this summer has been a series of close and distant struggles interspersed with a life of immense joy. here are some things i am enjoying:
Atlanta: The exploration of cool and uncool, making it and failing, safety and danger…this show goes so far and gives me a comfort in how uncomfortable and honest it’s willing to be.
Attack on Titan: Anime heaven. High drama, low logic, fly strange pacing, more questions than answers.
The Call podcast: great conversations with dope women. The lastest interview is with the homey Samhita!
High as Hope, new album from Florence and the Machine: I love how big and dramatic their music is in general. This album had lines that felt big, tender, and perfectly tuned to this moment in time. “oh/Jesus Christ/it hurts”, “grace/I know you carry us/grace/it was such a fucking mess/grace/I don’t say it enough/grace/this is the only thing I have any faith in”, “remind me that it’s such a wonderful thing to love”, “give me arms to pray with, instead of ones that hold too tightly”, “the loneliness never left me/I always took it with me/but I can put it down in the pleasure of your company”…and then these bits on the changing planet, changing climate, on safety, on morality, on surrender, that just feel perfectly timed, and perfectly sung. Florence gives me satisfaction in my Stevie Nicks place, epic witchy truth telling music. Florence sings in the scales of oceans and gods, both vocally and topically. She floods me with feeling.
The King is Always Above the People, stories from Daniel Alarçon: the homey has always written incredible stories and continues his legacy here, dancing in and out of his own history with touches of fiction and emotional, uncomfortable truths.
Lamp Lit Prose, new album from Dirty Projectors: I’m glad I listened to this album on a plane without distractions. Dirty Projectors is one of my favorite bands when I’m in a quirky soulful place. This album may be their most political to date, with songs about zombie apocalypse and “monsters eating their young” interwoven with dynamic and compelling love songs. They have lots of pretty sounds from their mouths, but continually choose to juxtapose those sounds creatively instead of resting in the beauty. They keep my attention.
M Archive, by Alexis Pauline Gumbs: AAAAAHHHHHH. I blurbed this book, and it’s only been out a couple months and I had to read it again because it’s that excellent. Visionary. Prophetic. Beautiful. Matter of fact. So good. Honest.
Pho, Ari Lennox: this is a sweet sexy album. lovely voice, cuddling lyrics.
Queen Sugar: I keep yelling Oh Shit at the screen when I’m watching this season. I love the ways they are adding layers to these characters.
Steven Universe, Vol 1: This show has amazing songs. This show is amazing. The degree to which people appreciate Steven Universe is a new measure for how much I can really like said people.
Scorpion, Drake: KIKI! There’s a lot of great music here. I felt personally invited into this album by the sample selections – Mariah, Lauryn, Big Freedia, MJ. He could use editing, but not because there’s bad stuff. There’s good stuff and great stuff, and he leaves a lot of that good stuff in, which keeps this from being a great album. My cut: Nonstop, Emotionless (that sample! that social media critique! line “hiding the world from my kid” line!), God’s Plan (he’s beefing at the level of karma), I’m Upset!, Sandra’s Rose (the beat is just rich and lovely), I’d There More (Drake on the edge of a meditation retreat), Peak, Summer Games (that 80s glamor shot space movie beat), Nice for What? (twerkfection – pleasure music for working women? yes, still on repeat), In My Feelings, Finesse, Ratchet Happy Birthday (I would just call it Drake Happy Birthday cause it’s not really ratchet), That’s How You Feel (I like the wordplay, the Nicki snippets, just the combative energy), Don’t Matter to Me, After Dark (I love all of this song, levels of love), Final Fantasy (bedroom threats) first half, March 14 (journal entries).
plus: seeing Janelle Monae in concert was great… her stepping into her queer sexy idol self is impressive and endearing.
plus: seeing The Carters in concert with my sisters was exquisite. I wasn’t sure how the narrative would land on me, but I was moved to tears and rooting for them and screaming and loved the surprises and the movie they made alongside the concert.