Playlist: Motivation for Midterms

by Lydia Felty ’17

Let’s face it: most of us are beat. The past week has illuminated just how incredibly little we’ve read this semester, we’re digging through backpacks and drawers in an earnest attempt to find the crumpled up notes that have to be somewhere, and anything is so much more interesting than the studying we’re supposed to be doing. I, for one, have taken to finding excuses to use Photoshop and am usually blaring music in an attempt to work up the courage to study. Because I’m such a nice person (and not at all because I’m trying to procrastinate), I have attempted to compile the perfect motivational playlist for you kind folks. In order to compose the the most inclusive list (and find an excuse to socialize), I asked friends what they listen to for inspiration before adding in my own picks. Whether the music will be a pre-study motivator or the background to a battle against coursework, I hope this playlist will provide a spark of inspiration to help get you through the last days until break. Continue reading

Break a leg to our newest a cappella group, Broken Legs

by Tess Dugan-Knight ’18

Names Alexandra Seidel ’18 (Lexie) and Jonathan Bornstein ’18 (Jono)

Hometowns

Lexie: New Canaan, Connecticut

Jono: New Rochelle, New York

Majors

Lexie: Undeclared

Jono: I’m undeclared too, but I’m planning on doubling in English with Creative Writing and Sociology.

What inspired you to start an a cappella group? 

Lexie: It was all Jono’s idea!! He had this vision and I wasn’t sure at first but he has absolutely killed it as president so far in terms of execution!

Jono: Thanks Lexie! I’ve always loved singing musical theater and starting this group seemed like the best way to do so regularly with people I love. Kenyon really is a great environment for being bold, and I like to think that a lot of the courage and ambition to start this group came from the community that surrounds me.

Continue reading

The Music of SNL 40

by Lydia Felty ’17

SNL 40 — a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live — opened with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake rapping their way through a tribute to past musical performances, from the Blues Brothers to the Lonely Island, and giving a quick overview of guests to come. As soon as it started, I knew we were in for a good show, and they did not disappoint.

jimmy-fallon-justin-timberlake-snl-40

Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon

After Fallon and Timberlake finished, Steve Martin led the classic host monologue, wondering aloud how everyone who had taken the SNL stage could be honored during the 3.5-hour show. He then answered his own question: “We leave them out.” Although they certainly had to be selective in choosing the night’s acts, they did an excellent job of incorporating a variety of great musicians, young and old. Within the monologue alone, some of the night’s performers — Miley Cyrus, Paul McCartney, and Paul Simon — were introduced, and the two Pauls sang a quick duet of “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” giving the audience a taste of the excellent music to follow. Continue reading

Playlist: A February Mood

by Adelaide Sandvold ’18

“Going Out” — Dinner

A trippy reincarnation of 80’s techno glam-pop, this song confidently coasts along with whispers, echoes, and beautiful melodies.

“Heartbreaker” — Alabama Shakes

Maybe it’s just because Valentine’s Day makes February a very love-conscious month, but this song—soulful, heartwrenching, and glorious—is the perfect soundtrack for this time of year.

“Con te Partiro” — Vampire Weekend

A newly beloved cover of a long beloved classic, Vampire Weekend bring a gentle reggae feel to this operatic tune. The added strings and angelic background vocals only make the song soar even higher.

 “haunt me (x 3)” — teen suicide

This song is an ode to the acceptance of melancholy. It is somber with a touch of yearning, but its upbeat drums make it irresistible.

“School Spirit” — Kanye West

As many Kenyon students are currently participating in the whirlwind of Greek life, this track is fitting. It also provides some good sass that serves to at least somewhat dissolve the monotonous tone of winter. “Ooh hecky naw” still remains one of the most relevant phrases out there.

“Little Fang” — Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks

With sweet lyrics and unique sound mixing, this track builds and builds to construct a thoroughly thrilling and playful tune. It’s hard to listen to this just once.

 “Prince Johnny” — St. Vincent

As it lilts along, this song evokes the colors of February—the pinks, purples, and whites that seem to drift through the air. Annie Clark’s perfectly pure but tough voice and the edgy guitars laced in shape the tone of this song into one that encapsulates the signature formidable beauty of St. Vincent’s music.

“10 Lovers” — The Black Keys

The squeaky synths in the foreground and pure piano in the back are only two elements of the rich production of this song. Its dark drums contribute to its depth and the lovely chord change at the bridge makes it feel complete.

“This Charming Man” — The Smiths

Lively, but with the usual aching provided by The Smiths, this song practically personifies the confusion of having a crush—a feeling already emphasized this time of year.

“I Can’t Stay” — The Killers

Here the Killers give us upbeat Caribbean flavors (complete with steel drum), while maintaining a wondrously delicate song overall. Hints of both euphoria and sorrow in Brandon Flowers’ voice contribute fantastically to the intrigue of this track.

If you want to hear these songs and more, tune in to Lady Life with Adelaide on Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST on the one and only WKCO 91.9 FM or wkco.org.

Breaking Down Bandcamp: Reviews of Free EPs

by Lydia Felty ’17

Once every three months or so, I face a crisis over how small my iTunes library is, even though I use iTunes for little other than loading my iTouch* with music for commute around campus. Unfortunately, as Chase Bank will happily text me upon request, I have roughly three dollars to my name. Three dollars can buy a lot — Justin Bieber Mint Floss (SkyMall, $2.99), the CD Songs Kids Really Love to Sing: 17 Playtime Songs (Walmart, $2.98), and Music Note Print Tweezers (Forever 21, $2.90) just to name a few — but not much in the way of actual albums. To satisfy my lust for a fuller library, I usually turn to the online music site Bandcamp, scouring pages of albums for anything that might fit my loose criteria: (1) a cool album cover, (2) an interesting name (for the album or band — I’m not picky), and (3) a “buy now” price of $0.00 or less.**

As a result, I have become a connoisseur*** of free Bandcamp albums and am here to share my brilliant wealth of knowledge with you. You’re welcome.

*Who uses iPhones these days? So 2014.
**Yes, I’m one of those people. Sorry.
***Whether or not this usage conforms to the technical definition of the term is debatable.

Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Soundtrack: The Nora Ephron Film Trifecta

1044155_619482788076310_617319336_nby Stephanie Holstein ’18

As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may want to go to the nearest theater to see the new romantic comedy released non-coincidentally in the middle of February. However, I urge you to save your eight dollar ticket and stay inside with a collection of movies that will leave you wondering how you ever understood true love before Nora Ephron—a screenwriter, producer, director, novelist, and wonderfully wise human being—showed you what it was.

In When Harry Met Sally (1989), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), and You’ve Got Mail (1998), Ephron gives us dynamic, interesting characters, beautiful storylines, and sincerely comical moments. She treats the audience not as mere simpletons who will sit through just about anything—which is how we sometimes feel when watching some of the more recent romantic comedies—but rather as fellow romantics capable of falling into these love stories ourselves.

(Coincidentally, you can experience all of this by attending the Nora Ephron-a-thon, brought to us by Cinearts, on Saturday, Feb. 14 in Gund Gallery! Scroll down for the schedule)

Continue reading

I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty

by Nick McGuire ’17

Fjm-iloveyouhoneybearJosh Tillman, the man behind the persona of Father John Misty, displays himself on this record an intensely earnest lover, swept up by his recent marriage in 2013. However, his aforementioned alter-ego is a sardonic funny-man who attacks music and its industry from a satirical perspective. After creating multiple dour albums in the ’00s released under the name J. Tillman and constructing two epitaphs that follow him on every publication—“He was Fleet Foxes drummer for awhile” and “had a spiritual awakening from mushrooms while on a roadtrip”—Father John Misty burst onto the scene with his 2012 album Fear Fun, a psych-folk experience of self-aware wit and Laurel Canyon sounds. And if Misty governed that album with his provocative yet leanly acerbic musings, the sophomore effort tilts control just enough for Tillman get a foot in the door and insist on bombastic love songs that are not completely warped by cynicism. Infused with a typical subject of love, I Love You, Honeybear thrives on the split personality confrontations of scorn vs. earnest that deconstruct romance in an atypical manner.

Continue reading