Drop the shopping mall playlist and try out these Christmas tracks

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Photo by David Ramírez on Unsplash

Christmas music is a funny thing. It can either inspire waves of nostalgia when you hear your favorite childhood song, or pure hatred when you hear tracks that really get on your nerves.

At this point I often find myself on the latter side, cringing as I hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for the billionth time. You can’t walk around a supermarket or mall without hearing tracks like these ad infinitum.

These songs were good the first few times I heard them, but after…

Answering this question can help us design better urban areas

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Photo by Miltiadis Fragkidis on Unsplash

Whenever we make a decision about our cities, we often take too narrow a view of the impacts of that decision.

When the larger implication of these projects is not taken into account, we can often end up with cities that don’t fit our vision of what we want them to be. That widened road or interstate that allowed drivers to cut a few minutes off their commutes has now separated neighborhoods and severed communities, changing the larger feel of that city.

“We were just doing what the numbers suggested,”…

The high prices and lack of access in the United States is a problem we need to tackle

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

It’s getting close to noon in Southern Arizona, which means one thing is about to get really frustrating: The Internet Access.

For some reason, around the middle of the day the internet has been going off and on at our house. Sometimes the internet will disconnect every few minutes, without any real explanation as to why. Although it’s worse around 11 to 1pm, the truth is it happens all day, and can shut off at any moment.

What makes this even more…

It’s time our cities talk about vehicle speed and pedestrian deaths

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Photo by Joan You on Unsplash

It’s about time we talk about speed on American roads. As citizens and road users, we don’t talk about it enough, and that’s a problem.

Why? Because vehicle speed is one of the major reasons pedestrians die on roads in the United States.

Take this stat into account. If a pedestrian is hit by a car traveling 20 mph, they have less than a 10% chance of being killed. If that same car is traveling 40 mph, the person’s chance of dying jumps to 80%.

This graph shows just…

Is Taylor Swift’s new album a slap in the face to the indie music world?

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Rating: 3/10

Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest albums of the year has been released by Taylor Swift. What is a little different this time is the style of her music, and the image she’s attempting to sell.

Already a mega-superstar with millions of dollars stuffed in her pockets, Swift has apparently tired of the celebrity life, wishing she was an indie darling with a string of universally revered albums behind her. …

The former indie music publication is now just another pop music guide

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Photo by Alfred Kenneally on Unsplash

Going through a reddit forum of music lovers the other day, I stumbled on a discussion that peaked my interest: Pitchfork.

If you’re a music lover, chances are you know about Pitchfork. The publication started in the mid ‘90s as a group of counterculture music writers that ripped on vacuous pop music with an air of pretension and academic clout.

Usually, their reviews were thoroughly-researched and well-written, giving them an air of authority when they not only said the music sucked, but gave valid reasons for why it…

A songwriting savant who disappeared into obscurity

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Judee conducting the orchestral recordings for her album

Looking back, the music industry in 70s would have us believe it was a sunny time to be alive. Genres like soft rock and disco soared in the late 70s, with feel-good anthems and and optimistic lyrics defining the feeling of a whole era.

The optimism may come in part from the soaring sales and multimedia merchandising that was beginning to transform the music industry into a moneymaking machine. Perhaps at its highest moment of excess, label executives and managers threw hordes of money at lavish tours and up-and-coming artists.

Led Zeppelin and…

And you’ve probably never heard of him

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The back image of Weber’s album As The Time Flies

Whatever happened to Frank Weber? I find myself asking that question as I sail through the sunset light on the outskirts of town, a song by Weber playing loud out of my speakers.

The song is “‘71”, Weber’s ode to his younger years in the early 70s. And oh what a time it must have been, when music seemed like a far-reaching horizon he could follow forever.

“‘71” is the consummate ’70s pop hit, featuring warm piano chords, a punchy, latin-influenced rhythm, and a chorus of voices adding color and depth to the melody. …

A few midnight ponderings on the nature of running and meaning

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Photo by Fitsum Admasu on Unsplash

Usually I don’t write about running, but with all the time at home during the pandemic, I’ve found myself running (haha) a bit dry on all the topics I usually write about.

I’m a writer on Medium (a website for bloggers to publish their pieces) and I normally write about urban planning, city politics, and music, among other things. The more time I spend at home, though, the more uninspired I feel to continue to write about these things.

It’s like I need to stir the pot a bit…

What’s Better — Running with or without music?

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Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Running and music.

In my mind, they go together like peanut butter and jelly; like french fries and ketchup, or even burgers and beer.

Running, in its essence, is a solitary sport. Though there may be times when we run together, the vast majority of us run alone. Mile after mile, race after race, stride after stride, it’s us in our heads, facing off against the vast expanse of running ahead of us.

Because of that, many runners listen to music as they get in their daily workouts.

But just like anything…

Eric Carlson

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