“Great, alright. So, two years ago you put out a song, and it was picked up by Aquarium Drunkard. The writer in a later article said he had only received the fuzzy song and one picture. It all seemed a bit Robert Johnson-y to me. Was it your intention to be so mysterious?
At the beginning, I mean, I’m not sure if I was purposefully trying to be mysterious, but I was listening to a lot of blues. I had just found out about Jandek, this weird musician from Texas. He’s been putting out records for like 30 years, and he always has just one very candid photo and these weird recordings. So, maybe it was more of an ode to Jandek than Robert Johnson.
My girlfriend at the time lived in Florida. They had a basement, and she took a picture of me going into it, and then it was used over and over again [after the Aquarium Drunkard used it].”
"Hearing the unreleased albums offers a wider view of the roads taken and not taken, and testifies to the full breadth of an incredible output over the past 15 years.
In terms of how he is perceived, Adams’s shadow discography can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it confirms his status as the most talented singer-songwriter of his generation. When it comes to putting melody and words together into appealing, melodic, and heart-rending packages, nobody does it with more apparent ease. Give Adams a guitar and five minutes and he’ll find a new way to break your heart. On the other hand, “apparent ease” can also be construed as a negative trait, just as “talented” can be twisted into a backhanded compliment for a person who perhaps hasn’t reached his full potential. Because Adams has made so much music, and so much of it is worth hearing, it’s possible to view it more as an exercise in prolificacy than artistry, a mere parlor trick of insta-composition as opposed to an important expression. I don’t share that view — Adams’s lack of a filter doesn’t diminish his art, it’s what makes that art possible — but it is undoubtedly baked into his image. From the beginning of Adams’s career, he’s been haunted by taunts of “not good enough!” from demanding listeners who believe that if he would just settle down and focus, he might finally make the unassailable masterpiece that’s expected of him, like the smart kid who needs to buckle down and study for his SATs already.”
"Maroon 5’s music can seem frustratingly opaque if engaged as a series of songs packaged together on an album. Locating the emotional core of V is pointless, akin to searching for enlightenment on a bottle of musk. While a lyric (from “New Love”) like “If I ever let you down / Forgive me / Forgive me, now / Would it kill you to forgive me, now?” might signify pathos in a different setting, coming from Levine, it is a repetitive, hectoring bleat searching mindlessly for a hook, like a shark stalking swimmers’ legs. But on the radio, Maroon 5’s malleability has clearly been beneficial. Pop stars are exalted but ultimately weighed down by personae that set the parameters for their subsequent work. Meanwhile, a relatively anonymous pap act like Maroon 5 is free to move into whichever realm proves most conducive for continued sustenance. As a blandly handsome and properly credentialed Caucasian male personality, Levine has the privilege of fading in and out of every corner of popular consciousness, always seen but never quite remembered. He can guest on a Kanye West track, contribute to a televised Beatles tribute, and pal around with a good ol’ boy like Blake Shelton and elicit the same dispassionate reaction from the audience. Little is expected from Levine beyond the filling of space between icons and the circuses that accompany them. And Levine always delivers the precise amount of what little is expected of him."
"My favorite part of the “Shake It Off” lyrics is that she uses the NorCal slang “hella.” I was surprised to learn that people think Taylor stays out too late, because I have literally never heard anyone suggest that. Isn’t her whole thing staying in on weekends, baking pies while everyone goes to the clob? The song insinuates that she probably spends a lot of time dancing in her room to Robyn songs, as do we all!
This is as close as Swift flies to Miley Cyrus Bangerz territory, but the genius of “Shake It Off” is that you can’t twerk to it.2 The only option is to do jittery Swifty dancing to it, like a bunch of tween girls jumping on a bed at a slumber party. Swift’s attempts in the video at modern dance are very Frances Ha. Is Taylor playing up her inherent awkwardness in this video/album cycle as an attempt to dispel the notion that she is an ice princess? Is Taylor Swift the Nathan Fielder of pop? (Can I pay a million dollars to watch Swift and Fielder do the Pulp Fiction Batusi dance scene?)
Here’s the thing: Taylor’s transformation from heartbroken country dove to carefree pop swan is actually right on schedule. She’s like any girl in her twenties (she’s now 24) who has reconciled her overblown hopes about romance with reality, decided not to give a fuck, and become much happier for it. She’s still throwing in jabs about her callous exes, but no longer seems dependent on anyone’s approval, particularly straight men’s. This makes her a million percent more attractive, because she’s maturing into a person who owns the most embarrassing parts of her personality. Even dancing awkwardly throughout “Shake It Off,” she seems more comfortable than ever.”
"Last night in Chicago, he played an astonishing 33-song setlist that included covers, live debuts, and an 11-song encore. When it was all said and done, the concert lasted nearly three-hours and marked the longest performance of White’s career."