Concert Review: Same Trailer, Different Tour...

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     On the kickoff night of her "Same Trailer, Different Tour", performing at the Bowery Ballroom, Kacey Musgraves drove home a particular belief of mine; good country should be like good liquor. Each taste should land on the palate and linger in a dozen different provocations before it fades. You should serve it in moderation to appreciate the full effect. When you consume it in a crowd it should bear you all up into collective joy, and when you’re alone, it should make you think about every ex you ever lost.      I wasn’t sure what kind of crowd to expect going in; it’s the rare country show I hit up in New York, and I hazarded “folks who look like me and old white dudes.” I was part right. Before the lights dimmed...

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Music Review: Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience...

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     The dead roamed the plains and taigas and deserts and they hunted and they died. When we dug up the ground to build our towns and cities we found their trapped bones, and we crushed what we found and mixed it into our roads and our furnaces and our engines. When we grew and our ranks stretched out to touch the compass points, we journeyed overland to find more of the trapped dead, and when we found them we made terrific weapons to shatter them free from rock that knew no possible threat. The dead were limite, and we knew this, but still we burned and melted and refined into a million iterations that lingered in the air and the water. One day a man burned a handful of the dead into soot...

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Music Review: RED

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     RED is big. Bigger and more overwhelming than its predecessor Speak Now. It’s similarly overstuffed and sagging in places, but it’s carrying a bigger vision along with it.      Then again, calling it a “vision” might be a little misleading. Lyrically, Swift’s on the home field. She hasn’t exactly vanished in a puff of pink smoke and emerged as the millenials’ Joni Mitchell; her songs are still deeply hardwired into, and draw their lion’s share of power out of, pop’s chief supply of fossil fuel, i.e. love lost and found. And her torch songs and kiss-offs and steadily shrinking country sound (basically absent here) are back in full force. But the main difference between Speak Now and RED can be found in the credits; whereas Swift held sole writing credit on every track of the...

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Music Review: God Forgives, I Don’t...

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     When old pictures of Rick Ross working as a corrections officer leaked to the internet, it didn’t really matter. It’s the same reason wrestling fans don’t care that it’s all pretty much fake; high drama is high drama, plain and simple. Rick Ross has carved out a him-shaped space in modern hip-hop by way of his radical self-aggrandizing and reinvention, his drug kingpin persona buffeted along with a bullying flow you might expect to hear coming out of a cartoon anthropomorphic blunt. And with 2009’s Deeper Than Rap and 2010’s excellent Teflon Don, he owned it. Now, with the oft-delayed God Forgives I Don’t, the Bawse is back, and doing what he does best; it gets soggy and exhausting under the weight of the glossy beats and opulence, compared to the relatively tight...

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Music Review: Yellow and Green...

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     Human beings, with our slight frames and limited intellects, are prone to ascribing agency and intention to the random events in our lives as our way of coping with the unknown. Coincidence and randomness and the transitory nature of our lives don’t always sit well, so we take our emotional refuge whenever we can. Luck is an idea that grows out of this; bad and good luck, as if it inhabits the same elementary planes as oxygen or cosmic radiation, affecting all it touches.      I’m lucky to have gotten the chance to listen to Baroness’ Yellow and Green, a double-disc embarrassment of riches from the insanely talented Savannah metal outfit, enough so that as I write this and as I listen to it I remember how lucky I am to write for...

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