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The Forum After Party at The Century Bar and Grill at Hollywood Park Casino- October 11, 2019 Directly following the show. All are invited!!! VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Details and sign up in thread!!!
HiHey EVERYONE!!! While I AM STILL trying to work out some last minute details- Busses to the casino are STILL a possibility I am working on, with emails being traded as recently as yesterday I am happy to announce the FINAL details for the after party! The after party will be held at The Century Bar and Grill at The Hollywood Park Casino. The Century Bar holds 200+. If in the event of more people, we can spill over into other areas, and their lounge, Raise is adjacent to the Century. We can also enjoy any of the games and tables the casino provides should we chose to do so. (If anyone does, may The Fox God be with you for luck!) Details- Flyer for the event Time and Place- The Hollywood Park Casino, 3883 W Century Blvd, Inglewood California Directly after The Forum Show. Venue Website and Phone Number- Website- http://www.playhpc.com/dining (Includes a "virtual tour' of the location) Phone number- 310-330-2800 Food and Drink menu- https://drive.google.com/file/d/10GG3wdmMnRS2vVd56z791yDz1nqPDfaB/view?usp=drivesdk Drink and Food Specials - 11:30pm to 1 am Late Night Happy Hour: $2 off draft beer or glass wine $2 off all appetizers $1 off all well cocktails Directions- Using Google Maps- https://www.google.com/maps/diThe+Forum,+West+Manchester+Boulevard,+Inglewood,+CA/Hollywood+Park+Casino,+3883+W+Century+Blvd,+Inglewood,+CAfirstname.lastname@example.org,-118.340854,13z/data=!4m8!4m7!1m2!1m1!1s0x80c2b6545d4575cb:0xb1eeeaa0c8fa6906!1m2!1m1!1s0x80c2b65c71b04745:0x927abaf881cacd88!3e0 NOTE- Safety has been a concern regarding the area surrounding the Forum. It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that everyone take some type of Uber, Lyft, or cab to the after party, and ride sharing is encouraged! Event Info- The Century Bar and Grill is an American Eatery, with standard fare at seemingly reasonable prices located just as you enter the casino. It comfortably holds 200, and we can spill over into the adjacent lounge if needed. It offers a late night happy hour. They are expecting us, will be playing a rock music program, and it should be a great place to gather after the show! Facebook event page- please check in if interested or attending!: https://www.facebook.com/events/1782820115358437/?ti=cl After Party Sign in sheet- https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1M41nktmeAbi_NdtxrGHYJcUk1LJ_FdiFAECKH2budKQ/edit?usp=drivesdk For the love of the Fox God, if you plan on attending, please sign up so that I may give a proper head count-estimate to the venue! Now, for some sad news (for me)- Due to work issues, and some real life stuff, I am SADLY unable to make it to the Forum or this party. So, I am going to rely on some of you to help ensure of its success. With that being said, I need some volunteers for the last minute work- Volunteers needed!! Day of the show- I need as MANY folks possible to hand out some flyers, and let everyone know about the party. Handing out Flyers- If you can print out some flyers, and hand them out on line prior to the show, it would be a great help! You can use the above full color, or this black and white version . HTWingnut has also pit together this business-card sized template , which may be easier for some people. HT Wingnut also suggested printing a few full size color flyers, and (politely and neatly) posting them up around the venue as posters for the event. There are MULTIPLE entrances, so every little bit helps! The Wonderful Journey Pops- Kmudametal will be escorting the Wonderful Journey Pops to The Forum!!! This will be their THIRD appearance at a concert or after party, with the first two being Legend S in 2017 and Innsbruck in 2018. Our idea was to set the Pops up at a table, take photos of them with the fans, and "LIVE TWEET" them at the party throughout the event. Kmuda can't do this alone, so if anyone can help him out, that would be very welcomed. Must have a working phone with camera and a Twitter account, and work closely with Kmuda regarding this. Safety of the Pops is also a concern, so known members or participants of the journey are encouraged. For anyone not familiar with The Wonderful Journey, or the Pops- http://www.babymetalwj.com/ Check out BM Wonderful Journey (@BM_W_Journey): https://twitter.com/BM_W_Journey?s=09 Video slideshow- There is a possibility of accessing video for a slideshow throughout the event. All that would be necessary is someone to put something together on USB, (hopefully on a loop?) and run it. You would have to meet with staff on site at the party, give them the USB, and get it set up through them. If interested, let me know below, and I can DM you with info as soon as Jessica (events at the casino) gets back to me regarding this. Liason with staff, assist with party- If a couple people just check in with staff as we arrive, make sure all is set, and most importantly, HELP EVERYONE gather together, it is VERY useful. Believe me, I did this for The big party in Hollywood in 2017, and organizing this crew is like corraling cats, but it helps everyone find each other, and is a GREAT way to meet everyone! MOST IMPORTANTLY- HELP SPREAD THE WORD!!- Involved in other fan groups? Let them know! Have a twitter and in touch with other fans? Tweet the party and flyer! On Facebook? Share the event!!! I've been posting about the event throughout the planning stages, but welcome everyone to join in- the MORE KITSUNES, THE MERRIER!!! If you are attremding, please respond and say hi bellow. If you can or want to volunteer, let me know in the comments- And most importantly... HAVE FUN EVERYONE!!! SEE YOU!!! -BRIAN
Shakira's MAGNUS OPUS "Donde Están Los Ladrones?" was released 20 years ago
Shakira with her Latin Grammys for Best Female Pop Performance AND Best Female Rock Performance In September of 1998, MTV’s Total Request Live made its debut and the Video Music Awards celebrated their 15th edition, the same month that Hole’s Celebrity Skin, Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals and Jay-Z’s Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life made their splash in the Billboard 200, all while Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing debuted at number one in the Hot 100 (and remained for the entire month) and Rush Hour ruled the box office in its way to become a sleeper hit and a classic. Of course all of this was in the United States, all while thousands of miles below another pop culture phenomenon was taking place, I’m talking of course about the release of Shakira’s forth studio album and her magnum opus: Donde Están Los Ladrones? (Where Are the Thieves?), which turns 20 this week. Long before Ladrones, Shakira debuted at the tender age of 13 with the low budget 1991’s Magia (Magic), a collection of songs she wrote between the ages of 8 and 12 and some other tracks written by her producers. Two years later, Peligro (Danger) followed with even less input from the singer and songwriter. The experience of making those two albums was frustrating for Shakira, as she didn’t have any choice when it comes to production or sequencing of the tracks, and as a result the albums received a very tepid critical response and bombed, selling around 1000 copies each, with the latter being barely promoted at Shakira’s request, as she moved into a bigger label and started working on her second debut album: Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet), released in 1995. The song ¿Dónde Estás, Corazón? (Where Are You Love?) was a hit when it was released as a single for a compilation album earlier in that year, which allowed Shakira to have the creative control she always wanted. The resulting album sold over five million copies worldwide (including over 500,000 in the US) and was praised by critics, who finally perceived that she fullfilled her potential as a performer and writer. After a successful international tour and a string of hits like Estoy Aquí (I’m Here) and Antología (Anthology), Shak was ready to move forward and conquer the world… however she need to find someone that could help her break into new markets. Cue to Emilio Estefan. The ICONIC album cover Emilio wasn’t just the husband of Gloria, but also the hottest producer of the Hispanic market at the time and the man responsible of launching the career of Enrique Iglesias and Thalía (and also Gloria, of course), and as such he was the most capable person to move Shakira into the next phase of her blossoming career: Worldwide domination. Shakira caught Emilio’s attention and immediately offered himself to work on her next album, but Shakira only agreed to if she was given full creative control of the record, conditions that Emilio accepted. The title of the record was inspired by one of Shakira's trips to the capital of her native country Colombia. At the El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, after finishing her Tour Pies Descalzos, part of her luggage was stolen, including a briefcase that contained all the lyrics Shakira had been working on for the album, which forced her to work from scratch, not before she suffered from writer’s block, resulting from the impotence of the robbery itself: “I came to the conclusion that there are all types of thieves. A thief is not just a person who takes a physical object that doesn't belong to him or her. There are thieves who steal feelings, space, time, dreams, and rights”. The album cover, a picture of her with dirty hands and messy, colorful Medusa-esque braids, was inspired by the two interpretations of the album’s title: the literal “Who are they? What are they looking for? Where are they?” about the thieves and the more figurative one about how no one is free of guilt: “from that point of view, we all have stolen at one time or another, myself included. The dirty hands represent the shared guilt. No one is completely clean, in the end we are all accomplices”. Ladrones is mostly a Pop record, with Rock en Español (an umbrella term to refer to several kinds of rock music made in Latin America from the 80s onwards) influences and elements of Disco, Mariachi and Middle Eastern music spread through the record. Sonically, it has been compared to her contemporaries of the time like Alanis Morissette and Meredith Brooks, with the only similarities being the fact that all of these singers weren’t exactly traditional pop stars and they played guitar-tinted pop songs. The tracklist This is more apparent in the opening track and lead single Ciega Sordomuda (Blind, Deaf-Mute), which starts with Mariachi instrumentals before introducing a more standard dance loop and guitars as its background sounds, all while Shakira sings the iconic opening lines:
I run out of arguments and of methodology every time that in front of me your anatomy appears
A sarcastic and humorous track about the consequences of falling in love, Ciega was a huge hit when it was released, reaching number one in basically all of Latin America charts and the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks (a first for Shakira), aided by its surreal music video; and was also a critical success, considered one of the best Latin songs of the 90s and one of her signature songs. And with the iconic opening and the mariachi/rap bridge it’s easy to forget how iconic the chorus itself is:
Stupid, blind, deaf-mute, clumsy, useless and strong headed It’s all I have been because of you I have became A thing that doesn’t do anything else but loving you I think of you night and day and I don’t know how to forget you
As a curiosity, a full mariachi version was recorded as part of her Unplugged album just two years later. The second track is the rockier and angrier Si Te Vas (If You’re Gone), about how Shakira feels that her lover is planning to leave her for a “witch, ugly piece of leather” and she warns him what might wait for him if she decides to leave him:
A new broom always sweeps clean then you will see the worn bristles When wrinkles cut her skin and cellulite invades her legs You will return from your hell with the tail between your horns imploring one more time But by then I will be a million nights far away from this huge city, far away from you
Lyrics from the second and third track of the album The bipolarity continues with the third track and fifth single overall Moscas en la Casa (Flies in the House), a video-less tender acoustic-guitar-and-handdrum-driven ballad about the Shakira’s sadness suffered after her relationship fell apart and how she has to let herself go, while she continues to wait for him to come back. Inspired by her troubled relationship with Puerto Rican actor Osvaldo Ríos, 16 years her senior, the heartbreaking yet simple lyrics details how are her days without her lover:
My days without you do not have any nights If any of them appears it is useless to sleep My days without you are a waste, the hours have no beginning or end So short of breath So full of nothing Unusable scrap Trash on the floor Flies in the house
Shakira light up the mood a little bit with the forth track and single No Creo (I Don’t Believe) in which the dance loop, the unusual instrument (in this case an harmonica) and the rap bridge returns, as she sings about how she believes in nothing and nobody except her lover… ok, this one is a basically a reprise of Ciega Sordomuda, and it doesn’t help that the video shares footage with Ciega’s one (maybe both were shot back-to-back, who knows), but it still slaps:
I don’t believe in Venus or Mars I don’t believe in Karl Marx I don’t believe in Jean-Paul Sartre I don’t believe in Brian Weiss I only believe in your blue smile In your crystal look, in the kisses that you give me And no matter what they say Only you know well who I am and that's why my heart is yours Only you bend my reason and that's why wherever you want I go
Another global hit for Shakira, the song also became the first single from her Unplugged album just one year after its release as a single from Ladrones. Inevitable is the fifth track and third single overall, a song which had always remind me, musically speaking, to a The Bends-era Radiohead track. The songs showcases Shakira exposing herself as an imperfect lover who might have cheated before, who doesn’t shower on Sundays and cries at least once a month (especially when it’s cold) and yet she still loves her guy so much that it’s willing to change everything and fix herself, everything just for him to come back:
I have always known that it’s best when it’s time to talk about two to start with oneself You probably know the situation Here everything is getting worse But at least I’m still breathing You don’t have to say it You won’t come back I know you so well I will think about what to do with you later
Inevitable, which was used alongside scenes of its music video for a Pepsi campaign, is more famous for being Shakira’s first foray into English singing, as a rewritten version was performed in the Rosie O’Donnell show (followed by an interview hosted by Gloria Estefan) and the ALMA Awards as a duet with Melissa Etheridge. The songs was another top 5 hit of the album and have been performed in every tour ever since, albeit with a small alteration since 2011: The lyric “and I don’t know nothing about football (soccer)” is now “and now I know about football (soccer)” as a tongue-in-cheek reference to her relationship with Gerard Piqué. More lyrics! Even through it was only a radio single in a limited number of countries, the sixth track entered Shakira’s canon as her most controversial track: Octavo Día (Eight Day) is also the first track on the album that doesn’t deal with the subject of love, instead it revolves around the idea of God leaving us behind and what would happen with humanity afterwards. In some ways, it can be compared to Joan Osborne’s sole hit One of Us, however the song’s social commentary leaves behind any comparison it can be made to the theme song to Joan of Arcadia. The song begins with God creating Earth in six days and taking a break from everything in the eight day by going “for a walk in outer space” just to come back and “find everything in a hellish mess” which leads Him to became just “another unemployed of the rate that is growing non-stop annually”, since then “there are those who have seen him walking alone in the streets” while “waiting patiently for someone with whom at least calm he can converse”. In the second verse, God “in the absence of occupation or excessive loneliness” leaves us behind as He went to another place, and left us with no other choice than to “worship Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton or Tarzan” as Shakira laments how our poor God “does not appear in magazines, that he is not a model, or an artist or from a royal family”. The chorus delves into social critique as Shak casually mentions how, in the meantime of this godly mess, “this world just keep spinning unable to being stopped; and here below, a few play us like chess pieces” while she’s “not the kind of idiot that lets herself convince” from stuff that even a blind men can see. The rock track, winner of the Latin Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, gained more notoriety during the Tour of the Mongoose (2002-2003), in which a very controversial background video played during the performance which showed Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush playing chess (with some of the musicians using Fidel Castro and Richard Nixon masks) just for players to later substitute the chess pieces for nuclear weapons, all while the Grim Reaper is controlling them like puppets… surprisingly she didn’t received the Dixie Chicks treatment and her career survived barely unscratched. In a later statement Shakira mentioned her reasoning for such a controversial performance:
“I think that we see war as a virtual thing and we even get to believe that bombs fall on top of cardboard cutouts and stuff like that, they don't. They kill real people, real children, real mothers and millions of innocent people. I come from Colombia, which is a country that has been under the whip of violence for more than four decades, so I've seen the consequences of war and I've seen the psychological damage that it does in a society. And I think that we're never ready for war. I just feel that there are always pacifist solutions, and I think that the leaders know the exit to the conflict, it's just that sometimes they don't want to use them, they just want to continue playing their little game of power. And I feel that us people have the responsibility and also the obligation to demand to our leaders to give us the pacifist solutions. […] I might be sounding like an old fashioned hippie, but I believe in pacifist revolutions and I think that we have to look for those solutions, otherwise there's no way to survive in this world. In the First World War, 13 million people were killed. In the Second World War, 40 million people were killed. I think that if a third war takes place, nothing is going to be left on the face of earth […] Not always do the governments represent their people. Not always do the governments make the right decisions, because the governments are controlled by just a few, and those few do not always represent faithfully the ideals of the people.”
Shakira performing Octavo Día at her MTV Unplugged concert In the seventh track, Que Vuelvas (To Come Back), Shakira let us breathe after such a heavy track as a pulsating and pounding bass line, another dance loop and a guitar accompaniment guides us through a journey in which Ms. Piqué wonders what would happen to her now that her lover, Ríos once again, left her. It’s very straightforward, sure, and kind of unambitious, but there’s a small element that elevates this deep cut above your average filler: the structure.
VERSE 1: It established the basics of the track right away. PRE-CHORUS: It builds up to some anthemic chorus. VERSE 2: Shakira blueballs us as another verse kicks instead, which shows us another perspective of the elements established in the first verse. PRE-CHORUS: It’s here once again. CHORUS: It finally appears and it kicks harder thanks to the buildup. VERSE 3: The history of the previous verses continues to move forward. CHORUS: Instead of just reprising the chorus, Shakira give us a surprise and changes the last bar to connect directly to the bridge. BRIDGE: This short interlude is used by the narrator for catharsis, with some tension being liberated after so much angst. CHORUS: Now the chorus comes back followed by a fade out which makes us wonder what’s going to happen next with our narrator… will she move forward? Will he come back to her arms?
Of course this reading might be too extra to some people, especially because the songs sounds suspiciously similar to Estoy Aqui, but I can’t really stand the fact that this songs its ‘this’ close to be filler, especially given its placement in the album. The following track is Tú (You) is Shak’s signature ballad and one of her most emotional and vocally demanding tracks. Although it begins as a declaration of unconditional love, it suddenly turns into another track begging her lover to not leave her again:
I give you my waist and my lips for when you want to kiss I give you my madness and the few neurons that are left My faded shoes, the diary in which I write I give you my sighs, but don’t leave me again Because you are my sunshine, the faith with which I live, the power of my voice, the feet that I use to walk My love, you are my desire to laugh I will not know how to say goodbye Because I can never live without you
The self-penned track, issued as the second single of the album, reached number one in the Billboard Latin charts and several other Latin countries. Because of the difficulty of singing this track live, Shakira retired the full version after the Tour of the Mongoose; but brought it back for her set in Rock in Rio and the El Dorado World Tour, albeit without the second verse. The title track's lyrics The title track, Dónde Están los Ladrones? (Where Are the Thieves?), is second non-love song on the album. The harmonica comes back in the guitar-driven song which criticizes the politic and social reality in South American nations at the time of the album's release:
They have seen them out there, seen them on the rooftops, walking by Paris, condemning in the courts With dusty nose, wearing a tie or blue jeans, you've seen them all on the covers, with nothing more to say
However, in a plot twist, Shakira points to finger toward herself in the chorus:
Where is the murderer? Maybe there, rolling around the neighbor’s courtyard and what will happen if it’s them? And what will happen if it’s me The one who plays this guitar or the one who is singing this song
Going by the song’s verses, everyone who had benefitted of the social inequity is part of the problem, it’s not enough to just point fingers. While 9 of the 11 tracks in the album are about love, the small glimpses we get from the Woke Shakira in this 2 sole tracks shows us that she’s far from being another average man-hater indie rock girl of the 90s like some of her peers… it’s not just the looks or the music, it’s how she portraits this sensibilities from different perspectives that makes her one of the greatest of the decade. Unfortunately for us, we reached the closest this album has to a filler track: Sombra de Ti (Your Shadow), a subdued mid-tempo ballad in which Shakira feels how a previous relationship keeps haunting her. Lyrically speaking, this track is amazing, featuring some of the greatest metaphors and lyrics in the album (“You must know that there are pieces of your mouth spread out all over this place and that I stumble every day with another old memory and a new gray story”) and the best opening bars in any heartache song ever (“I'm going to let my guitar say everything I do not know how to say myself, or maybe I should wait for this jeering clock to finish planning my ending”) but… the sing-talking in the verses and the way she sings the chorus sort of takes me away from the track… I mean, any other Latin pop girl would murder for this song as her first single in any given album, but in this particular album and surrounded by so many amazing tracks it just falls somewhat flat for me. The album closer: Ojos Así Fortunately, Shak decided to close the album with one of the greatest tracks of her career: Ojos Así (Eyes Like These), a middle eastern bop, which was released as the fifth single of the album. In the song, Shakira songs about how she has seen some amazing (“a heaven without Sun”, “a river made of salt”), unique (“a Saint in prison”, “an abandoned ship in the desert”) and weird (“a woman passing under her camel”) stuff, and yet, she still hasn’t seen anything as striking as her man’s black eyes:
I ask Heaven only one thing, that in your eyes I can live I have wandered around the entire world and I have come to tell you just one thing I travelled from Bahrein to Beirut, I went from the North to the South Pole and I never found eyes like those, like those that you have
The most impressive aspect of the track is the fact that Shakira actually sings in Arabic in several portions of the track, sometimes aided by an all-male chorus of course:
ربُ السماء , فيك رجائي (rb alsama' , fik rajayiy) (Lord of heaven, in you my hope) في عينيها أرى حياتي (fi eayniha ‘araa hayati) (In his eyes I see my life) آت ِ إليك من هذا الكون (at 'iilayk mn hdha alkun) (Coming to you from this universe *)*أرجوك ربي .. لبي ندائي ('urjuk rabiy .. labi nidayiyun) (Please, My Lord)
The Latin Grammy nominated, MTV VMA winning music video aided the song into becoming a huge hit in Latin America and arguably her signature 90s song. The track, which also won the Latin Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, actually has an (inferior) English version called Eyes Like Yours, with an unreleased video and everything, featured as the last track in 2002’s Laundry Service. This English version helped the song to become a moderate hit in Europe and a smashing hit in Romania of all places. The album Dónde Están los Ladrones? was a huge critical hit when released in 1998: Rolling Stone declared that it was ‘hard to imagine a singer barely into her 20s having written and recorded such an inventive set of songs’, MTV declared that Shakira ‘represents the kind of eventuality for which Alanis Morissette, Bob Dylan and Beck are all precedents’, Sputnikmusic called the album ‘the gem of Shakira's discography, and one of the best Spanish pop releases of the past decade’ and the NPR put it above Taylor’s Fearless, Mariah’s Daydream, No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom and Fiona Apple’s Tidal, among others, in their list of 150 Best Albums Made by Women. Ladrones was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album category, gave Shakira a Songwriter of the Year award in the BMI Latin Awards, a World's Best Selling Latin Female Artist at the World Music Awards and 5 awards out of 8 nominations at the Premios Lo Nuestro between1999and 2001 including Pop Album and Pop Female Artist. Shakira with an ACTUAL Grammy After its release, Ladrones was an immediate success in Latin America selling over a million copies a month after its release, however that success didn’t immediately translated elsewhere: in the United States it debuted at #141 in its second week of release (it didn’t sell enough to chart at first) and next week peaked at #131, although it spend a total of 11 weeks atop the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart; in Europe the album was a commercial disappointment and only reached above the top 75 in the Spain charts. Ladrones is Shakira’s second best-selling album worldwide with over 10 million copies sold (below Laundry Service’s 15 millions), including around one million copies in the US (being certified Platinum), which makes it the 9th best-selling Latin album in the country, one position below Shakira’s own Fijación Oral Vol. 1. In order to promote the album, Shakira performed across the world in different events and TV shows: Miss Colombia 1999 in her native Colombia, Con T de Tarde in Spain, Laura in Peru, Domingo Legal and Domingão do Faustão in Brazil and Premios Lo Nuestro and Latin Grammys in the United States, among others, all in a one year period as she prepared her next release: Her MTV Unplugged album. Recorded in the Grand Ballroom in New York just ten months after the release of Ladrones, Unplugged was her first live album and basically served as an extension and complement of the Ladrones era as 10 of the 11 tracks in the live release were from the Ladrones album with Si Te Vas being substituted with early single Estoy Aquí. Unplugged was a huge hit (selling over a million copies worldwide) and was a critical success in English-speaking markets, winning an actual Grammy, not a Latin Grammy, but a real Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album, the third Unplugged release to win a Grammy after Eric Clapton and Nirvana’s albums. Her first of many live albums: MTV Unplugged After the release of Unplugged in February 2000, Shakira embarked in her second international tour, Tour Anfibio (Amphibious Tour) to promote both the live album and Ladrones. In The Tour Anfibio she performed for a two-month period (between March and May) a total of 21 concerts in 12 countries, including four dates in Argentine’s Luna Park (playing for almost 40,000 people), 3 dates in the United States (in San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center, Anaheim’s Honda Center and Miami’s Miami Arena, all with capacities for over 10,000 people) and a sole date in Colombia. Despite the short duration of the tour (it had less than one third of the dates of her previous tour), it was a commercial success. After the inicial success of Ladrones, Gloria Estefan tried to convince Shakira of releasing a English translated version of the album, offering to translate herself Ojos Así to show it could be done (hence she was credited as a writer in the English version released later), which made Shakira start doing it herself… that was until she decided to better start anew and give herself some time to study the language, subsequently the sessions that were supposed to start in January of 1999 were cancelled and Shakira wouldn’t start working in the Ladrones follow-up until the next year, writing English tracks with a "dictionary in one hand and a thesaurus in the other"; the resulting album was Laundry Service and we all know how that turned out and what happened afterward. Shakira during her Anfibio Tour Donde Estan Los Ladrones? Is a fantastic listening from beginning to end, with every track offering something unique: either an iconic lyric, a moment of musical brilliance or a shocking combination of both, with the sudden realization that she was just 21 when the album was unleashed to the world; Ladrones is very obviously a 90s album, but that’s not a detriment to how enjoyable and relatable it is up to this day, and how well and tightly produced it is. Despite lacking thematic cohesion, it doesn’t need it (not every album has to be The Wall) to shock and awe with its sonically delicious palette of Latin rock pop sounds and poetic lyrics. Each track (with an obvious exception, a 7/10 for me) is at least a 9/10 with several tens in the middle. As much as I love Shakira, I’ve always though it was a shame that this was her creative peak… not that she isn’t still great but none of her later albums have reached the same heights, although several of her subsequent tracks are obviously deserving of their acclaim and even some albums have come somewhat close of Ladrones.
Last year I listened to and wrote small reviews on Pitchfork's top 50 of 2017, which can be read here. It was a lot of fun and I found a ton of new music I wouldn't have discovered otherwise. I will still do the Pitchfork one for 2018, although I'm sure they'll have some of the same albums as this list on Uncut. I listen to the albums from 75-1, and to stay surprised, I try not to look to see what the next album is. I'll post Spotify links to each album in case you're interested. Will update the list as I finish each album. 75. Fatoumata Diawara - Fenfo (Something To Say): This album was actually pretty cool. If I'm remembering correctly, it reminded me a lot of Ibeyi's Ash from last year, which I enjoyed. This had a cool island vibe to it and was pretty upbeat (for the most part). She doesn't sing in English (except for a few parts) but it didn't matter. It was still a pretty refreshing listen. I kinda got annoyed listening to this and at most times I just really wanted it to end. Felt pretty repetitive and wasn't really into it. Personally don't think I'd come back to it but I thought the same thing about Ibeyi's album but I go back to that from time to time. Albums like this is why I enjoy doing these lists. I would have never thought to put this album on otherwise. 5/10. 74. Beach House - 7: Honestly pretty surprised this album is so low on this list. This hasn't been getting the proper treatment it rightfully deserves. I heard it when it first came out and I liked it. Beach House, in my opinion is the quintessential bedroom pop/dream pop band. For a long time they've put out pretty great albums. That could just be me reminiscing on my younger festival days. Beach House was one of the first bands I had ever seen play a festival. I think Pitchfork in 2010. Anyway, I don't think it's as good as Teen Dream or Bloom but it's a refreshing album nonetheless. Especially if you're into the bedroom pop stuff that's become pretty popular as of late (Jay Som, Soccer Mommy, etc). Pay No Mind is probably my favorite song off this album and is one of my favorite songs of the year. Lose Your Smile is great, too. 7/10. 73. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour: I've been a fan of hers since I first heard Same Trailer Different Park a while ago. Simply put, she writes good pop country songs. Little fun fact, Musgraves wrote Mother while she was tripping on acid and got a text from her mom which sent her into an emotional breakdown. Her lyrics are genuine and honest (although sometimes can be a little cheesy), but they're all very well written. I'm actually surprised this isn't higher on the list. It's a great, smooth, beautifully written album. Velvet Elvis,Love Is A Wild Thing, and Butterflies are my jams. 7/10. 72. Olivia Chaney - Shelter: I was really excited for this album. Last year, Chaney teamed up with the Decemberists to form Offa Rex. Which is a pretty great album as well. Chaney has a beautiful voice. It's like a lullaby. She whispers softly throughout the album and it's incredibly soothing and so easy to listen to. The musical arrangements in each songs are masterfully put together that you often forget to pay attention to anything she's singing. The whole album is pure folk music. It's poetry. The only downside is I almost felt bored and found it a little difficult to keep my attention throughout. Impossible and true/I wait/With feeling/Hold me down/Or let me go/Darling won't you/Let me throw a tender rope/For you, Chaney sings on Arches. And on Dragonfly, she sings As actors/On the wrong stage/With imperfect lines/My dragonfly beats it's wings/In vain, so high/I hope I don't lose my lines. Should mention that IOU gets an early vote for one of my favorite songs of the year. Paste said it best when they called this album a "Sunday morning record." While it was putting to me asleep at times, overall, it's pretty great stuff. 7/10. 71. Jon Hopkins - Singularity: I'm not gonna lie, when I read that this was a "microhouse" album, I kinda rolled my eyes. What kind of pretentious sub-genre is this? Boy was I wrong. This is the kind of album you put on, turn up the volume and listen to front to back no problem. And now I get it. Microhouse is just a toned down version of regular house music. This whole album is a trip. It was just so easy to listen to and made my ears feel good. I don't think you can listen to random tracks off of this album. It feels like a whole experience, the whole album needs to be played in it's entirety to truly enjoy it. So many good sounds/beats, Hopkins literally takes you to a different world throughout this album. Ranking this at 71 seems pretty low. I'm really struggling to find something I didn't like about this album. 10/10. 70. Harmony Rockets - Lachesis / Clotho / Atropos: I wasn't really into this album to be honest. I felt bored after a little while. It's like improvised psychedelic jams and while some parts were cool and fun to listen to, I lost interest rather quickly. Don't really see how this is higher on the list than the previous album, but hey, here we are. 4/10. 69. Natalie Prass - The Future And The Past: Imagine for a second that Jessie Ware and Robyn had a daughter that made music. That's exactly how I felt listening to Natalie Prass. Those that know me know I'm a serious sucker for female pop vocalists. I guess she originally scrapped an entire albums worth of music after the 2016 election and began to write this one based on her frustration/heartbreak with the result. [Per her interview with Exclaim! via Genius: but Prass pushed the album’s release to scrap half the songs and replace them with songs that tackle culture divides and gender and income inequality, all of which have been exacerbated during Trump’s presidency.] The lyrics get across her message almost immediately with the albums opener, Oh My. Not once does this album seem like it's over the top or that she's trying too hard. Imo, the only negative thing I can say about this album, is that it kind of relies too much on funk/soul/jazz, etc. This is the first album I've heard by here, so that just may be her thing. Another song that gets a vote for my end of year list is definitely Lost. Album is a must listen. 9/10. 68. Richard Swift - The Hex: Honestly, I couldn't get into this album. It was interesting and weird with lots of different experimental sounds. His voice was difficult for me to get used to. At times, the whole thing almost felt overwhelming. With lots going on, it was difficult to concentrate or focus on it. I will say though, there are some beautiful arrangements on this album, particularly HZLWD, which happens to be an instrumental. My favorite song off the album though is probably Dirty Jim. 4/10. 67. Phosphorescent - C'est La Vie: This album rules. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Reminds me of last years War On Drugs album (which was also good). It's got a great Americana/heartland sound to it that is sometimes missing in newer rock albums. There's really not much to say about this album. If you're into bands like War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, Wilco, Father John Misty, Okkervil River, etc. then this is a can't miss record. New Birth In New England was my favorite song off this album and will surely make my final list of best songs. 10/10. 66. Arve Henriksen - The Height of the Reeds: I wasn't crazy about this album. It was all instrumentals (usually not a big deal). He's a trumpet player but he does a great job of not really making it sound like a trumpet. Definitely filled with some interesting sounds, but I honestly found myself getting bored rather quickly. I didn't really find it to be relaxing/soothing, either. Usually with albums like this I can turn it on and just zone out. This one was different. Favorite part of this album were the song titles. For example, The Swans Bend Their Necks Backward To See God, and "Is There A Limit For The Internal*. 4/10. 65. Blood Orange - Negro Swan: Heard the name, never listened, not what I was expecting. This was nothing short of great. Dev Hynes has such a cool, soothing voice. The music is awesome...all the beats/sounds fit perfectly within each track. The spoken lyrics that appear throughout the album are a nice touch that break up the pace of the album (not an issue). Few great features as well, with Diddy, A$AP, and Project Pat. If you're a fan of artists like Frank Ocean, Solange, Jorja Smith, etc. and haven't heard this, I suggest you get on it as quickly as possible. Such an easy listen. Saint, Hope, and Chewing Gum were my favorites, but honestly, not a single bad track. This album is a must listen. 10/10. 64. Suede - The Blue Hour: This album was FUCKING SWEET. Never heard of these guys before but they've been a band for a very long time. This whole album was outstanding. They have a cool heavy/gothic 80s sound (that I'm not usually into), but it sounds so new and fresh. There's a clear Smiths influence throughout this whole project. The whole thing is just...good. I have little issues with this album, but one complaint I have is that his voice got to be a tad much by the time it was over. Wastelands, Beyond The Outskirts, and Don't Be Afraid If Nobody Loves You are my favorite tracks, but it was honestly difficult to narrow it down. This album is a must listen. 9/10. 63. Israel Nash - Lifted: Cool folky/country rock/dreampop/Americana album. I really got a vibe of multiple different genres throughout the whole thing, which was pretty cool/refreshing. Nash reminds me a little of guys like Jason Isbell, Hiss The Golden Messenger, Son Volt, etc. This was just such an easy early morning album to listen to. I really liked the retro Americana sound that's throughout the whole thing, but tbh this album didn't really do it for me. My main issues with this album is that a lot of the songs, imo, sound pretty much the same and he just doesn't really do anything different or better on this album that I can't get elsewhere within this alt-country/Americana genre. I don't think this is one I'd revisit, kind of a "listen and forget" album. That being said, if alt-country is your jam, this should be worth your time. Rolling On and Golden Fleeces were my two favorite from this project. 6/10. 62. Angelique Kidjo - Remain In Light: This caught me completely off guard. She's a Beninese singer with an incredible voice. The whole album (which I didn't realize) is a cover of Talking Heads' 1980 classic Remain In Light. She does a fantastic job throughout the entire thing. Full of awesome jazz (which I'm usually not crazy about) and TONS of African influences, this thing is seriously such a great time. Once In A Lifetime is one of the best covers I've ever heard. I don't think I had a single issue with this album. Must listen. 10/10. 61. Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet - Landfall: This album was pretty weird. Ambient/instrumental/spoken word...I don't know, I felt pretty lost throughout the whole thing and felt like I couldn't concentrate on anything. Clocking in at thirty songs and over an hour long, I got bored almost immediately. There were a few good songs, but overall, this was one that I would have been fine with skipping. I'm just not sure. 4/10. 60. U.S. Girls - In A Poem Unlimited: I thoroughly enjoyed this album. I've been a big fan of dreampop for the better part of a year or so (Jay Som, Soccer Mommy, Beach House, etc) so it was no surprise that I was a fan of this album. Listening to M.A.H, I got serious Gwen Stefani No Doubt vibes with was pretty awesome. And honestly, she reminds me a lot of Stefani/Blondie throughout the whole album (not really a bad thing). This whole thing was just a solid pop album. The previous mentioned M.A.H (mad as hell) is my favorite song off the album. That particular song takes a critical look at Obama's presidency, which is a super different take than the ever-so-popular FDT takes. 8/10. 59. Stick In The Wheel - Follow Them True: One of the most unique albums on this list. English folk band that doesn't go too crazy. It opens up with Over Again (which is a great song) but I was left waiting for this to turn into like an album full of Irish drinking songs. The whole album ends up being pretty minimalistic and uses their voices heavily to carry the album. Parts of it reminded me a little of Delta Rae. Great rhythms, cool sound. Definitely not something for everyone, and while I was left impressed and curious, I wasn't really into it. 6/10. 58. Mary Gauthier - Rifles And Rosary Beads: This was a good folky/country album. I liked this album and I especially liked the idea behind it. Per NPR, she worked in collaboration with the nonprofit SongwritingWith:Soldiers to co-write the album's 11 tracks with veterans and their families. That's a pretty incredible thing to do and it leads to some heavy lyrics. Honestly too many good lyrics to share, the songwriting is top-notch and the melodies are great. I think you'll just need to hear it for yourself. This album was made in a special way, I'm not sure I've heard anything quite like it before. Knowing she wrote this with Veterans really changes your perspective on it. 8/10. 57. Elephant Micah - Genericana: Low energy, rock/experimental album that I thought sounded pretty cool for a little bit. Some parts were clean and easy to listen to, other times I found it to be a little messy with the distortion. This was a good break from the folk/indie that's been pretty heavy for the past few albums but this wasn't something I particularly enjoyed. 5/10. 56. Dawn Landes - Meet Me At The River: This will probably end up in my top 5 for AOTY. I really enjoyed this. I have a soft spot for female vocalists, particularly in the indie/folk/country categories. But make no mistake, this is a country album. She reminded me a bit of Kacey Musgraves/Miranda Lambert/Joan Baez/Brandi Carlisle/Amanda Shires/etc. I had most of this album pretty much on repeat. It's fun to listen to, easy to sing along with and the songs are genuinely well written. The lyrics in Why They Name Whiskey After Men are pretty catchy: "It comes on strong and keeps you warm before it starts to do you in/And in spite of the pain you go back again/Must be why they name whiskey after men." It was honestly pretty difficult to pick a favorite song off this album. The previously mentioned Whiskey After Men and Southern Girl were up there. 10/10. 55. Jess Williamson - Cosmic Wink: Best way to describe Jess Williamson is probably a more folk-y Angel Olsen. Pretty cool. "Your hair in my bed is regarded as a relic/My past and my future envy me." Great lyrics she sings on Awakening Baby, my favorite track off this album. The whole thing is full of great melodies and lyrics that make you want to restart each song and listen again. However, I think just one listen was enough. It wasn't something I kept thinking about after I finished it. 7/10. 54. Tune-Yards - I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life: I enjoyed this album quite a bit. I thought it was a fun, quick listen, almost every song had me nodding my head to the music. Electro indie pop is usually pretty awesome so I gotta give props to this record. It can be a bit much at times, and does sound like it's a little cluttered and definitely obscure, but the actual music is pretty damn catchy and damn fun. Look At Your Hands is my jam. 7/10. 53. David Byrne - American Utopia: I wasn't really too sure what to expect with this album and I wasn't sure if I was going to be into it. But I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's a nicely paced electronic/pop record with some pretty obscure/outrageous lyrics and sounds (which is probably pretty typical for Byrne). Now the chicken imagines a heaven/Full of roosters and plenty of corn/And God is a very old roosteAnd eggs are like Jesus, his son. Pretty goofy stuff, but it's a ton of fun. Every Day Is A Miracle is easily my favorite song off this album. 7/10. 52. Willie Nelson - Last Man Standing: Another album where I wasn't really sure what to expect. Although I'm a fan of country music, I had never really listened to Willie Nelson before this album. But I gotta say, I dig it and I get the appeal. Perfect balance of country/blues/rock. His lyrics are pretty top notch and the whole album was a great listen. First verse from Something You Get Through:"When you lose the one you love/You think your world has ended/You think your world will be a waste of life/Without them in it/You feel there's no way to go on/Life is just a sad, sad song/But love is bigger than us all/The end is not the end at all." It's just so easy to tap your foot to the rhythm of this album. He's 85! That's incredible! The previously mentioned Something you Get Through is my favorite song off the album, but there really isn't a bad one. 9/10. 51. Gwenifer Raymond - You Never Were Much Of A Dancer: She's a fantastic guitabanjo player. It's pretty incredible what she does throughout this whole album. It's all instrumentals and I'll admit, I got pretty bored of it rather quickly. I just felt empty afterwards and felt like I needed more. Which is dumb to say because the whole album is extremely complex and in-depth. There just felt like something was missing. 6/10. 50. The Necks - Body: Gotta say, I wasn't crazy about this one. First and foremost, I was never really into jazz music. If it's on at a party or background music while I work, cool. But I've never gone out of my way to listen to the genre. Body is an experimental jazz/post-rock album by Australian trio The Necks. The album is one song long, close to an hour. It started kinda slow and I was pretty bored, but it does pick up and get kind of cool around the 25 minute mark. I'm impressed that they were able to improvise this whole thing for an hour long but I would have personally preferred 8-10 individual tracks. Probably wouldn't listen to this again. 5/10. 49. Mary Lattimore - Hundreds Of Days: This album kinda caught me off guard. Knew nothing about her or her music, but she's an American classically trained harpist. This album was absolutely gorgeous. Each track told a different story that I'm not smart enough to understand, but their titles are masterfully written with names like Never Saw Him Again,Their Faces Streaked With Light And Filled With Pity, and On The Day You Saw The Dead Whale. You can feel different emotions in every track and they all leave you open to your own interpretation as to what they're about. Of course, there's no lyrics, but this album doesn't even need them. If you want something easy to listen to, while studying, cooking, trying to relax, sitting in a coffee shop on a rainy fall day, this album would be pretty perfect. My favorite tracks are Baltic Birch and the aforementioned On The Day You Saw The Dead Whale. I'm gonna go cry now and think about my life. 7/10. 48. Laura Veirs - The Lookout: I really thought this album was going to be great, but I was left thinking it was "just good." I have never heard of Veirs prior to this list, but she reminds me of artists like Lucy Dacus, Jenny Lewis, maybe Laura Marling too. Found it interesting that it was her first solo album since 2013, and her first project since she collaborated with Neko Case and k.d. lang on 2016's case/lang/veirs (which I have not heard). I'm a pretty big fan of indie/indie folk/alternative country but honestly, for no particular reason, I found this album to be quite forgettable and don't think I'd come back to listen to it. That being said, her soft vocals make this a pretty easy listening experience and again, the whole album works damn well as background music. My favorite tracks were Heavy Petals and Everybody Needs You. 6/10. 47. Julia Holter - Aviary: I was unsure about this album. At times I wasn't very into it and at other times I though it was a beautifully made album. Definitely a neat progressive/experimental/indie pop project though which is nice, it's something that I've never really heard/listened to. I don't think this is one I'd revisit, I don't really think this album is important to this list. 5/10. 46. Kathryn Joseph - From When I Wake The Want Is: Odd little folk/indie album...Kathryn Joseph has a little whiny voice, similar to Joanna Newsome/Bjork. Her voice is definitely an acquired taste but if you give it a chance, not terribly difficult to deal with it. I just personally couldn't get into it, her voice kind of annoyed me and made it a little dificult to enjoy the rest of the album. The album has a pretty serious Radiohead vibe to it (never a bad thing). It sounds super unique and worth a listen if want to hear a little mix of Bjork and Radiohead. 6/10. 45. Anna Calvi - Hunter: This album seriously feels like such an 80s pop-rock/goth classic. I really enjoyed it and couldn't get enough of it. Lots of cool chord progressions, awesome goth sounds, this album pretty much had it all. Don't Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy and Chain were my favorite songs off this album. 8/10. 44. Ryley Walker - Deafman Glance: Pretty good jazzy/indie folk/psychedelic album. Pretty much just a dude with a nice soft voice and his guitar making nice music. He'd be your middle-of-the-day jam band festival act and he'd fit the bill perfectly. Super chill album to have on at work or just relaxing at home. Telluride Speed is definitely my favorite track from this album. 7/10. 43. Tracey Thorn - Record: Alright I enjoyed this quite a bit. Such a cool and fun pop/dance record. I spent the whole time just tapping my foot and bopping my head. I was pretty surprised to learn she's been making music since 1980, but it makes total sense. This sounds a lot like a classic 80's pop album. This album seems to do a good job of cheering you up and just wanting to make you move around. So fun. Guitar and Dancefloor are my favorite songs off this album. But honestly, I couldn't really find a song I didn't like. Really not much more you could ask for from a pop record. 10/10. 42. Melody's Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage: I feel like this album is pretty underrated. There's just something so magical and different about it that makes me keep coming back. Great mix of psychedelic/indie rock/pop all at once. On top of all that she sings a few songs in French or Swedish which just help add to albums mystique. There are a few parts on this album that seem a little over the top, like on the song Desert Horse, there are so many different sounds at once, but somehow it works. Overall, I really enjoyed the sound of this album and I think it should easily be considered a must listen. 9/10. 41. Cat Power - Wanderer: I was pretty excited for this album. Cat Power has always been someone I enjoyed listening to and honestly, I totally forgot all about her...granted, it's been six years since her last album. Wanderer is about what you'd expect from her in terms of melodies, guitar playing (lots of finger picking), piano, lyrics, wonderful voice, etc. She completely reimagined Rihanna's Stay, which is one of my favorite songs of the year. I came back to a few songs on this album at least twice, especially Horizon. This is a light album, easy to turn on and simply listen to. Truthfully, it's been quite some time since I heard any of her previous albums, but there's a good chance I enjoyed this one the most. 7/10. 40. Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino: Don't crucify me but I've never really been too into Arctic Monkeys. I just don't think I ever got it or was crazy about his voice. But, I was surprised by this album. I found it to be pretty enjoyable. It was a lot different than other rock albums I heard this year and I think a lot of that has to do with Alex Turner's voice (which I came away enjoying more than I did previously). Clocking in at 40 minutes, I sort of felt like the album dragged on and was too long. When I finished it, I walked away with a real "once you've heard it once, you've heard it a dozen times" feeling. 6/10. 39. Eleanor Friedberger - Rebound: I wasn't expecting to run into any Fiery Furnaces on this list. Eleanor Friedberger is/was the lead singer of that band (Illinois suburb represent!). Anyway, this was a clean/polished indie pop/rock/bedroom pop/dreampop/whatever album that made me feel alright. I did get a little bored toward the end of the album but overall I enjoyed it. Some parts (her voice, specifically) can even be a little dream-popy which remind me of Beach House (pretty good thing) and at times, she reminds me of Tracey Thorn. Straight up decent indie pop/rock album that will likely leave no lasting impression on me. Everything was my favorite song on this album. 6/10. 38. Calexico - The Thread That Keeps Us: The whole time I listened to this I kept hearing Ryan Adams. My goodness the singer is basically doing his best Adams impression on most of this album. Just listen to Eyes Wide Awake and tell me I'm wrong. Anyway, this was a looooong indie rock album that was pretty enjoyable. I just couldn't get past his voice and there's nothing really wrong with that but it just didn't sound different or do anything more unique than any other indie rock album I've heard this year. 6/10. 37. Stephan Malkmus and the Jicks - Sparkle Head: What more could you ask for from Stephen Malkmus than a solid 90's alternative/indie rock record? Nothing. This is exactly what this album is. I was never crazy about Pavement or other Malkmus works but I overall enjoyed this record. I really liked Middle America which I've heard a lot (may have been the single? Or in a TV show?). Anyway, I'd say this is pretty much a must listen if you're craving some old school 90's indie rock. 7/10. 36. The Lemon Twigs - Go To School: A musical! This album is about a monkey that goes to school with humans and it's as silly as it sounds. A fun, goofy, silly pop album that was so fun to listen to. Clearly inspired by classic 70s and southern heartland music, this sounds like an awesome theatrical production by two brothers that are just having fun. I honestly haven't heard an album like this since Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell.This Is My Tree sounds like it's 40 years old but it's so fresh. Gotta listen to this one. So fun. 9/10. 35. Go-Kart Mozart - Mozart's Mini Mart: This was a goooooooooofy British electronic indie pop album. This was sooo weird and obscure. I will say though, easily my favorite album name of the year. The album is short so they did a pretty good job of keeping my interest throughout the whole thing even though I ended up not being too crazy about it. It's pretty obvious they don't really take themselves too serious which adds to their goofiness. Less than 3,000 monthly listeners on Spotify so it's pretty impressive these guys found themselves so high on this list. The music itself was pretty neat and fun but the whole thing was just way too out there for me. 6/10. 34. Hookworms - Microshift: I can confidently say this is one of my favorite albums of the year. It's a cool psychedelic/electronic/indie rock album that hits all the right spots. Cool vocals, cool effects, cool fucking music. The singers voice reminds me of something so familiar but I can't quite figure it out. It's pretty difficult to find anything about this album I didn't like. I really, really liked this. There was something different about it. The mix of electronic and indie rock is apparently a recipe for success. Static Resistance,Ullswater and Opener were my favorites off the album. Listen to this and enjoy. 10/10. 33. Connan Mockasin - Jassbusters: There pretty much isn't a more boring way to follow the Hookworms' album than with this one. I'm not claiming this one is bad. It was just boooooring. Thankfully it was a super short album. Every song just felt the same to me. No doubt this man is talented but I simply couldn't get into it. Glass of wine dinner making music imo. 6/10. 32. Gwenno - Le Kov: Cute lil indie pop record. Whole album is in Cornish so beats the fuck out of me what she's saying or singing about, but it's pretty nonetheless. The music accompanying her nice voice is worthwhile though, even though it's in another language. Compared to other albums with similar style, it's nothing special. But it's an easy listen, makes for pretty good background/working music. 6/10. 31. Gazelle Twin - Pastoral: Oh boy I was not a fan of this. Super strange industrial music that distracted the fuck out of me. I was annoyed, bored and simply could not get into this. Thankfully, this was less than 40 minutes long. It was weird. If you're into intense shit you'd probably like this. I however, am not and did not. 2/10. 30. Mélissa Laveaux - Radyo Siwél: Lots of fingerpicking, super soulful voice...pretty much everything I enjoy. Not sure what language she sings in but for the most part, it isn't in english. I was into it when I first started listening, but towards the end, I ended up not being particularly crazy about this. It didn't really move me or make me think about it in any way. I think I'd say half the songs were pretty good and the other half was just straight boring. 6/10. 29. Let's Eat Grandma - I'm All Ears: Don't let the strange name throw you off. There's honestly not a single bad thing I could say about this album. I enjoyed every second of it and have had it on repeat all week. These girls are something else. Super talented electronic/pop/synth band that does everything right. A lot of synth to create deep/dark sounds, beautiful vocals and songs that keep your attention throughout the entire album. It's Not Just Me,Falling Into You,Cool & Collected,Donnie Darko, etc. take your pick. Every song is great. I'd consider this a must listen. 10/10. 28. Dirty Projectors - Lamp Lit Prose: This just felt like a mess, I thought everything was kind of thrown all over the place. At times I found it to be too distracting, goofy, too weird, obscure. I don't get it. It was simply exhausting. Though I'll say I did enjoy That's A Lifestyle. 5/10. 27. IDLES - Joy As An Act Of Resistance: Holy smokes! This was incredible. It was intense, politically charged (albeit never feels like a political album), straight punk music. I can't remember the last time I've heard anything like this, if ever. Whatever IDLES did to produce this record should be imitated/replicated by every band today. I'm Scum leading into Danny Nedelko is my favorite one/two punch of tracks so far this year. Was difficult getting myself to move on with this list because this was so good. Very good chance this ends up as my AOTY. Instant classic. Listen to this now. 10/10. 26. John Prine - The Tree Of Forgiveness: This album will grow on you. Wonderful, warm, easy listening. If you're into Country/Americana, this is a pretty good record for you to dive into. There's some nice songs on here and there's certainly some forgettable ones. Definitely feel some Willie Nelson, Neil Young, etc. This is perfect background working music. Turn this on and just get shit done. I thought that Willie Nelson from earlier was better. Boundless Love is my favorite tune from this album. 7/10. 25. Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain: Likely the best country album I've ever heard. As soon as the chorus hits on the albums opening track, you can tell how good it's going to be. I haven't felt that much during this list. It's so smooth, vocals are unimaginably good, lyrics are deep and incredibly thought out. There truly isn't a single bad song on this album. Great lyrics throughout. On the albums title track: "Broke on a barstool, throwin' your paycheck away/On overpriced booze, slots, and valet/Fortune might buy diamonds, all shiny and new/But it can't buy you happiness or love, that is true." Or from Took You Up: "Lonely even when you're standin' there/In so deep with few words to share/Sometimes love gets you so damn depressed/All you can do is hide from it/But I wouldn't have it any other way/Wouldn't take the mansions or the getaways/Wouldn't trade love for a million bucks/If I have you then that's enough." Country album of the year. Must listen for any country fan or simply anyone that appreciates great singing/songwriting. 10/10. 24. Paul Weller - True Meanings: 23. Kurt Vile - Bottle It In: 22. Father John Misty - God's Favorite Customer:
Note: Everyone can play board games, anyone might like one specific board game or be super good at one specific board game regardless of functional strength. These are simply meant to be concrete illustrations of how the functions operate. Note 2: You should be expected to see overlap of functional descriptions between Si/Ni, Se/Ne, Te/Fe, Ti/Fi, Si/Se, Ni/Ne, Ti/Te, and Fi/Fe. This is supposed to occur because each of these functions have slight overlap, as Jung said (paraphrased) they tend to push at each other's boundaries. Introverted Intuition: Mysterium Board Game Geek says:
One player takes the role of ghost while everyone else represents a medium. To solve the crime, the ghost must first recall (with the aid of the mediums) all of the suspects present on the night of the murder. A number of suspect, location and murder weapon cards are placed on the table, and the ghost randomly assigns one of each of these in secret to a medium. Each hour (i.e., game turn), the ghost hands one or more vision cards face up to each medium, refilling their hand to seven each time they share vision cards. These vision cards present dreamlike images to the mediums, with each medium first needing to deduce which suspect corresponds to the vision cards received. Once the ghost has handed cards to the final medium, they start a two-minute sandtimer. Once a medium has placed their token on a suspect, they may also place clairvoyancy tokens on the guesses made by other mediums to show whether they agree or disagree with those guesses. After time runs out, the ghost reveals to each medium whether the guesses were correct or not.
Introverted intuition perceives all the background processes of consciousness with almost the same distinctness as extraverted sensation registers external objects... Introverted intuition apprehends the images arising from the a priori inherited foundations of the unconscious. These archetypes, whose innermost nature is inaccessible to experience, are the precipitate of the psychic function of the whole ancestral line; the accumulated experiences of organic life in general, a million times repeated, and condensed into types.
HandsOfGrace says: Mysterium is a near perfect illustration of how Introverted Intuition functions. The Ghost player is trying to communicate a concrete thing: who the murderer is and how they did it. However, the Ghost can only communicate this through a series of images that already exist. Think about humanity as we often think of artificial intelligence. AIs are given a set of rules and they use those rules to act in the world. Over time, through experience, the AI alters their relationship to those rules. They might create a hierarchy in the rules. "This rule is more important than that rule." They might slightly alter a rule. "This rule isn't giving me the results that I need." If you have two AIs and give them a vastly different experience they will evolve into very different programs. Human beings are the same, and Introverted Intuition is largely about perceiving the "human program." The human program is incredibly complex and the language to understand and communicate it is symbolism. Mysterium asks its players to use symbolic language to communicate with each other over the Ni channel and to examine their own "background processes" and the background processes of the other players. Extraverted Intuition: The Resistance: Avalon Board Game Geek says:
The Resistance: Avalon pits the forces of Good and Evil in a battle to control the future of civilization. Arthur represents the future of Britain, a promise of prosperity and honor, yet hidden among his brave warriors are Mordred's unscrupulous minions. These forces of evil are few in number but have knowledge of each other and remain hidden from all but one of Arthur's servants. Merlin alone knows the agents of evil, but he must speak of this only in riddles. If his true identity is discovered, all will be lost.
The intuitive function is represented in consciousness by an attitude of expectancy, by vision and penetration; but only from the subsequent result can it be established how much of what was 'seen' was actually in the object, and how much was 'read into' it... [Extraverted Intuition] tries to apprehend the widest range of possibilities, since only through envisioning possibilities is intuition fully satisfied. It seeks to discover what possibilities the objective situation holds in store.
HandsOfGrace says: If you've played The Resistance you know the feeling. Everyone has closed their eyes, people with powers are given extra information but you're just a "normal" good soldier, and now everyone has opened their eyes so the game might begin. "Who here is Evil?" is the first question you'll always ask, internally or externally. Sometimes people open the game with an immediate accusation, "YOU'RE SMILING YOU MUST BE EVIL!" Does that person's wild accusation indicate that they are in fact a spy, or are they seeing something that I'm not. This is the nature of Extraverted Intuition. You've got five players. You are a normal good guy. One other player is a normal good guy. One other player is Merlin and they are trying to help you. Two other players are trying to undermine you and your goal, and it is up to you to investigate those objective possibilities. One small note: The possibilities in The Resistance is inherently limited. While the game is very fun many people find that after playing the game over and over that most matches always devolve into one of five or so "archetypes" of matches and they get board with the game. Jung says of the Extraverted Intuition type: "[They seize] on new objects or situations with great intensity, sometimes with extraordinary enthusiasm, only to abandon them cold-bloodedly." Introverted Thinking: Codenames Board Game Geek says:
Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES. In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.
[Introverted Thinking's aim] is never an intellectual reconstruction of the concrete fact, but a shaping of that dark image into a luminous idea. It wants to reach reality, to see how the external fact will fit into and fill the framework of an idea, and the creative power of this thinking shows itself when it actually creates an idea which, though not inherent in the concrete fact, is yet the most suitable abstract expression of it.
HandsOfGrace says: Codenames is Introverted Thinking. You have a board, and you need your teammate to guess "Dice" and "Brush." How are you going to communicate that? What if I said "Snake?" Like dice, Snake-eyes, snakes live in the brush. Would my teammate understand that? They need to guess "Boot" and "Track." What if I said "Walking?" Oh... they might also connect "Grass" to walking. They need to guess "Bank" and "Skyscraper." I could say "Building," yes that works, I'm pretty sure they'll understand and they won't mix it up with other words. While Ti uses facts its primary focus is to create ideas that give us insight into facts. A good example of Ti is Taxonomy: "Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species." It isn't a fact that humans are "Animalia," but we use the idea of "Animalia" to communicate something about human beings. In his book Jung warns that Ti's ideas can become too "mythological," losing all meaning to anyone but the individual Ti user. People playing Codenames must be wary of that as well. Making an obscure reference or thinking yourself into too many loops can make it impossible to come up with a code word and/or interpret your teammate's code words. Extraverted Thinking: Pandemic Board Game Geek says:
In Pandemic, several virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world! The players are disease-fighting specialists whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand. The game board depicts several major population centers on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. A deck of cards provides the players with these abilities, but sprinkled throughout this deck are Epidemic! cards that accelerate and intensify the diseases' activity. A second, separate deck of cards controls the "normal" spread of the infections. Taking a unique role within the team, players must plan their strategy to mesh with their specialists' strengths in order to conquer the diseases. For example, the Operations Expert can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases and which allow for greater mobility between cities; the Scientist needs only four cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal five—but the diseases are spreading quickly and time is running out. If one or more diseases spreads beyond recovery or if too much time elapses, the players all lose. If they cure the four diseases, they all win!
It has the appearance of being captivated by the object, as though without the external orientation it simply could not exist. It almost seems as though it were a mere sequela of externals facts, or as thought it could reach its highest point only when flowing into some general idea. It seems to be constantly affected by the objective data and to draw conclusions only with their consent.
HandsOfGrace says: We are about to experience an outbreak in the Middle East. We have no scientists anywhere near Africa. You have a card that could take you to Africa to help treat the disease. It has been three turns since we've seen a red card pulled. We are one card away from being able to cure the blue disease. What do we do? Extraverted Thinking is about examining the reality of a situation and making choices based on that analysis, and Pandemic reflects this orientation. There's no fiddly or indulgent analysis: we have a problem to solve and we need to solve it. Once that problem is gone, more problems will show up, and we'll solve those ones too. We don't adhere to the ideas we are attached to, we use the ones that will work best in the moment. I found a reddit quote from a person who played Pandemic that really outlined the Extraverted Thinking process:
One day a few friends and I got together and played Pandemic. We lost really badly, so we decided to take it seriously and step into the actual roles of the role cards we got. So as an adept scientific team we all got out our pencils and paper and started recording everything. Every city that became infected and every card that got traded. We kept a tally and then did calculations on the chances a card would get flipped and the impact that card would have on the game. Needless to say we beat the game really easily. But we also had fun! We loved being able to predict outcomes and crunching the math and pretending to be an elite disease fighting machine.
Problem solved. Introverted Sensation: Dominion Board Game Geek says:
In Dominion, each player starts with an identical, very small deck of cards. In the center of the table is a selection of other cards the players can "buy" as they can afford them. Through their selection of cards to buy, and how they play their hands as they draw them, the players construct their deck on the fly, striving for the most efficient path to the precious victory points by game end.
Introverted sensation apprehends the background of the physical world rather than its surface... [They] see the becoming and passing away of things simultaneously with their momentary existence in the present, and not only that, it would also see what was before their becoming and will be after their passing hence. We could say that introverted sensation transmits an image which does not so much reproduce the object as spread over it the patina of age-old subjective experience and the shimmer of events still unborn. The bare sense impression develops in depth, reaching into the past and future.
HandsOfGrace says: When playing Dominion you become beholden to your past and to your future. As you invest further into a strategy (a strategy that you built to make your game's future better) it can be harder and harder to reverse course. As you purchase cards to help you win the game you also get a clunkier and clunkier deck. In Dominion you will always buy "point cards" to win yourself the game, but the player who wins Dominion is the player who buys those cards at the right time. This "right time" doesn't come to a duck-in-a-row Ni style (your opponents are almost always too savvy for that, the game is relatively simple), but instead in a Is-and-Ts-crossed Si style. Building a well balanced Kingdom with strong specializations and all your bases covered. Introverted Perception is hard to describe, but it's like... Si isn't about perceiving the moment you are in the game, but instead it perceives the entire dynamics of the game. Each move you make is contributing to that larger perspective. Si creates harmony in every action you make to achieve your larger goal. As a side note, the game is also a subjective representation of what a Kingdom "looks" like. Every different board game that has a Kingdom is an example of the different ways to describe and (through thinking) subjectively recreate what your vision of a Kingdom is. Extraverted Sensation: Space Alert Board Game Geek says:
Space Alert is a cooperative team survival game. Players become crew members of a small spaceship scanning dangerous sectors of galaxy. The missions last just 10 real-time minutes (hyperspace jump, sector scan, hyperspace jump back) and the only task the players have is to protect their ship. During play, the central computer will announce the presence of various threats on one the supplied 10 minute soundtracks that also acts as a game timer. The threats vary from space battleships and interceptors to different interstellar monsters and abominations, asteroids or even intruders and malfunctions on the spaceship. Players have to agree who will take care of which task and coordinate their actions (moving around the ship, firing weapons, distributing energy, using battlebots to deal with intruders, launching guided missiles, etc.) in real time to defend the ship. Only a well-working team can survive 10 minutes and make the jump back to safety.
Not every [sensation] attains the threshold value a perception must have in order to be apperceived. it is different when sensation itself is paramount instead of merely seconding another function. In this case no element of objective sensation is excluded and nothing is repressed. As sensation is chiefly condition by the object, those objects that excite the strongest sensations will be decisive for the individual's psychology.
HandsOfGrace says: Many struggle in differentiating the definitions of Te and Se because both functions are factually-oriented. In the case of Te it is a careful consideration of every fact in decision making. In the case of Se it is a reaction to the most interesting and relevant facts in the current moment. In Space Alert players are asked to do just that. You've only got ten minutes, and things are constantly changing. That space octopus took down our shields, the last missile we launched missed, the computer's screen saver is about to turn on, my two teammates just tripped over each other. How do I act best right here, right now? There's no time to talk. Extraverted Sensation tries to be cognizant of the holistic picture. It sucks in information as it also affects the information, going into the world and changing things. When other people are moving in the wrong direction, making poor choices, or wasting their time Extrraverted Sensation is able to see and correct those mistakes without missing a beat. Introverted Feeling: Freedom: The Underground Railroad Board Game Geek says:
Freedom is a card-driven, cooperative game for one to four players in which the group is working for the abolitionist movement to help bring an end to slavery in the United States. The players use a combination of cards, which feature figures and events spanning from Early Independence until the Civil War, along with action tokens and the benefits of their role to impact the game. Players need to strike the right balance between freeing slaves from plantations in the south and raising funds which are desperately needed to allow the group to continue their abolitionist activities as well as strengthen the cause. The goal is not easy and in addition to people and events that can have a negative impact on the group's progress, there are also slave catchers roaming the board, reacting to the movements of the slaves on the board and hoping to catch the runaway slaves and send them back to the plantations.
Everything, therefore, that we have said about introverted thinking is equally true of introverted feeling, only here everything is felt while there it was thought. But the very fact that thoughts can generally be expressed more intelligibly than feelings demands a more than ordinary descriptive or artistic ability before the real wealth of this feeling can be even approximately presented or communicated to the world.
HandsOfGrace says: Introverted Feeling is the least obviously used function when it comes to actually interacting with a board game's rules and systems. This makes sense, given that a board game's rules and systems largely lives in the realm of Ti, with some Te interlude. However, Freedom is a game where the primary value is discerning and contemplating the intensive "Fi-thought," almost in a similar way to the Ti focus you would put into a game of Codenames. Every mechanic in Freedom is laced with the themes of the abolitionist movement. While playing the game you're meant to think about what the rules of the game are saying about racism and oppression. The person I know who enjoys this game the most is an ISTJ, whose childlike Fi is best communicated to through the realm of games and systems. Fi develops intense values and must be communicated meticulously, and Freedom is a popular and great example of how to do that. Extraverted Feeling: Spyfall Board Game Geek says:
Spyfall is played over several rounds, and at the start of each round all players receive cards showing the same location — a casino, a traveling circus, a pirate ship, or even a space station — except that one player receives a card that says "Spy" instead of the location. Players then start asking each other questions — "Why are you dressed so strangely?" or "When was the last time we got a payday?" or anything else you can come up with — trying to guess who among them is the spy. The spy doesn't know where he is, so he has to listen carefully. When it's his time to answer, he'd better create a good story! At any time during a round, one player may accuse another of being a spy. If all other players agree with the accusation, the round ends and the accused player has to reveal his identity. If the spy is uncovered, all other players score points. However, the spy can himself end a round by announcing that he understands what the secret location is; if his guess is correct, only the spy scores points.
I may feel moved, for instance, to say that something is 'beautiful' or 'good,' not because I find it 'beautiful' or 'good' from my own subjective feeling about it, but because it is fitting and politic to call it so... the positive support of social, philanthropic, and other such cultural institutions [own themselves to extraverted feeling.] It [can become] cold, "unfeeling," untrustworthy. It has ulterior motives, or at least makes an impartial observer suspect them. It no longer makes that agreeable and refreshing impression which invariably accompanies genuine feeling; instead, one suspects a pose, or that the person is action, even though [they] may be quite unconscious of any egocentric motives.
HandsOfGrace says: Spyfall is all about an examination of the weakepoorer Fe use. Can the Spy manage to fake their conversations well enough to not be suspected? Can the non-spies make vague enough value statements to avoid cluing off the spy to their location? Can everyone stop laughing long enough to ask a goddamn question? "What would a clown say to the question, 'how long have you worked here?'" "Why would somebody ask how I got here when we're in a freaking space station?" Extraverted feeling is about contributing to the "objective" feeling around them. This might be reflecting the emotions of others, seeing a shitty or incomprehensible painting and calling it "beautiful" or actively assaulting the feeling atmosphere around them. My other choice for an Fe game was Cards Against Humanity, a game that is all about disrupting what is normally considered the appropriate emotional atmosphere, because Fe is also about actively affecting the atmosphere, changing it to the will of the Fe user. Alright, there's 3,600 words dedicated to explaining the intricacies of human psychology with toys for grown ups. You're welcome.
[Star Trek: Axanar] La causa legale è ancora in piedi. Ma pensa un po'??
Ma io dico laggente. Vi ricordate la questione "Star Trek: Axanar"? Ve la riassumo velocemente: Visto l'andazzo decisamente più action e meno intellettuale/highbrow dei reboot di J.J. e Justin Lin, un po' di trekkies decidono che è arrivato il momento buono per ritornare alle atmosfere originali e rodenberryane. Per riuscirci, scelgono di fare il grande salto e realizzare il Primo Mega Blockbuster su Star Trek completamente autofinanziato: introducing "Star Trek: Axanar"! Soldi veri, attori veri, tecnici veri e (forse, chi lo sa?) una vera sceneggiatura. Cominciano a lavorarci, mettono su un Kickstarter, racimolano un tot di soldi e vavavooma! Quando il progetto raggiunge una certa magnitudine arriva una (prevedibilissima, cazzo!) lettera di "cease and desist" dagli avvocati Paramount/CBS. In pratica la produzione di "Axanar" non ha ricevuto alcuna autorizzazione ad utilizzare il marchio, i setting, le 'stronavi e i personaggi di "Star Trek" e quindi tutti a casa raga. I producers di Axanar decidono di non cagarsi la lettere e tààc parte la causa. A questo punto si scatena lo shitstorm dei fan che "si sentono traditi" contro la major che "non lascia loro libertà di amare la serie". La vocal minority fa talmente tanto casino che, Abrams e Lin, partecipando ad un evento in maggio, dicono che sono dalla parte dei fan, che parleranno con il management e vedrete che la causa legale si dissolverà in un attimo. Rejoice e live prosper da parte dei fan. Solo che ... ... ad oggi la causa è ancora li e il regista del fanfilm la vede brutta: "I think, unfortunately, the outcome ultimately is not going to be favorable to us and certainly not for our fans and our donors." L'anno scorso è accaduta la stessa cosa, in scala minore, con "Metal Gear: Philantrophy Part 2". Il fanfilm italiano è stato stoppato da Konami a pochi mesi dal lancio. Ora ... macosadiamine si aspettano? E in base a quale ragionamento i proprietari di un un logo/mondo/setting dovrebbero accettare di vedere utilizzate le proprie costose proprietà intellettuali aggratise? Da gente che, al di la' di tutta la buona volonta de sto mondo, non ha faticato a crearli quei mondi. Se mi si risponde: evabbè ma allora tutte le fanfiction su Star Wars, a partire da "Troops" fino ad arrivare a "Dark Resurrection"? Perché i white collar di Lucasfilm non li hanno aggrediti? Come perchè? Ma perchè quelle robe li, nella maggioranza dei casi, sono prodotti dimmerda, e, quando va bene, restano cosine di nicchia che hanno zero impatto sul marketing. E anche perchè gli è andata di culo. Ma non ti puoi lamentare, dopo che hai preso big money dai finanziatori e crowdfunder, che il legittimo proprietario del franchise faccia quello che in suo totale diritto fare. Ti piace la fantascienza? Vuoi fare i film? E allora FATTI IL CULO E SCRIVITELI! Ah, è più difficile, baby? È meglio partire da mondi conosciuti, già amati e con una fanbase definita e reattiva? EGRAZZIEALCAZZO che è più facile. Ma mica l'hai costruiti tu quei mondi. Io non lo so, eh. Voi che ne pensate? http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-star-trek-axanar-lawsuit-update-20160617-snap-story.html
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