few credits short of having a Harvard degree. That mega-watt smile, plus a screenwriting Oscar equals total dreamboat.

Ben Affleck – Double Oscar winner and Bostonian. He writes, acts and directs. He managed to marry the loveliest lady in the land: Jennifer Garner. Total catch.

Tom Brady – Yes he modeled for men’s Uggs that one time. All is forgiven. He’s the King of New England. He will go down as one of the top five quarterbacks of all time. And how about that chin dimple?

Kyle Chandler – I put him in the middle because he deserves it. Whether it’s Early Edition, Wolf of Wall Street or Friday Night Lights, he commands my attention more than any other actor on the screen right now. Also, he’s convinced me to bring winking back.

 

 
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