And now, an album I actually like: I meant to post this little bit about Tennis’ new record, Ritual in Repeat, last week, but just didn’t get it to. I find this album immensely comforting; it’s so easy to love, so eager to please. This band has become so good at writing melodies that strike this bittersweet, autumnal tone; as I wrote in the review, the characters in these songs always sound like they’re yearning for something, mourning a subtle loss or thinking about a good time long since past or thinking about the peas trapped under the mattress of their lives. There’s a depth and a heart to this record I never dreamed could come from the band that wrote and released an album as flimsy as Cape Dory, and slowly following their growth over the last few years — coming to like them, and then to weirdly love them — has been very rewarding for me as a fan and a critic.
I tried to touch on a social thing I find interesting at the very end of the review, in a very quick way — in my original conception of this write-up, it was the tentpole around which the rest of the review evolved, but after talking it through with a colleague (thank you, Jeremy L.) I really minimized it in favour of other stuff. But I think there’s still a grain of truth in it, even if it wasn’t right for the Pitchfork review of this record, so here it is, plainly stated: I think Tennis’ falling out of critical fashion post-Cape Dory was accelerated by the fact that they became a sort of shorthand for the sort of tone-deaf “privilege pop” some people have accused Vampire Weekend of writing in the past, even if that descriptor didn’t totally make sense. They made themselves an easy target, of course: when your origin story is “we got married, sold all of our stuff, sailed a boat up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and wrote an album about it… and then did it again for our second record,” people are going to dismiss you as lame bougie dopes, especially in a critical era when the people writing about music are more attuned to a) just how banal that kind of thing can be, and b) the advantages you might have been afforded by your race and wealth. (To be clear: I think that increased attention to the social context surrounding new bands, and the writing about them, is 100% a good thing.)
The thing about Tennis is that while Cape Dory was a weak record regardless of the applicability of that descriptor, they’ve gotten so much better since then: their melodies are stronger, their production is more suited to their sound, their arrangements are more fleshed out, their lyrics are about something other than floating on hot stinky garbage water a few miles off Long Island. It’s stuck with them nonetheless. So my hope with this review was to convince a few of the people who still think of Tennis as the silly white couple on the boat that this band is really worth a little bit of their time, now more than ever, and I hope you’re convinced too.
Via Electric Lit.
Not sure if this is more encouraging or daunting, but it’s definitely interesting!
Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. I only just heard the sad, sad news of Robin Williams’s death. My wife sent me a message to tell me he had died, and, when I asked her what he died from, she told me something that nobody in the news seems to be talking about.
When people die from cancer, their cause of death can be various horrible things – seizure, stroke, pneumonia – and when someone dies after battling cancer, and people ask “How did they die?”, you never hear anyone say “pulmonary embolism”, the answer is always “cancer”. A Pulmonary Embolism can be the final cause of death with some cancers, but when a friend of mine died from cancer, he died from cancer. That was it. And when I asked my wife what Robin Williams died from, she, very wisely, replied “Depression”.
The word “suicide” gives many people the impression that “it was his own decision,” or “he chose to die, whereas most people with cancer fight to live.” And, because Depression is still such a misunderstood condition, you can hardly blame people for not really understanding. Just a quick search on Twitter will show how many people have little sympathy for those who commit suicide…
But, just as a Pulmonary Embolism is a fatal symptom of cancer, suicide is a fatal symptom of Depression. Depression is an illness, not a choice of lifestyle. You can’t just “cheer up” with depression, just as you can’t choose not to have cancer. When someone commits suicide as a result of Depression, they die from Depression – an illness that kills millions each year. It is hard to know exactly how many people actually die from Depression each year because the figures and statistics only seem to show how many people die from “suicide” each year (and you don’t necessarily have to suffer Depression to commit suicide, it’s usually just implied). But considering that one person commits suicide every 14 minutes in the US alone, we clearly need to do more to battle this illness, and the stigmas that continue to surround it. Perhaps Depression might lose some its “it was his own fault” stigma, if we start focussing on the illness, rather than the symptom. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. He died from Depression*. It wasn’t his choice to suffer that.
Cards Against Humanity.
I’m a big fan. Well, I bought this.
It’s great. It hold all of my shit. But it holds something else too.
If you have it, open your box.
You see how I started to tear away at the top of the box there?
Do it carefully.
There’s something in there. What could that be?
There’s a card.
There is a card literally hidden in the top of the box.
But what card?
I fucking love these people.
The right-wing media is outraged over a D.C. teacher’s bizarre request for students to compare George W. Bush to Hitler.
Funny thing, we don’t remember this level of anger from conservative media outlets when major conservative figures repeatedly compared Obama to Hitler in front of audiences far larger than a classroom full of kids.
Former SNL star Victoria Jackson:
Obama legally kills babies and now he can legally kill Grandmas!
Hitler did this. He killed the weak, the sick, the old, and babies and races/religions he didn’t like.
Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate.
[Obama is] a dime store Mein Kampf.
If you can’t see through the dishonesty and the scamming of this president with that scenario fresh in your mind, then that’s literally like, I guess that would be like, I don’t know, a German in 1938 pretending to respect the Jews and then going home and putting on his brown shirt and forcing his neighbors onto a train to be burned to death.
Then there was that time that a Fox News radio host aired a “side-by-side comparison” of speeches by Hitler and Obama, and right-wing radio host Michael Savage took things even further by claiming that the U.S. is “50 leagues below the degeneracy” of Germany under Hitler.
Bottom line: Conservatives take up arms when people compare U.S. presidents to Hitler, unless that president happens to be Obama. In reality, Nazi analogies are rarely appropriate, regardless of what part of the political spectrum one identifies with.
If you need further clarification on this topic, here’s a handy flowchart.