About frecprince

probably listening to The National somewhere with the lights off

Staff Picks 4/21

Adam: Julius Eastman,  Feminine

Haley: Heroes––David Bowie

Isabel: Green Light––Lorde

Gabby: Loyalty––Kendrick Lamar feat. Rihanna

Julia: Sing Me Spanish Techno––The New Pornographers

Isa: Romanticise––Chela

Marc: album Nonagon Infinity––King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

Jeb: The Motorcycle Song––Arlo Guthrie

David: The Whistle Song––Frankie Knuckles

Steph: Morning Ride––Yellowman

Julia: My Kind of Woman––Mac DeMarco

Adelaide: There’s No Easy Way Down––Dusty Springfield

Charlotte: (is not on exec but published this article so) It’s All In Vain––Wet

Playlist: Here’s One, For Example

By Charlotte Freccia ’19

Inspired by this insightful WKCO playlist that traced the use of I Can’t Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles through decades of sampling in hip-hop and rap, I decided to take a look at the ingenious use of sampling in the discography of Kanye West. In eight masterful albums, Kanye has managed to sample from just about every genre and era of music in distinctive and original ways: what other twenty-first century artist could sample from Laura Nyro, Can, Public Enemy, and Michael Jackson, all in one sonically and thematically cohesive record? His use of sampling has become one of the enigmatic, protean artist’s only true signatures. Here, I look at the most effective and surprising use of sampling in each of Kanye’s full-length releases. As Rick Ross once warned/promised in his intro to Kanye’s legendary track “Monster:” “as you run through my jungles, all you hear is rumbles/Kanye West samples, here’s one for example…”

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+/- 2800 Words on Bon Iver’s 22, A Million

By Charlotte Freccia ’19

It’s hard to overstate my love for a little band from Wisconsin that turned big: anyone reading this who knows me knows that I am certifiably obsessed with Justin Vernon’s nom-de-band, Bon Iver. Anyone reading this who does not know me and for any reason doubts my certifiable obsession, I lead you to the love letter to the band I published on this platform last semester. As further proof that my devotion to Bon Iver has become almost religious in nature, I’ll let you in on the little secret that I am not only constantly designing and re-designing plans for one Bon Iver-inspired tattoo, but three (1). I know that I am not even yet 20 years old, but given how important music has been in my life thus far, I can only imagine that it will continue to remain a life-giving force for the rest of my time on earth. I will discover countless new musicians to which I will feel inextricably connected. If I am lucky, I will see those artists live, will own their discographies on vinyl, will meet them in bars or in the backstages of famous venues at sold-out shows. But in all my life, I can confidently say, I will never love a band like I love Bon Iver. I just won’t. I’m not sure how I know this. But I do.

So imagine my distress when, in September of 2013, Vernon made remarks in an Australian talk radio interview that hinted at Bon Iver’s demise. It had been two years, at that point, since the release of the band’s self-titled sophomore album, and about the same amount of time since I had fallen head-over-heals-irreversibly in love with Bon Iver. It was simply unbearable––thinking about the dissolution of my favorite band at a particularly vulnerable time in my life, when I considered them standing on a mountaintop, preparing to take the proverbial leap into what would surely be a dazzling, durable musical career. In the meantime, though, Vernon launched several exciting new projects––significant collaborations with Kanye West, James Blake, and Frank Ocean! the curation of his own music festival in his beloved hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin! two excellent experimental LPs with another band, Volcano Choir! the discovery and production of some promising young musicians on his label, Jagjaguwar! a super-goofy appearance in the video for Francis and the Lights’s “Friends!” Then, in February of this year, my heart stood still, when I saw this Pitchfork headline: “Bon Iver ‘No Longer Winding Down.’” It was only a matter of time before singles from 22, A Million, Bon Iver’s third LP and their first in five years, gradually made their way to release, as did the typographically cryptic and puzzling track list. And then, only a few weeks ago, a release date was announced. Me, I was putting the album’s first single (and opening track) “22 (OVER S∞∞N)” on all my playlists and trying very, very hard not to literally shit my sad-girl pants.

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Playlist: Come One, Come Deb Ball

By Charlotte Freccia ’19

Oh, Deb Ball. Oh, Deb Ball. Oh, Deb Ball.

That seems to be all I can say. It was said with a kind of defeated-but-still-wistful wink and sigh, if the implication was not strong enough. If I may, I’d like to quote from the event Facebook page:
JOIN THE LOVING PEEPS FOR A NIGHT YOU LOVE TO LOVE. DRESS AS U LIKE, BUT DAZZLE DEB, SHE’S BEEN WAITING FOR YOU.
MAKE NO MISTAKE DOE, THIS IS *NOT* A “CROSSDRESSING” THEMED EVENT. TRIVIALIZING THE STRUGGLES OF OUR TRANS OR GENDER NON-CONFORMING FRIENDS IN TODAY’S WORLD IS NOT DEB’S INTENT. THE PEEPS ARE A SAFE, INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY. THE “THEME” IS MERCURY IN RETROGRADE. THE THEME IS SUP WIT THE 2020 PLAN THO LOL. THE THEME IS BLUE IVY CARTER, BIOTCHHHHHHH. WE WELCOME ALL, WE CELEBRATE ALL, WE LUV 2 LUV U ALL.

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Playlist: You Are The Dancing Queen

By Charlotte Freccia ’19

Is it Friday night? Are the lights low? Are you looking out for a place to go?

No. No. It’s Monday morning. The air is chill, the campus is quiet, that mysterious bruise you acquired sometime Saturday night hasn’t faded, you’re running late for your 8:10, you spilled a cardboard cup of steaming Peirce coffee on your sweatshirt, and visions of late weekend nights are dancing in your head. You’ve not yet quite come around to the stark realization that your next opportunity to dance, sweaty and enthusiastic, on a stage, table, or other elevated surface with your new best friends of lo these many minutes will not come around for another five days, at least.

Fear not, young co-ed. Here is a playlist that will make you feel like dancing and soften the blow of the weekend’s inevitable but always bittersweet departure. Turn on, turn up, and turn into a dancing queen in the privacy of your own, distinctly less beer-soaked home.

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros “PersonA:” The Sadness and Clarity of Losing a Zero

By Charlotte Freccia ’19

In 2014, a calamity struck the California-based indie-folk collective Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in the loss of their only female member, Jade Castrinos. Fans of the group lamented: gone were Jade’s soulful vocals, whedwardsharpepersona.jpgich added wonder and whimsy in duet with Alex Ebert, the band’s frontman and main vocalist, in infectious and iconic tracks like “Home” and “That’s What’s Up” and her significant feminine presence. Without Jade, ESMZ is just a group of eleven bearded, suede-hat wearing white dudes. Distinctly less inclusive, and less interesting. Even worse, the separation of Jade from the band became very messy and very public, complicating the twelve-piece wannabe-psychedelic pseudo-folk cult’s image of harmonic melody-making and free love. Real hippies don’t have occupational disputes, am I right?

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The Lumineers in 2016: We’re All Big Kids Now

By Charlotte Freccia ’19

I know it’s like the Number One Commandment of How To Be Good At Liking Music — Thou shalt not listen to, much less actively like, a band that got famous for having its song accompany an earnest, heavily light-leaked montage of a barn wedding on a Bing commercial — and being Good At Liking Music is very important to me but goddammit my soft, soft indie-dudebro-loving heart just can’t get enough of The Lumineers. I’m not even sorry that I’m not sorry. I liked them when they came out with their self-titled debut in late 2012, but back in those days we were in the thick of the (sadly) short-lived era known as “folk revival” during which it was a bit more socially acceptable to express admiration for bands that made liberal use of the banjo. I guess even then I understood, though, that The Lumineers were a little gimmicky and I imagined that their influence and playability would be short-lived. Nonetheless, I unexpectedly got pretty heavily back into the band this winter after The Stairwells performed an appropriately unironic cover of their cover of The Talking Heads’s “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” which I not surprisingly loved and which inspired me to take another listen (or 12) to the Deluxe Edition of The Lumineers and to get excited for the release of a second album by the Denver-based band.

I was happily surprised that this band subverted my expectations in the production of a––so far as I can tell––mature and nuanced sophomore album, Cleopatra, which was released last week. The leading single from the album, “Ophelia,” echoed the band’s breakout hit “Ho Hey” down to the dominant sounds of upbeat, Ragtime-esque piano and tambourine and the rhythmic group chorus. “Ophelia” remains a standout on the album, but make no mistake: on Cleopatra, the old blissfully ignorant, Americana-devoted Lumineers who sang of college-bar flirtation are gone and in their place are three disillusioned and vaguely existential twenty-somethings who make music with lots of spaces, lots of distance. The endearing group vocals of The Lumineers are gone; here, singer-guitarist Wesley Schultz sings alone and frequently of foreboding Shakespearian leading ladies who, like himself, are not quite sure what to make of their lives despite ostensible distinction and success.
Something I’ve long admired about this band is that their music seems crafted not for production but for live recording, and that holds true on this album. Its draftiness, its imperfection, feel newly melancholic and powerful on Cleopatra.  A friend of mine told me that this album makes her feel weary and grown up, and she doesn’t know if it’s because the last time she seriously listened to this band she was a sophomore in high school, but I think there’s something to that: the opening song, “Sleep on the Floor,” is a sunrise, certainly, but one that wakes you up alone and much too early. “Gun Song” is reminiscent of another yearning, slow-burning ballad by another Band That I Loved In High School To Which I Remain Unironically Devoted Though It Has Become Less Cool To Be So that was released this year with the word “gun” in the title: “Hold No Guns” by Death Cab For Cutie. Both seem to ruminate on the futility of love in the face of infallible sincerity. The album’s title song, “Cleopatra,” is thematically similar to “Gun Song” in that its hapless heroine, a beautiful and relatively successful actress, spurns a would-be lover despite her premonition that she will “die alone” (!!!). (Side note––I was disappointed with this band when I first glimpsed the cover art and saw there a notably white woman dressed in ancient Egyptian garb, but that the song is about an actress playing Cleopatra rather than the formidable (and distinctly African) empress herself makes this bit of cultural appropriation slightly more acceptable if eye-rollingly predictable from a band that would surely make Sun Kil Moon’s master list of “Whitest Bands I’ve Ever Heard”). The album closes with “Patience,” a simple minute-and-a-half wordless piano coda that sets the weary sun on this bittersweet set of songs that are musically and emotionally resonant and herald the emergence of the somber, disillusioned band that once made, so innocently, the song “Flowers In Your Hair” and now must acknowledge the hard truths of the life on the road.

Cleopatra is hard and heavy and much more complex than The Lumineers’s first attempt which is to say that it might be slightly more cool but a hell of a lot less fun to like the band in 2016 than it was in 2012.

PLAYLIST: Songs about Boys/Songs about Girls/Songs about Pablo

By Charlotte Freccia ’19

What’s in a name? For the past several decades, some of the most iconic songs being produced have been titled for, inspired by, and directed to unique, singular individuals. From Eric Clapton’s “Layla” to Kanye West’s Pablo, these individuals have been romanticized and come to represent a concept or an archetype rather than a person, furthering their mystique until the listener, meanwhile, is forced to wonder, “Who exactly is Alison?”, “What made Layla the inspiration for an extensive piano coda?”, or “What does it mean to be Pablo and what makes his life so distinctive?”

In honor of the release of Kanye’s newest monolith, here’s a playlist of songs spanning the decade about particularly noteworthy human beings. PS: if anyone wants to write a song called “Charlotte,” you know where to find me.

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QUIZ! Which Late-2015 Justin Bieber Single Are You?

By Charlotte Freccia ’19

This must have been Justin Bieber’s agenda all along: capture our vulnerable middle-school hearts with his soft hair, soft smile, and gentle vocals, lose his shit, insult notable historical figures from Anne Frank to Bill Clinton, piss in a mop bucket, become a collective cultural effigy doll, become Grown-Man Hot and star in a Calvin Klein underwear campaign, and then redeem himself by dropping three unquestionable bangers in rapid succession in the latter months of the Year of Our Lord 2015. His new LP, Purpose, is the Big Bad Biebs at his slickest, sexiest, and most adult, and the three leading singles (“What Do You Mean?” “Sorry” and “Love Yourself,” the aforementioned “unquestionable bangers”) feature three distinct styles and personalities. Everyone knows which girl they most identify with from the “Sorry” video (I’m the one in the yin-yang tracksuit, in case anyone was wondering), but beyond that I wonder, as one does, which track most poignantly speaks to my spiritual status in these early days of 2016––which just might be remembered, as 2015 was The Year of The Weeknd, as The Year of JB.  

At any rate, here’s a handy quiz that’ll let you know if you’re more “Love Yourself” than “What Do You Mean?” or “Sorry.” (And if you are, woof. You’re in my prayers).

Things with your hometown honey were left on a rather sour note upon your return to Kenyon. Now that you’re back, though, you’re being exposed to late-night Snapchats and drunken Missed Calls. Your former bae needs to know you’ve moved on, and you deliver the message as follows:

  1. You don’t. Continue to respond to the desperate Snaps (promptly, no less) while also flirting with the homies on your hall. Nothing wrong with keeping your options open, much less feeling up, down, and in between.
  2. Produce a glossy video featuring flexible dancers in fluorescent costumes in order to acknowledge the wrongs you’ve done and clear the air in the new year.
  3. Remember all the reasons your mama didn’t like your chosen partner and compose a subtly devastating kiss-off to remind yourself that you’re better sleeping on your own.

Pick your democratic-party candidate:

  1. Hillary Clinton
  2. Martin O’Malley
  3. Bernie Sanders

Second semester is hitting you harder than those eggs hit JB’s neighbor’s house. Papers, exams, presentations––it’s only the third week of classes, and you feel like you’re going to collapse at any moment. How are you coping?

  1. Spend an inordinate amount of time at Office Hours, asking questions about the reading material and getting specialized attention from your professors. As for that tough, complicated assignment that lacks a concrete description on the syllabus: make sure to ask your teacher: “Oh, oh, oh, what do you mean?”
  2. Try your best. Be earnest and energetic. And if it all falls apart, remember that it’s never too late to say “Sorry.”
  3. Remember the importance of self-love and take frequent study breaks to exercise, sleep, and recharge. Beware the dangers of getting caught up in your job!

Footwear of choice:

  1. Vans
  2. Timberlands
  3. TOMS

If you got…

mostly 1’s Congratulations! Your fluid attitude and curious nature make “What Do You Mean?” your spirit-song. Now, whether you’re the pleading, confused asker or the indecisive askee is entirely up to you.

mostly 2’s Your February mood is best expressed in bright colors, super-fly dance moves, and synth-wails reminiscent of elephant sounds: that’s right––it just might be time to embrace the ubiquity of the Biebs and get a little “Sorry” into your life.

mostly 3’s Aw, man. Are you okay? Seems like “Love Yourself” is the song you’re most connecting with these days. You’ve been burned; that much is clear. Remember that it’s okay to admit when you’re wrong and appreciate yourself a little.