It’s a crazy busy new album release day. Everyone else in the world is diving into the eagerly awaited new Béyonce album, Renaissance. As we’ve already established that’s not really my jam, but I am super excited for the Maggie Rogers’ album, Surrender and the new Amanda Shires’ album, Take It Like a Man. Plus the third part of Tedeschi Trucks Band’s 4 EP cycle I am the Moon is also out today. I have already written about songs from all three of those albums though, so I’m not going to talk about any of those today. There’s also a new King Princess album, Hold On Baby that I’m liking what I’ve heard so far, but I’m not going to talk about that either. Instead I’m going to share a couple of singles I’ve been digging this week.
“Night Moves” by Lissie
“Night Moves” is the first single off of Lissie’s forthcoming album, Carving Canyons, due out in September. Lissie is an artist who whenever I hear one of her singles I really love it and think I should check out more of her music and then I never, ever do for some reason. I really should remedy that because she is obviously someone I would be super into if I spent any amount of time with her work. I’m really digging the new song. It could not sound more like a Stevie Nicks song if it were in fact a Stevie Nicks song. That’s pretty much all I have to say about it, but I think that’s enough.
“Nick of Time” by Lake Street Dive
Ten years ago Lake Street Dive released the EP, Fun Machine, which was an EP of covers that helped springboard the start of their career. To celebrate the anniversary they are doing a sequel to Fun Machine this year. The first cover song they’ve released from it is Bonnie Raitt’s “Nick of Time”. It’s probably my favorite Bonnie Raitt song and they are the perfect band to do a cover of it, especially with Rachael Price’s vocals.
Writing this post this week is real hard because I feel anything but delightful, so indulge my whining for a few moments until we actually get to some delights. It’s kind of weird to be writing a post about delights while crying, but here we are. If you know me at all, you know that the Newport Folk Festival is my favorite weekend of the entire year. It’s the thing I most look forward to doing and really fills my soul to get me through the next year until we go back and do it all over again. But it was all snatched away from me because of stupid COVID and the fact that I’m a responsible human. For the first time ever we had a friend with us driving up and sharing an AirBnB. Unfortunately, she tested positive for COVID on Saturday morning after only the first day of the festival. So we basically quickly packed up all of our stuff and drove home with N95 masks on and the windows open despite the 100 degree heat. Let me tell you that was a long, hot, unpleasant drive. We could have not cared about spreading it and sent her home on a plane and then gone to the festival ourselves knowing that we could be incubating COVID, but we are not those people so we missed out on two days of the festival. I’m just so annoyed because literally I can count on my fingers and tell you the exact times I have spent time with anyone besides my husband unmasked indoors since COVID started and one of the few times I attempt it, it blows up in my face. I’ve missed out on so much in the last two years while everyone else has just gone back to living their lives, and one of the few times I actually try and let myself live a little despite COVID and it gets destroyed. Saying it’s not fair is a really dumb thing to say, but well it’s not fair and I’m mad at the world right now.
I don’t know what is in store for the festival as I write this on Sunday and it’s probably better for my mental health if I never find out what awesome surprises I miss out during the closing Sunday night show (update: it was Joni Mitchell who hasn’t performed a full live set in decades. I’m devastated to have missed it), but I know a bunch of amazing things that I missed out on Saturday and my heart is already broken. Paul Simon showed up as a surprise set closing the festival on Saturday. When he announced his farewell tour a few years ago, knowing that he had somehow never played Newport, I was so sure he was going to be a surprise guest that year. Then he wasn’t and I figured well that’s it. It’s never going to happen. But it did happen and I missed it. Sob!
So I’m sitting at home instead of the festival today wallowing in self pity and wondering if I’m going to test positive for COVID in the next day or two and hiding away from my husband and wearing a mask in all common rooms lest one of us test positive while the other avoids it somehow. Of course I got a big reminder this morning that this self pity I’m sitting in is pretty mis-placed because there are people I know dealing with much bigger challenges than me missing some live music no matter how much I love it. So I’m sending some prayers up for her and giving myself a reality check. So let’s end this pity party and try and find what good we can.
First up a few delights from earlier in the week pre-festival.
We record Jeopardy on our DVR and then just watch an episode whenever we have time, thus we are weeks and weeks behind. So in relation to what’s happening on the show currently I don’t know, but two episodes in a row that we watched this past week I got the final Jeopardy answer and none of the contestants did. I always feel super smart when I know it and they all get it wrong and to have it happen two nights in a row made me feel even extra super smart.
Cicadas. I’m not talking about the crazy overwhelming number of 17 year cicadas that we experienced in Baltimore last year. I’m just talking about your run of the mill cicadas that come out every year during the heat of the summer. We’ve finally hit that part of summer when they’re out, and I love hearing their hum early in the morning on my walk or in the evening. It’s totally the sound of summer to me.
The Mark and Sarah Talk about Songs podcast is just starting a season where they rank 40 songs to determine the most Lilith Fair song of them all. They switched up their format to exclusively do these ranking seasons, and this is their second one. I miss the original format where they used to just talk about a random song each episode and then do a ranking of songs from a particular album every 10th episode and then in March do a larger ranking tournament on a topic, which is what they are doing all the time now. Even though I’m less into the new format, I still like the podcast and am particularly looking forward to this Lilith Fair season that starts for real on the day I’m posting this. They had one short intro episode to the season last week, but this week’s episode starts the actual rankings.
And now onto a few delights I experienced at the extremely short time I got to be at the Newport Folk Festival this year.
I made sure to get my lobster roll right away this year. Last year I missed out because the little sandwich shop/ice cream place right by the ferry we take to and from the festival where I used to grab a late dinner from some nights after we got back over on the ferry closed during the pandemic. There’s more like a real restaurant that just opened in that space this year. There was some temporary sandwich place in there last year that didn’t have a lobster roll. I refuse to eat a lobster roll at the actual festival because it seems too dicey to eat something like that in the hot sun. Anyway, this year after we got in on Thursday night, we got dinner from a place that is down the road from where my sister-in-law used to live because I know that they have a lobster roll I enjoy. So I checked that off my list right away.
Every year we have gone to the festival there has been this other couple that sets up their blanket and chairs in very near proximity to us. In the 10 years we’ve been going, we’ve never actually spoken with them, but I always see them and they have been my secret festival friends in my head all these years and it makes me happy whenever I see them. I spotted them for the first time this year waiting in the merch line where I made a beeline as soon as the gates opened while my husband went and snagged our normal spot. When I got there he told me the empty chairs in front of us were indeed those of our festival friends who apparently saw him setting up and were like oh it’s you. We sit by you every year. So then I chatted with them when they got back and told them they were my secret festival friends and it made me so happy to find out that we were their secret festival friends right back. She told me I’m always dancing with her at the end of the night even if no one else is. I’m sad I won’t be there to dance with her at the end of this festival. I hope they don’t think we ran away and sat somewhere else instead.
Speaking of merch, I’m very happy that I was smart enough to go ahead and wait in line for merch on Friday as well as make it over to the Newport Festival Foundation membership tent to renew our membership that guarantees us the ability to buy tickets for next year’s festival because it’s real hard to get tickets these days otherwise. I would have been devastated if we didn’t have that guarantee and then failed to get tickets next year. So I’m glad I didn’t put that off thinking I still had two more days to deal with it.
The festival is held on the grounds of Fort Adams State Park, so there is obviously an old fort there. My friend and I were at the stage that is set up inside the fort watching a set and were sitting up against the fort wall where there was a little bit of shade still. There was a family next to us with two little girls I’m guessing about 6 and 3. The older one came over to us first and gave us little rubber band bracelets that she made. Then her sister came over and gave my friend a sticker. I guess I wasn’t cool enough for a sticker. Then she started telling us all about the ghosts and skeletons that live in the fort, but that we shouldn’t be afraid because if they tried to come out and get us she would kick them for us. It was very adorable. I love that the festival is so family friendly and you see newborn babies to senior citizens.
We stayed at probably the best AirBnb I’ve ever stayed in. The property itself was great and really well stocked. And she was super awesome when I told her about having to leave early because of COVID. She refunded us a little bit of money right away and then said that if the guests who were supposed to check in after us on Monday said they wanted to come a day early now she would refund even more of our money, which she just did. So in total we got one of the two nights we didn’t stay refunded. Obviously, she was not required to do any of that, so that fact that she did was super awesome and above and beyond since it meant she lost some money on our booking on a prime weekend. There were some other details that I would mention that would let you connect this post to her booking if you went looking, and since she asked me not to mention the refund in my review I’m going to leave it at that here. But I’m definitely planning on rebooking her place for the festival next year.
Hey it’s been another week. Let’s see what good we can find in it.
Arabbers. Arabbers are a long Baltimore tradition and something that at least as far as I’m aware don’t exist anywhere else. I like things like that that are so specific to a place. If you’re not from Baltimore you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Arabbers are vendors who walk around the city selling fruits and vegetables from a horse drawn cart. They have a certain cry that has been passed down to try and draw people out from their houses. There is one that visits my neighborhood and my street seems to be on his route back to the stables. So often in the evening I hear him going by. I like hearing the cries and the jingle of the bells on the horse as he rolls down my street.
First images from the James Webb Telescope. NASA released the first images taken by the James Webb Telescope this week. They were very cool looking. I know nothing about space and have no idea what any of it means, but it’s remarkable feat of human achievement. Also, I know several people who have worked on the project over the years, so mostly I’m happy that they finally got to see their work come to fruition when there are so many things that could have gone wrong along the way.
Reunion video. My mom’s side of the family had a reunion last weekend with her three brothers and their kids and grandkids. My sister and I were the only slackers that weren’t there. She because she couldn’t get away from work and me because with COVID I was not prepared to fly across the country to Washington state and then hang out with a large group of people. Even though I wasn’t able to make it, my mom asked me to put together a video slide show with photos of everyone plus my deceased grandparents and great-grandparents. I was very pleased with how it turned out, so hopefully everyone who was actually at the reunion enjoyed it.
Krispy Kreme donuts. I love me some Krispy Kreme donuts, but there aren’t any particularly close to where I live and I’m not interested enough to drive a half hour just to get one. One of my co-workers brought a box into work this week, so that was a nice yummy surprise.
No storm damage. This one probably feels a little bit like rubbing it in to some people, but we had some nasty storms blow through last week. I don’t know anything about weather patterns, but there is obviously something that tends to send the worst of storms north or south of the city. There are many times I look at the radar and see nastiness north and south of us, but the city being in a hole in the middle where we get light rain or nothing at all. That was again the case this past week where we barely got anything in the city, but there were crazy storms all around us that caused a lot of people to lose power for days due to all the downed trees. I’m glad we got to escape it and didn’t have to live without power for any amount of time.
Found Charmery card. The Charmery is a local ice cream place in my neighborhood. They have a stamp card that once you get 10 stamps you spin a wheel and get some free item. Most of the spaces are for a free cone, but you can also win some of their more expensive items like milkshakes, sundaes, and floats too. I walk by it every morning on my daily walk and the other morning I found a stamp card that someone had dropped the night before. So free stamp card to me that already had six stamps on it. It was almost like finding money on the sidewalk.
Hopkins Farm Brewery. There have been several farms in one of the counties north of Baltimore that have partially or wholly turned into breweries. Hopkins Farm Brewery is in Havre de Grace and not that far for my friends that live up in Harford County, though it’s a trek for us from the city. My friend’s birthday was on Friday and she wanted to meet up there to celebrate, so we braved the rush hour traffic and went up. Luckily there are scenic back road ways to get up there, so we didn’t sit in much actual traffic, but it still took an hour and fifteen minutes to get up there. Luckily with no traffic and the ability to take the highway on the way home it was just over 45 minutes, which is still long but better. That’s all to say that I very much enjoyed the atmosphere, but won’t be making a regular habit of hanging out there. They have lots of tables set up in the field next to the bar where you can get drinks. They also usually have a food truck or two on site, though you’re also welcome to bring a picnic just not any outside alcoholic drinks. There was a pizza truck and an asian noodle/rice bowl truck the night we were there. They also had some live music, which was just what you want for this kind of setting. Someone playing cover songs loud enough to hear but not so loud that you have to shout to hear the people you’re with. I always think it must be a little demoralizing to be the musical performer in that kind of situation, but that’s how a lot of people play live music for money as background noise. It was a really pleasant evening and something I totally do more often if it weren’t so far away.
And for your musical delight this week I have the first listen of Delta Rae’s Southern gothic music, The Ninth Woman. Delta Rae is a band I love from Durham, North Carolina. They did a Kickstarter a few years ago that went way beyond their wildest imagination and became the highest grossing indie band Kickstarter in history. They met their initial goal in under an hour, so they kept adding stretch goals over the course of the month that the Kickstarter was live. Their biggest stretch goal was write what they called a Southern gothic musical. They did a live event last Thursday night to share 8 of the 26 songs that will eventually make up the musical. It takes place in the lost Roanoke colony where children have been disappearing and the townspeople have attributed it to witchcraft. They have already condemned 8 women to death for witchcraft and now the titular ninth woman has been accused and turned in by her brothers, but it turns out in this case she is in fact actually a witch. I very much enjoyed what they shared during this first listen and am definitely looking forward to hearing the full thing and hopefully one day actually seeing it performed as a theatrical piece. I expected the live event to just be live, but it looks like at least for now you can go back and watch a recording of the event. So go have a listen if you’re interested.
There is way too much new music out this week. Lizzo’s new album comes out today, but no one needs me to tell them about that. Pretty much all the other new music out at least that I’m into is all stuff that are once and future Newport Folk Festival artists. So I decided to do a roundup of all the new music by my Folk Family, which seems fitting since this post will also have to tide you over an extra week since next week god willing I will actually be at the Newport Folk Festival and will not have a New Music Friday post for you.
“Fight to Make It” by Margo Price
Margo Price released the song “Fight to Make It” last week. She’s selling it on Bandcamp with proceeds of the sales going to a reproductive justice organization. Margo Price will not be at the Newport Folk Festival this year (at least as far as I know, but the festival is known for surprise guests so who knows). However, she is longtime favorite there. This song features two other fellow members of the Folk Family, the great and good Mavis Staples, and Adia Victoria who made her Folk Festival debut last year and will be returning this year. Apparently Margo had apparently been in talks with Ronnie Spector to sing the part Mavis now sings, but she was unable to complete recording it before she died. I can’t complain about Mavis being in her place though. Love me some Mavis and love this song.
“Empty Cups” by Amanda Shires featuring Maren Morris
Next up we have a lovely break up song by Amanda Shires from her forthcoming new album, Take It Like a Man. It features her follow Highwomen bandmate Maren Morris. Amanda has appeared at the Newport Folk Festival in many different ways including as a solo artist, as part of her husband Jason Isbell’s band The 400 Unit, last year with the two of them basically dueting, and of course with the Highwomen. She won’t be there this year, but Maren will be making her solo debut there. I’m looking forward to Amanda’s new album and seeing Maren perform next week.
“Cannibal” by Marcus Mumford
Marcus Mumford is putting out is first solo album, (self titled), minus the Sons in September. Yesterday, he released the first single off the album, “Cannibal”. In announcing the album he said, “In January 2021, facing demons I danced with for a long time in isolation, I wrote a song called ‘Cannibal’. “I took it to my friend Blake Mills, and we began the process of making this album, dear to my heart, called (self titled). It comes out September 16th 2022, produced by Blake Mills, and featuring Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Clairo and Monica Martin.” It is still very much a song that sounds like Mumford and Sons with the slow build that eventually bursts wide open at the end. I gather from what he’s said that the lyrics are very personal and at least to my reading of them seem like they’re about an inappropriate sexual relationship he was involved when he was younger. I obviously don’t know any details and don’t know how much he will share as he begins promoting the album, but that’s what it seems to be about. Mumford and Sons played the Folk Festival a few years ago. Marcus Mumford is not playing a set at the actual festival this year, but he is playing one of the after shows. I also expect he will show up as one of the friends in the Brandi Carlile and Friends set, especially given that she invited him out to sing a song from the album both nights when she played the Greek in Los Angeles. In addition to Brandi the album is also going to feature other fellow folk alum Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers and is produced by Blake Mills who will be performing at the festival this year.
“Talk” by beabadoobee
I’m wrapping things up with beabadoobee, who is now like a distant folk cousin or something. She was set to play the festival for the first time this year, but backed out a few days ago for unspecified reasons. There is nothing on her social media, in the news, or in the festival announcement about why. I sort of suspect it’s due to opportunities to promote her new album, Beatopia, which came out today. I have no intel to actually back that up. Who knows? She could be sick. She could have a death in the family. Whatever the reason, she will no longer be at the festival, and I’m super bummed because she was one of the artists I was most looking forward to seeing. I’m sharing “Talk” the first single off the album that has been out in the world for months because it’s the only song I’ve heard so far. I’m very excited to dig into the new album, but I haven’t had a chance this morning. So this is what I’ve got for you.
Time for my weekly roundup of things that delighted me in the past week. I can tell you it’s not this hangnail that developed today. Why are those things so freaking painful?
Ever since my cat got diagnosed with cancer I’ve been waiting for her to get really sick and eventually die. Luckily so far she’s been in pretty good shape since we started pumping her full of drugs to help with her symptoms and keep her comfortable. If you didn’t know her previous routines you would just think she was a healthy, normal old lady cat. But she has developed completely new routines from where she sleeps and spends her time. Every once in awhile she acts like her old self sleeping in our bed and doing stuff like demanding pets from me whenever I walk by her. She did both of those things last week, and I try to cherish them because I know they probably won’t last much longer.
I got a nice little ego boost last week when I got a recruitment email from another library asking me to apply to a position they had open. It fits very nicely with my skills, and is a job that I think I would be well qualified for and would probably enjoy. However, I do like my current job, and there’s no way I’m moving where this job is. So, it will just stay a little hit to my ego and nothing more.
It’s the time of year for lightning bugs. What a crazy miracle they are. So magical to watch. Like how do they even exist and why? I have many wonderful memories of trying to catch them as a kid. I don’t catch them anymore, but I find it no less fascinating to watch them twinkle.
We went on a work field trip to a local museum that is one of those old, rich people houses that is now a museum. It was fun to get out of the library for a few hours and have a little outing with my coworkers.
My church had a picnic after services on Sunday. I debated about whether or not to go. First off, now that I’m within the window of if I get COVID I probably don’t get to go to the Newport Folk Festival this year, I’m being even more paranoid about COVID than usual. Second, I just feel very disconnected from people at church these days. A lot of people I knew the best have either left the church completely since COVID or are just still doing services online, so while I recognize the same people there week after week now that I’ve gone back in person I don’t really know most of them. I’m not good at talking to people I don’t know in the best of times, and throw in paranoia about getting anywhere close to people and catching COVID and it does not really make for a situation where I’m getting to know new people. It was such a nice day out that I couldn’t say no to going, so I did and I talked to a bunch of people I didn’t know. So yay for me as long as I don’t have COVID in the next few days.
We went to the drive-in to see Thor: Love and Thunder on Thursday. I am a big fan of the Thor movies, even the first couple that everyone else hates and routinely rank at the bottom of the MCU. They’d show up in the top third of my list. I was not interested in it enough to go brave a movie theater again like I did for Maverick. I happened to look at the Bengie’s Drive-In schedule and noticed that for opening night they were going to be a doing a single showing of Thor. Usually they have Double or Triple features and the movie I want to see is one of the later ones, which I am too old to stay up that late for. Since you have to wait until it’s dark at the drive-in this didn’t start until 8:45, which was pushing my ability to stay awake. Going to the drive-in has long been on my list of things to do in Baltimore, but I never did it for one reason or another. I’m glad the pandemic finally pushed me into and that occasionally it’s an option for seeing a movie I want to see on the big screen even if I don’t want to go sit in a movie theater with a bunch of maskless people.
And now for your musical delights
Speaking of Thor: Love and Thunder. I very much appreciated the use of Guns ‘N’ Roses’ music in the film. It was pretty perfect. Though after pretty much solely relying on them to soundtrack the movie they threw a Dio song over the credits which annoyed me. Why not go with another Guns ‘N’ Roses song?
As I mentioned in my previous post WXPN is doing themed Throwback Thursdays programming during the summer. This past week they were playing songs from 1982 and one of the songs they played was Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out”. I have loved this song since I was a kid, but it’s not one I hear very often. I have a weird memory that may or may not be factual or something that I just made up. It involves me hearing this song in a K-Mart as a kid. That’s pretty much the memory, but I legit think of K-Mart every time I hear this song.
Momma somehow released their third full length album, Household Name, last week despite the fact that Allegra Weingarten and Etta Friedmann are only in their early 20s. This album is really digging into the pop punk influences of the 90s. I’ve already said that I am here for this moment of lady led pop punk guitar rock. I can add Momma to the growing list, which also includes the new album out today by renforshort. There’s not much to really say about the song I chose to write about other than the fact that I chose it because the video for “Motorbike” is apparently inspired by the movie Grease 2. So this one is for my friends who love Grease 2 and think it is the superior Grease.
Since getting into vinyl in the past year I joined something called the Magnolia Record Club. It harkens back to the days of Columbia House and BMG where they lured you in with 12 CDs for a penny and then you got sent a monthly CD that you had to pay for if you didn’t cancel. Like any good music lover of a certain age I definitely had a number of CDs I got that way. As I had no checking account or credit card at the time to pay for anything by mail I’m not sure how I managed all this, but I definitely know I figured out a way to get some CDs from BMG.
With Magnolia Record Club you can’t get 12 records for one cent, but you can get an exclusive record shipped to you every month. It’s definitely not for everyone because it does have a particular musical bent that is right up my alley. You’re not going to get sent the latest pop or hip-hop album. The albums can be exclusive to the club in a couple of ways. Mostly they seem to be vinyl pressings in colors exclusive to the club. There are also sometimes exclusive compilations though. The most recent record I received was an exclusive compilation of songs from NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.
You can join for a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee with a discount for subscribing for the longer period of times. I pay more to do it monthly because you get some additional benefits for the extra money. No matter what you can always swap out the monthly record for something else in the record club catalog if you don’t want whatever that month’s record is for whatever reason. If you join monthly, you can also pause your membership for a month if you don’t want to get anything that month. I haven’t completely declined an album yet, but I have switched things out a couple of times.
The month I joined the record was Amos Lee’s new album, which I had already pre-ordered, so I switched that out for a Leon Bridges album. I’m still a little bummed about that because I loved the look of the orchid vinyl that came through Magnolia more than the blue vinyl that I had already ordered. I swapped out an album by The Dip for one by Yola. I’m also going to swap out this coming month which is some tribute album to Brian Wilson by She + Him, though I’m not sure for what yet. I have in fact kept some of the records of the month. In addition to the Tiny Desk Concerts compilation I mentioned, I got Lavendar Days by Caamp, We’re Going About This All Wrong by Sharon Van Etten and Second Nature by Lucius. It’s a fun little way to add to my vinyl collection, and I like that I can do it in a way that I don’t get stuck with anything I don’t want.
One day it might be a delight to start one of these posts without feeling the need to say something about what a week it’s been, but let’s see what delights I found it anyway. This unfortunately isn’t going to be that week, and I’m typing this while seeing stories about the shooting at the Independence Day Parade in Highland Park, Illinois so it sure as hell isn’t going to be next week either. But to keep from curling up in a permanent ball of despair, let’s see what good I was able to find in the world last week.
I had several joys going to the Baltimore Museum of Art last week.
I had a floating holiday to use up before the end of June, so I took off work on Thursday. I’ve been meaning to get to the Baltimore Museum of Art to see the Guarding the Art exhibit, and since it closes on July 10 I decided I better use my day off to get over there. The exhibit is a really cool idea that I’m sure a lot of other museums are destined to copy. They hired some of their security guards to curate an exhibit of artwork owned by the museum. It was interesting to see what people chose. Some were pieces of art that related to their lives or things going on in the world. Some were pieces they found humor in, especially as it related to their jobs as security guards. After being unable to find Puerto Rican artwork in the collection, one person selected three small ancient statues and left the fourth pedestal in the case empty as a statement to encourage museums to be more representative in their collections. I liked reading about why each person selected the art they chose for the exhibit and being able to see some of the museum’s artworks in a new light.
This was my first trip to any museum since COVID happened. Even though I can walk to the Baltimore Museum of Art from my house and they have free admission other than for special exhibits, I don’t get over there often enough and certainly not since I still barely do anything indoors. Anyway, I specifically went to see the Guarding the Art exhibit and the special Joan Mitchell exhibit, which is ticketed. My last time there was shortly before the pandemic started and didn’t expect that a whole lot would have changed in that time, but I found some new permanent pieces that I liked as well as a Salman Toor: No Ordinary Love exhibit I didn’t know about. I had never heard of him before. He is a contemporary artist who was born in Pakistan, but lives in New York. His artwork centers around South Asian queer people. I was very taken with it. He has a very specific painting technique that I was fascinated by and would definitely be able to pick out even though I don’t really know that much about art. The exhibit is there until October, so if you’re in Baltimore go check it out.
I also really enjoyed the sound of being back in a museum. It’s something I had never really thought about before, but there is a certain sound of walking around art galleries on their wooden floors that involves the echo of your steps and the creaking and popping of the wood floors that stands out in the space particularly when a gallery is not crowded. It’s consistent across so many museums and I realized is part of what I associate with the museum going experience even though until I was away from it for so long I never stopped to think about it.
I got an advanced reader’s copy of Mad Honey, the new book co-authored by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. I could not put this book down. I read it for like 5 hours straight and only stopped because I really needed to go to bed. Had I started it earlier in the day I would have finished it in one sitting. As much as I read it’s been a long time since I read a book that I couldn’t put down like that. Also, I encourage you to avoid reading anything about this book ahead of time because I fear that at some point people are inadvertently going to start giving away something that happens about halfway through that I did not at all see coming and made me say “holy shit” out loud as I was reading. It becomes very woven into the second half of the book, so I can see people start to give it away without even thinking about it. I would almost feel bad telling you there is a twist, but by now Jodi Picoult fans should expect that.
My friends had people over for a pool party and bbq to celebrate the Fourth of July, although we did it on the 3rd instead so that it wasn’t a work night. Their neighbors usually shoot off fireworks, but since we were doing the party not on the 4th I wasn’t sure if I would see any fireworks this year. They too seemed to have their party on Sunday and set off fireworks, so I was happy to get a fireworks fix in.
One of my other joys at the party was at one point I was the only adult in the pool with all the kids. I was playing with some of them. A couple of them were hanging on me and one of them said to the other you have to share the adult. It cracked me up.
This past Friday my New Music Friday post was about Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul”, and I mentioned hearing it first in the Switched on Pop podcast. I decided to save this tidbit for my delights post instead of writing about it in my music post. I was having such fun listening to it because there were so many times I was thinking something and then they would start talking about exactly that. For instance, how I already mentioned that as soon as I heard the first snippet I thought it sounded exactly like Robin S.’s “Show Me Love” and then they talked all about that and how the songwriters for that song were given credit on the Beyoncé song. Then they started talking about why they got credit even though it’s not actually sampling the song, and I was like Blurred Lines case. Then boom that’s what they were talking about. There was a lot of me shouting yes and pointing wildly at my phone while I was on my walk. I get way into podcasts sometimes. I feel like there must be people who drive by me on their commute every morning and think to themselves there’s that crazy woman again. Anyway, a podcast episode obviously about music given the podcast that also weaves in some copyright discussions is tailor made for me. I am such a nerd, but hey I love what I love. And now I can add this example to my arsenal the next time I teach a workshop to students on music copyright.
I usually try to write about things that aren’t the big pop songs even if I really like them because no one needs me to tell them there’s a new Beyoncé song, especially when it’s almost two weeks old at this point. However, I am going to write about “Break My Soul” today for a couple of reasons. One, it is in fact new to me this week because I finally listened to it for the first time a couple days ago. Second, it’s a slow week for new music. I mean I could write about the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack that has every indie artist you know doing covers of 70s hits, but does anyone need that? I don’t think so. The second part of the four album Tedeschi Trucks Band’s I Am the Moon series is out today, but I don’t have anything to say about it that I didn’t already say about the first part. So here we are talking about Beyoncé’s new song because I have some thoughts.
It’s no secret that I am not a fan of Beyoncé’s music in general even though I 100% respect her career, her talent, and the influence she has had on culture. There are a handful of songs that I like, but on the whole she is literally not my jam. I actively dislike “Single Ladies”, which is still ubiquitous in culture 14 years later. Sometimes even if you don’t like something if you hear it enough it grows on you. That song never has, and I can’t escape it. Anyway, that’s all to say that all that is the reason that when I heard there was a new Beyoncé song out I didn’t rush right out to listen to it. I figured I would hear it eventually whether I wanted to or not.
The first time I heard it was actually only in snippets because it was while listening to the most recent episode of the Switched on Pop podcast in which they talked about the song. I knew nothing about it going into that and the first bit they played I was immediately like oh my gosh this song is very reminiscent of Robin S.’s “Show Me Love” , which is a song from the 90’s that I very much love. As has apparently been pointed out by everyone by now “Break My Soul” is very much drawing on the influence of 90’s house music, and I am here for it. I loved all the popular 90s music by bands like C + C Music Factory, Black Box, and CeCe Peniston as well as the aforementioned Robin S. so this is a sound I can get behind. Not to mention the sentiment of the lyrics. Let’s be real. This song is the anthem we all need right now. Sorry to Kate Bush who has weirdly so far had the song of the summer with a song from the 1980s. We’re moving on up with a new song of the summer that’s very influenced by the 1990s.