All posts tagged: Music

I Love Lorde and I Don’t Care That Everyone Else Does Too.


Over the summer, Max became obsessed with all of the different music streaming services available and spent hours endlessly comparing and analyzing the relative benefits of each. A side effect of comparing the services was actually using them to listen to music, and because we spend a lot of time in the car driving back and forth to Kingston, we’d end up listening to his new discoveries together until I’d make him turn them off. I’m grouchy when it comes to all sorts of things, but music especially, and once I’ve decided I’m not into something, I’m really not into it.

Things were different when Max “found” Lorde last summer, though. I guess she was already doing pretty well on Spotify but had yet to get any radio play, and from the second he started playing The Love Club EP, I was pretty much in love with this girl.

I know it’s kind of completely ridiculous now to sit down and write anything about a now mega-famous, super successful, and broadly loved teenaged pop star, but Lorde is so…different. So much writing—whether it be essays or song lyrics—tries so hard to be “universal” that it ends up just becoming incredibly generic, and I feel like that’s what so much pop music is: generic, vague, disposable, and boring. Lorde doesn’t necessarily sing about what everyone else is singing about, though—her writing is so beautifully specific and personal. She’s not writing about being a 16 year-old girl; she’s writing about how it feels to be living her life as herself at a particular moment in time, and she renders it beautifully. That might seem like the same thing but it really isn’t—whether or not the listener relates to or understands exactly what she’s saying is completely secondary to telling her story in the way that she wants to tell it.

Back in September, my birthday was spent alone in Kingston. Max had to stay in Brooklyn for some reason, the dogs were curled up by themselves somewhere, and I was spending the evening trying to manage all of the construction debris and garbage and clutter that had accumulated in the front parlor room after the destruction of the vestibule wall. By some amazing coincidence, Lorde’s first full-length album Pure Heroine had also come out that day, and I remember listening to it on repeat while I was trying to wrestle sections of vestibule into contractor bags, frequently going back over to my computer to replay certain songs and turn the volume up even higher. I know birthdays are supposed to be exciting, but I always tend to just get really angsty and sad, and matters aren’t exactly helped by being alone and surrounded by trash with the pressure of trying to procure a new roof and a new boiler before winter sets in weighing on you. Something about listening to that album over and over again helped, though, and made me feel OK. Almost 7 months later, it still sounds fresh and new and exciting to put on. It’s kind of a perfect album.


Max and I went to see Lorde at the first of her three shows at the Roseland Ballroom on Monday night. I loved her performance at the Grammy’s but I don’t think she sounded all that amazing—I’m sure she was nervous—and I was kind of expecting her to be good. Not spectacular, not bad.

WELL. This show? Incredible. We had general admission tickets and we were pretty much right in the middle of the crowd. Normally, this makes me sort of frustrated and anxious—I don’t like being trapped and surrounded by tons of people, and I always feel really short and like I can’t see anything, and the people around me are always pissing me off in one way or another. But there was just a completely different vibe at Lorde’s show. We basically got to know everyone around us between the opener and when Lorde’s set started, and it was fun to feel like we were experiencing the show with all of these people instead of just trying to block them out. We were packed in tight but nobody was pushing or shoving or making enemies. We were on each other’s team.

Digression: the one thing that totally detracted from the show was the broad use and overuse of cellphones to take pictures or record video. I get that people want to capture the moment and I don’t really see anything wrong with taking a few pictures, but when people hold their phones a foot above their heads and record video of entire songs, it’s is just so rude and obnoxious. There’s a whole group of people behind that person whose  view is completely blocked by the dumb phone, just so that they can capture a crappy low-quality piece of footage that they’ll never watch again. It makes me crazy, and I really hope my generation figures out that this is not OK behavior, or conducive to enjoying live performance. Don’t do it, people. 

Digressing from my digression: how does anyone take halfway decent concert photos with an iPhone? I barely even try to take pictures at concerts anymore because my photos are always, without exception, awful—even when I’m standing close to the stage. It’s like my special power.

Aside from the phones, though, the crowd was great. And Lorde was great. She sounded amazing vocally, and the performance was just completely enchanting. There wasn’t anything technically very flashy or interesting about the production (the lighting and her costumes were very well done, though), but that understatement suits her. When she wasn’t singing, she was personal, humble, incredibly charismatic, and just so cool. I do wish she had played a couple more songs off of the EP and done an encore and played for 7 more hours and come to give me a hug and let me take her out for coffee and let me join the tour and allowed me to play with her hair and tell her my secrets and become her BFF, but other than that it was a perfect concert. She’s going to be around for a long, long time, and I’m so glad we got to see her so early in her career. She’s incredible.

New Yorkers—if you have any way to get yourself to the third and final night of the show at Roseland Ballroom tonight, DO IT. You can usually scalp tickets around the venue or look on Craigslist. And here’s the list of her upcoming US tour dates! And if you don’t know what I’m talking about at all and need to be initiated, go do yourself a favor and download Pure Heroine.

I Like This: The Classical

I’d like to start making a habit of breaking up my regular blog-programming by talking about other stuff. I know I post about dogs and travel sometimes, but sometimes there’s something that I want to write about but end up feeling like this isn’t the right venue. But then I realized: the great thing about being the creator, sole writer, editor, photographer, and asshole behind this blog is that I can do whatever the fuck I want. And what I want is to sometimes write about stuff that I find beautiful or funny or interesting. Stuff that inspires me. Stuff I like.

There are few things I like more than my amazing friend Juliet Gordon and, more recently, her amazing band, The Classical. I’ve mentioned Juliet a couple times on the blog, like when she was part of my first Bertoia chair purchase and my street-found shell chair (she’s my lucky charm, I swear it.), but I never really talked about how terrific she is. We met in high school, but for some reason we really only became good friends at some point after we graduated, and then we became really good friends a couple years ago when she came to live in New York for about six months. Those six months were kind of the best ever.

Here’s a very fancy, very not-sober photo shoot we did one night in my Manhattan kitchen, you know, like you do. I don’t know what I’m doing with that curtain either.

Juliet is really a person who inspires me to just fucking go for it when I need a good push every now and then to pursue the things I want. I like having friends like that. But aside from being my close friend and confidant, she’s also an incredibly talented musician. When Juliet moved back to Colorado, she went ahead and formed a band called The Classical and they made an album. A really fucking good album.

Not to sound too fan-boyish about my own friend, but The Classical has been on constant rotation on my iPhone for months, and with school starting up again and my time on the subway increasing exponentially, it’s about to get even more playsI know nothing technical about music whatsoever, so I won’t even make an ass out of myself trying to stumble awkwardly through a music review—I just know what I like when I hear it. And so maybe that’s all I really need to say: I like it. And maybe you will, too.

If you like what you hear in the video above, I suggest you scoot your way over to go download the whole album. You can pay what you wish, too. I bought it for $10 because I figured that’s what an album on iTunes usually costs, but you can pay more or less or nothing at all, if you want. Hippies and their free-spirit pricing.

Think of how cool you will be knowing about this rad new band that other people probably don’t know about (yet). Go show everybody how much better you are than them by downloading yourself some good music. You won’t regret it.

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