There is no such thing as a typical Magnetic Fields album. Over the course of the eleven albums they have released since 1991, their sound and even genre has changed album to album and song to song. That said, their latest album, 50 Song Memoir, is like nothing else they or anyone else has released. While epic-lengthed albums aren’t a new development (their best known album, 69 Love Songs, consists, unsurprisingly, of 69 love songs), 50 Song Memoir is remarkable not for its length but for the fact that one narrative runs through the entire album. Each song marks one year in the life of Stephin Merritt, founder/leader/heart and soul of The Magnetic Fields, starting with birth and going right up to the recording of the album, which began on Merritt’s fiftieth birthday.
By Devon Chodzin ’19
After a particularly illustrious few years on records and on tour with Elvis Depressedly, Mathew Lee Cothran has put out another tape under his self-titled solo project via Joy Void Recordings. Cothran dedicated this tape, Judas Hung Himself in America, to his recently departed grandfather and father figure. The tape itself is as beautiful as it is haunting. Several tracks ask unanswerable questions: Where does our shame go while we sleep? (“Judas in America”) How do I give in with grace? (“Liquor Store”) You could move a mountain, but where would it go? (“Who Did Pull the Pin of the People?”) Likewise, Cothran uses Judas as a platform to grapple with his recent sobriety, especially in the tracks “Cherry High” and “Liquor Store.” In all, I’d say Judas is concrete proof that some of the most prolific artists create some of their most resonant works in the midst of immense trials and tribulations.
By Isa Mojares ’20
One of the things I’ve come to noticed since I got here to Kenyon is how much where we grew up/come from influences our taste in music. So much of who we are is shaped by where we grew up, and I guess it took me leaving my own hometown to see that. Last semester, a good friend of mine from back home decided to dedicate one broadcast of his radio show at Colorado College to playing songs by artists from Florida and New Jersey, the states where he and his co-host are originally from. Inspired by that broadcast, I decided to ask some Kenyon students about the bands and songs they feel best represent the cities and towns where they come from.
By the Blog Staff ❤
Our favorites from this truly exhausting year, 2k16.
Maddie Farr ’18
Best Album: MY WOMAN by Angel Olsen
Best Song: “Away Above” by Weyes Blood
Favorite Music “Moment”: JoJo releasing her first album in 10 years was the most exciting thing to happen musically this year, in my opinion. Her success makes me personally happy. I grew up loving JoJo, and seeing her incredible personal and professional growth on this album is awesome. Check out Mad Love., it is mad full of bangers!!!
Interview By Isa Mojares ’20
DJ: Heather Peterson
Show Title: REVOLUTION ROCK
Time: Tuesdays, 7-8 pm
For those of you who don’t know, Heather works at the college Bookstore. Officially, she’s known as the ‘Sales Floor Supervisor/Apparel Buyer.’ If you see her around, say hi! This past week, I got to sit down with her and her brother, Erik, to talk a bit about her love for college radio, and her new show.
Follow the jump to read the interview!
By Haley Shipley ’17
With 19 studio albums from three different bands under his belt, Ryan Adams has made a lot of music. He’s done everything from country/alt, to concept metal, to Taylor Swift. So which album is the Ryan Adams album that everyone should listen to? Which albums are just okay? Can you even rank a discography that changes tone and genre on a whim? Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean that this Ryan Adams fan isn’t going to try.
Also this is just my own personal opinion and will continue to change. Honestly, I changed the order of this list like 4 times just writing it. And don’t even get me started on how hard it was to only pick one song from each album as my favorite…
By Maddie Farr ’18
It’s basically impossible at this point to not be aware of our incoming environmental catastrophe. What were once theoretical statistics are now tangible realities, as temperatures rise globally, natural disasters intensify, and our coastal cities are threatened by the expanding ocean. This is our world, and the bite of it sometimes keeps me up at night. Which is why I fell so hard for Front Row Seat To Earth, the new album by Natalie Mering’s project Weyes Blood. The reality of climate change never leaves Mering’s line of sight as she sings of feelings as seemingly disparate from environmental destruction as love, longing, and iPhones. This is not a social justice album. Mering is not asking you to recycle more, although I’m sure she would appreciate it if you did. This is an album about how to get up every morning and keep living and loving, even when you are aware that within your lifetime you will experience environmental changes that no humans have experienced before. This is an album about the primacy of truth and love, and the ability of humans to survive change.
By Adam Brill ’17
Mariah’s album Utakata No Hibi was basically unknown outside the local Japanese Underground when it was released in 1983 on the Better Days label. It only began to generate buzz in the late 2000’s, when DJ’s started to drop samples of it. Throughout its over 30 year history, Mariah’s album has gained a mythical status, and listening now, it’s not hard to see why. Beyond the fact that it hadn’t been in mainstream circulation until Palto Flats reissued it in 2015, Utakata No Hibi is weird. Describing music as weird probably doesn’t tell you much, because well shit, most experimental stuff is weird. But, Mariah’s album is truly hard to pin down. Part of the reason I chose to write about this album is because it’s so damn hard to describe. So here we go…
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…”
Audrey Avril ’19
A chilly wind stirs across campus. The leaves start to shiver on the trees. Before we know it, we’ll be right in the middle of autumn. From brisk weather and hearty celebration to cold rain and solemn remembrances, fall’s got it all. What better way to get into the spirit of it all by taking another musical journey into the Unknown with Over the Garden Wall.