136,340 Streamed Minutes in 2016: The Breakdown

I broke down the year overall already – now let’s dig into the tunes behind it

According to my Spotify Year in Review, I listened to well over 130,000 minutes of music. That doesn’t include the hours I spent listening to records, or the radio, or podcasts. I take in a lot of media, but I didn’t think it was nearly that much. I figured since I clocked in so many hours of streaming, I should probably put my two cents out there in what the year looked like musically. I shared with Atwood what I thought the album of the year was — but you’ll have to check that out to see what I thought. I’ll link it here when that gets published. Here, though, we’ll break it down by month, and what struck me as big for that period of time.

January

Hamilton — Original Cast Recording
The past few years over the few days it takes to ring in the New Year, I spend the time with one of my closest and oldest drum corps friends, Kayla. The last two years, she’s introduced me to new musicals I end up being obsessed with for the year. Last year, it was In The Heights. This year, it was the musical that’s taken the world by storm, Hamilton. This bad boy has been on repeat periodically throughout the year, but mostly during January. Easily.

Galway Girl — Steve Earle
Since I spent most of the month traveling, and much of that in Ireland, this was a song that we’d listen to as we got ready for the day or a night out and want to channel our inner “Irish bar music.” “Galway Girl” will forever remind me of the craziness that happened over those two weeks abroad this year.

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Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday. Although I’ve never heard of it before, I have heard of “Give to the Max Day,” so I’m going to assume it’s something similar to that. Basically, it’s a day that you blow up social media with causes and charities you support, and you donate on that specific day. But I’ve got something to say (of course).

Even though the organizations I’ll be discussing today don’t really fall under the “charity” category, I’d like to talk about why it’s important to support them, and even though I’m living pretty close to paycheck to paycheck, I’ve got it in my budget for $15/month to contribute to three different public radio stations. ($5/month to each, totaling $60/year.)

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Reviewing the Arts HN: The Good and The Bad

(Disclaimer: I’ll be posting these type of blogs once a week this semester for my Reviewing the Arts: Honors course at Columbia. Bear with me, and celebrate that you might possibly be getting two posts a week from this blogger…if you want to, I mean. Stay with us.)

This is a review by David Brauer of MinnPost from July 12th, 2012 of John Moe‘s show Wits. 

For a show that’s so enjoyable, it’s interesting to travel back in time and see what people thought back when it was still considered a start-up, and David Brauer does an excellent job of encapsulating and explaining his thoughts. It works, because Brauer doesn’t speak in the first person, he states his thesis right away, he stays true to his perspective, and he answers all five of the “W’s” – who (John Moe,) what (Wits,) where (the airwaves and the internet, but he also covers the physical location of the show, the Fitzgerald Theater in Minnesota,) when (the blurriest of the five, but he reviewed the show for what it was at the time; a show with fifteen episodes but about to go full time,) and why (which is the review itself.)

Brauer explains some of the uniqueness of Wits at the time, and his points are supported by quotes from John Moe (the show’s host and lead writer.) One of these points is Moe’s writing style, and his usage of social media to both test the waters with sketch ideas, and make the shows have more of a public appearance. Audience members are encouraged to use hashtags to share their thoughts on the show, and Brauer says this technique makes non-listeners feel like Wits is an elite social club. Perhaps it is, but almost three years after this review, the program is pretty regular and shows no signs of slowing down just yet.

This is a review by Kelsey of The Current from October 13, 2014 about Hozier’s self-titled album “Hozier” (Columbia Records, 2014)

There’s a difference between a review and a description, and Kelsey doesn’t seem to know that difference. Someone should probably tell her that it’s bad to be contradictive in the first sentence of a review, too. After re-reading this review a handful of times, it’s still unclear how she feels about the record. Although she does a good job of describing most of the tracks, the meaning behind each one, and what a listener should be considering when listening through it, it’s unclear if she enjoyed listening and thinking about it, or if it was just another record of 2014 that was popular, but didn’t go platinum. It’s as if she deliberately didn’t want to take a stand on the record, perhaps a smart move at the time, but now it just doesn’t make sense.

The area she’s lacking? Emotional reaction. Criticism is an attempt to intellectually convey your emotional reaction to a work of art, and instead, Kelsey brings lines of description that most of the Hozier fans already knew.

For a music-focused station like The Current, readers should expect top-notch and honest reviews; not wishy-washy statements about a couple tracks here and there. “Hozier” was one of the most popular albums of the year, and it would have been nice to have a thought-provoking, honest, and fearless review from them – especially from their music assistant and an on-air host.

The writing itself isn’t bad; it’s just missing some essential content. Maybe Kelsey could really benefit from a class like this, but it’s further proof that in these types of media industries, it’s absolutely essential to have a grab-bag of skills.