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Villains, Saints, and Queens of the Stone Age

Villains, Saints, and Queens of the Stone Age

This one comes to us from Caleb Stallings.

“Oh villain! Thou art condemned into everlasting redemption.”
William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

My friends always laugh whenever I say, “That’s it! I’m quitting Twitter. I’m quitting social media. I’m quitting smartphones. I’m quitting it all!” I’ve melodramatically announced this countless times in the past few years, and I’ve followed through with it just a few. And, of course, I always end up coming back. It all starts as a desperate measure: the weight of the hoi polloi becomes unbearable, and so I look to cast off the fetters of our moral-outrage-of-the-week culture. The…

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September Playlist

I didn’t know Jakob Dylan (and co) had been writing songs like that either…

Why I Invited Daryl Davis to Speak in DC

Why I Invited Daryl Davis to Speak in DC

There’s a scene about fifteen minutes into Accidental Courtesy, the 2016 documentary about musician Daryl Davis, that so blew my hair back that I immediately looked up his contact info for the purposes of begging him to join us at our upcoming event in Washington, DC.

The scene begins with a clip from Geraldo Rivera’s old daytime talk show, Geraldo, where the titular host is interviewing various families involved in Neo-Nazism and the Ku Klux Klan, the focus being on those who are “too young to hate”. Daryl is also on the show that day, presumably as a resident expert, albeit…

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Lust, Love, and the Gospel According to Kendrick Lamar

Lust, Love, and the Gospel According to Kendrick Lamar

A standout at this year’s turbulent VMAs, Kendrick Lamar performed a moving show and won several prestigious awards. Here’s a reflection on his latest album, written by Mocking-friend Sam Guthrie. 

Turning on Kendrick Lamar’s most recent album DAMN. is like tuning into a boxing match. You don’t just listen to single songs; you experience the different rounds of a fight where Kendrick and his demons pummel each other.

One of the most compelling bouts on DAMN. is between “Lust” and “Love”. “Lust” begins with a tired, end of the road Kendrick on the verge of falling prey to lust: “I need…

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Hated For Loving: The World According to Morrissey

Hated For Loving: The World According to Morrissey

There was a a lot of music that sustained and soundtracked my recent sabbatical, but none more effervescent than that of the man in question. Which seems fortuitous, as his is a particularly comforting voice at moments when the veil is pulled back on the human condition, as it was here last week. What follows is a slightly revised version of the Moz chapter in A Mess of Help, a personal favorite which I was pleasantly surprised had never found its way onto the site (in its entirety). So, if you have five seconds to spare…:

You cannot write about Steven…

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Where Glen Campbell Is Going

In honor of the country music legend, we bring you one of his great songs, written, of course, by the great Jimmy Webb. Webb called Campbell his “big brother and co-culprit.” He described Campbell’s stage presence this way:

Just thinking back I believe suddenly that the “raison d’etre” for every Glen Campbell show was to bring every suffering soul within the sound of his voice up a peg or two. Leave ’em laughin’. Leave them feeling just a little tad better about themselves; even though he might have to make them cry a couple of times to get ’em there. What a majestically graceful and kind, top rate performer was Glen on his worst night!

Sometimes We Do Dance: The Light in London Grammar

Sometimes We Do Dance: The Light in London Grammar

In the past, I’ve sneakily slipped London Grammar music videos into various posts on this site for little reason other than that I just really enjoy them, and I’ve written about their music once before, several years ago. Much of it is slow—a lot of silence accompanied by sparse, echoey thrums from Dan Rothman (guitar) and Dot Major (drums/keys), woven together by Hannah Reid’s almost operatic voice. (Starting off here by setting your expectations low; then you can be pleasantly surprised.)

Truth is a Beautiful Thing is the name of their second album, which was released on June 9. Needless to…

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Living and Dying with Rich Mullins: Reckless Raging Fury

Living and Dying with Rich Mullins: Reckless Raging Fury

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in a car accident at age 41. To commemorate this occasion, I am writing my memories of his music—not so much music criticism as memoir-via-music. See part 1 here.

You don’t often hear a singer downplay the next song on the setlist; you don’t often hear a chapel speaker downplay his achievements. But Rich Mullins was no ordinary singer, and he was therefore no ordinary chapel speaker.

After a monologue that starts at the 17 minute mark in the video below, Rich tells the assembled students of Wheaton College that…

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Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in a car accident at age 41. To commemorate this occasion, I am writing my memories of his music—not so much music criticism as memoir-via-music.

I didn’t know the signs.

Rich Mullins sang “Creed” as I and the rest of the retreat’s super-secret Prayer Team revealed ourselves first in a passion play and then in a sign-language performance. I flubbed my way through the signs, and I told myself—I remember this, though I admit it might be a little too on-the-nose to be true—that it was fine that I didn’t get the…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Eight Verse Thirty-One Through Chapter Nine Verse One

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Eight Verse Thirty-One Through Chapter Nine Verse One

This morning’s devotion was written by Sam Bush.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” (Mark 8:31-9:1, NRSV)

I was in the store the other day and…

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We're All Right? Phil Harvey Spector, “Sign of the Times”, and the Horror of Pop

We’re All Right? Phil Harvey Spector, “Sign of the Times”, and the Horror of Pop

The following was written by our friend, Rachel Gaffin. A version of this article was originally published in The Ruckus last September.

The year my brother Richard discovered rock and roll, his Christmas gifts shared a common theme: one uncle bought him a giant red Visual Dictionary of Rock and Roll; another bought him a set of AC/DC boxers. At the time a wide-eyed ten-year-old, I watched my brother the way he watched videos of Hendrix wailing out “The Star-Spangled Banner” in ’69: with reverence and a burning desire to imitate. Since the boxers weren’t exactly accessible, I turned instead to the…

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Chill, dummy—It’s Only Life or Death

Chill, dummy—It’s Only Life or Death

The first time I saw an audience simultaneously discomforted and reassured was at a P.O.S concert. After he sang one of his new songs, “Wearing a Bear,” he explained that the goofy dance he did at the end was for the day of his death (#ripPOS). He had done a different dance at every show because he wanted his tribute to be thousands of fans doing various goofy dances and posting them to social media.

P.O.S is the stage name for Stefon Alexander. As P.O.S, Alexander has released 4 punk-infused hip-hop albums and has achieved prominence in the underground rap community—especially…

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