Music

Big Sound Saturdays: Spring and All

Big Sound Saturdays: Spring and All

It is spring. That is to say, it is approaching THE BEGINNING.

Yes, The Beginning. Welcome, spring! This mix sits squarely in the 10-ish year period of 1966-1977, plus an irresistible tune from 1987—the year of the mystical collaboration of Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt—and the wonky, dulcet tones of Josephine Foster in 2005. At its center, Merle Haggard’s “Ramblin’ Fever.” RIP!

Big Sound Saturdays: Tired Man, Vol. 1

Big Sound Saturdays: Tired Man, Vol. 1

Welcome, pals, to the dustbin of history; the never-ending tale of the Tired Man! The story of men being “fed up with it” is just called “History:” “Make it new!” quoth irate facist Ezra Pound, and modernism gets an audience! Fuck capitalism!, quoth Marx, and the dancing table becomes commodity magic! I know it’s glib to refract a broad moral history through the single lens of male fatigue, but what I’m saying is that these songs of men feeling bored and agitated and sleepy—mostly, obviously, because of a woman—cast a broader, and deeper, line when they get all shuffled together.

Listening to “White Privilege II” (Macklemore)

Listening to “White Privilege II” (Macklemore)

By now, you’ve probably heard the controversial track that Macklemore dropped a day or so ago: “White Privilege II.” The meandering 9-minute song addresses (among other things) white appropriation of black culture, his own burgeoning involvement with Black Lives Matter, his feelings about his role in culture, and what awareness looks like. Is it an earth-shattering piece of artwork that will change the shape and trajectory of hip-hop? Surely not. But that’s never been Macklemore’s schtick—he’s the posterboy of palatable rap, toe-ing the line of wholesome while borrowing the voice, the look, and the affect of blackness. And he knows this.