Music + Culture

Mix 07: Summer ’17 – Take 1

I may have a love/hate relationship with summer, but one thing I do consistently is make 10,000 mixes during the season. I’ll find any reason to make one. I’m not sure if I’ll share them all here, but I might share a couple at least.

This one has a very intentional chilled out vibe to it. The other day I surprised myself when during a conversation I admitted I love just doing nothing during the summer. What I mean is give me a pool, a nice adult beverage, and I don’t mind sitting still doing literally nothing. This might be the only time I truly am not doing something. So I made this playlist with that idea in mind. What songs could I turn on while relaxing by the pool and not get utterly annoyed by or want to change. The general idea was to be able to be floating in the middle of the pool without being able to touch any electronic device whatsoever. Just be in the moment and thoroughly relaxed.

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4 “Iconic” Lifetime Movies

A few weeks back while enjoying homemade pizza we decided to check out whatever was airing on Lifetime that night. Lifetime has a pretty great reputation for making a steady stream of movies we love to hate. In fact they are so popular Lifetime established a movie network that runs almost 24/7 showing them off. They have just become one of those things you can turn on in the background or watch all day long while laying on the couch. They are just so addicting.

The one viewed that night was Manny Dearest. I thought I could share some thoughts on it because rarely do you get a story about a creepy male nanny. There was quite a bit of humor involved in such a dark subject, but not as much as the classic, A Deadly Adoption, starring Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig. Instead I decided to revisit 4 truly iconic Lifetime movies from yesteryear. Lifetime movies have a few formulas, but the best ones are based on true stories that become even more dramatic for television. For this reason all the movies below are based on a true story (which happened accidentily).

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Birthday Playlist 2017

I’m not sure how this tradition began but many years ago I began making playlist for my birthday. They don’t contain music I’m currently listening to at whatever given age I may be turning (which actually sounds like a better idea). Instead they take a glimpse back into past years almost like a nostalgic road trip.

I try to choose a relevant year and look at the music most popular during that time, but this year I issued myself a little challenge. The formative years of life where we begin shaping who we are range somewhere between ages 8 to 18. We develop quite a bit before then, but this is the time we really try to explore who we are, what we like, and the world around us begins to dictate more influence on ourselves. Finding music that essentially defined me during that time turned out to be really difficult. There are so many sources and it changed so much over time no one but me could possible ever listen to a playlist like that.

So the playlist I ended up coming up with is filled with 90s music that I listened from like 3 to 13. I did this entirely from memory trying to recall what CDs and cassette tapes I once owned, what my parents listened to frequently, and what takes up significant space in my brain. That said because music comes from many places there is tons missing from this. I didn’t want to self-disclose too much so there are a lot of personal songs missing because it became way too long (2 hours is already getting a bit long and it used to be about 4). No one is that nostalgic for the 90s.

Thanks to my parents for their influence, years of cheerleading routines, 90s teen movies, and the obscene amount of time I spent watching MTV for helping shape my musical taste during these years. While it seems wildly inappropriate for a child to listen to any of these songs, I’m pretty sure they made me the sparkling ray of cynical sunshine I am today.

Tracklist & Links below

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Music Monday Special

Monday’s are rough. Sure, it’s almost over but who doesn’t love a nice tune to listen to? Or in this case a few tunes. These are just a few songs I’m enjoying right now. A couple are brand new and others I just listen to quite a lot.

Music is definitely going to keep me going through the 4 papers I have to write this week. Yikes…

What I’m Listening To, Volume 2

I don’t really have a good theme for this month’s mix/playlist. Sure I could do “spring” but it probably would have ended up with a similar feel anyway (and I’ve done Spring Break). So I’ve just put together a playlist of stuff I’m really into lately. It’s mostly new music (songs or tracks from recently released albums) with a variety of genres.

Some stand out tracks include: Don’t Take the Money by Bleachers which I desperately want to hear in some kind of throwback 1980s teen movie montage, Heatstroke by Calvin Harris which is impossible not to dance to, and Third of May by Fleet Foxes which I’ve been waiting a billion years to hear. I can’t wait for this Fleet Foxes album.

Tracklist and streaming links are below. Enjoy!

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My Criterion Collection Selections

Wow that’s quite a few “tion” words, isn’t it? 

The Criterion Collection is one of my favorite things to ever exist. The Criterion Collection collects the most popular films and packages them with tons of exclusive extras for film lovers to enjoy. They are mastered for the greatest watching quality and new additions are made monthly. The collection has evolved as technology has changed and is currently available for streaming on Filmstruck. There is an expansive variety of directors, countries, and films to choose from.

What I love so much about the Criterion Collection are the exclusive cover art that each DVD/Blu-Ray comes with and I love the extras. They seek out commentary, extras, documentaries, behind the scenes footage and more to help the viewer enjoy the film with greater context. I’ve taken a lot of film classes and seen plenty of the movies available in the collection. I may also be guilty of marathon streaming movies a bunch I haven’t seen on Hulu Plus before they removed them.

One really cool thing Criterion does is allow you to create a collection online of movies through My Criterion. Make lists of films you own, a wish list of movies you want, and share them with others. Plus many filmmakers and industry members make their own lists to share with everyone when you need a new suggestion.

Below are 5 of my favorite films available on Criterion. There are over 150 films available so it was quite hard to narrow down just 5 (I have many more). I also have quite a bit of feelings about Armageddon being available on Criterion…but no one really wants to hear about that.

  • Band of Outsiders | Jean-Luc Godard (1964) – The French New Wave is one of my favorite genres to watch. Since Pierrot le Fou is out of print, this is the next best choice. The additional features in include excerpts from a documentary with Jean-Luc Godard and behind the scenes footage.

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Documentaries Worth Watching

It’s finally the weekend and time to relax by doing a whole lot of nothing. I usually spend time finding random documentaries on Netflix (there’s quite a few interesting ones about mysteries and cults if you like that kind of thing). I think documentaries are interesting because they give us a glimpse into worlds we may not see otherwise. As someone who loves learning I’ll watch a documentary on pretty much anything.

I have accumulated a few favorite subjects and specific documentaries. One of my favorite subjects ever in life is design. I would heart eyes emoji any time we watched one in my design class. Another subject I like is music. Not only does it give me a chance to hear the history of artists, songs or movements but I get to look at some things I might not have considered interesting before. Netflix has quite a few really good music documentaries if the aliens, conspiracies, and cults get old.

Below are some of my all time favorite documentaries. Aka the ones I talked people’s ears off with despite them desperately wanting me to shut up. Seriously I can talk about fonts for an unfortunate amount of time. 

  • Helvetica (available for rent on Amazon) – This documentary is about typography, graphic design, and the most popular (and recognizable) font. There are interviews with people who absolutely love it and those that can’t stand it. Its pretty surprising how widely used the font actually is from magazines and signs to television. I truly never realized how many places it appears. It also digs a little deeper into the people who create the fonts we use every day because they each have a story to tell.

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