We Went Away: A Recap
Hi there, sorry for our absence. Since we’ve been away, one of our pieces was featured on the Medium homepage, there have been new jobs, overseas trips and university assignments aplenty to keep us busy and away from writing. That hasn’t kept us from our media diet, however, and here’s a recap of what happened while we were away, and it isn’t all Frank Ocean and iPhones, though it could certainly have been.
- Frank Ocean, Blonde (Blond? Who Knows): Easily the biggest release since we’ve been away. My decision to switch to Apple Music was vindicated in a big way as I’ve had exclusive rights to listen to this brilliant album over and over. The magic is in Frank’s ability to write lyrics in a way that sounds conversational, but is in fact brilliant and poetic when you dive a bit further. Definitely don’t give up after the first listen, it gets better every time.
- Noname, Telefone: A frequent collaborator with GTC favourite Chance the Rapper, Noname’s new EP has everything that makes Chance great, with a more chill, funky vibe. ‘Diddy Bop’ is a good starting point, and if you’re a fan of Chance then you’ll like this stuff.
- Vince Staples, Prima Donna: Staples’ new EP is 7 tracks of anger, vulnerability, and some tracks of him singing? Definitely worth a listen or two, even just for Andre 3000 in the great hype song ‘War Ready’.
- Francis and the Lights: I confess I’d never heard of this guy before ‘Summer Friends’, but Kanye is a fan and so am I. Definitely listen to ‘Friends’, which features Bon Iver, and ‘Wild Love’ with the Weeknd and Cashmere Cat. Can’t wait for more music from Francis.
- Still Processing: The New York Times newest podcast has only one episode so far, but it’s a good one and I think it’ll only get better. The premise basically boils down to two very smart people talking about current affairs and I will always listen to that sort of thing.
- Surprisingly Awesome: This podcast is one that backs the Gimlet model that I explored a while ago; both the original hosts seem to be gone, but the premise and quality of the stories and editing carry it anyway.
- Ben Brown was in the Arctic and his vlogs from there are seriously beautiful.
- The New Age Creators finished up on SoulPancake but they are back at their channel making great things.
- The Get Down: This Netflix original gave Baz Luhrman a whole lot of money to make a show about the birth of Hip Hop in late-70s New York, and it’s exactly what you would expect from that, in the best possible way. It’s kind of weird that Daveed Diggs plays an older Justice Smith, but with Nas’ voice, but it’s not a big deal. The soundtrack is great too, and it just came to Spotify after an Apple Music exclusive.
- iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in 107 seconds: Apple is the best marketing outfit in the world. Period. End of. No matter what your thoughts on the product, this video is impressive and brilliant.
- Frank Ocean, Nikes: This is one of the best music videos of the year. Beautifully shot and edited, it sort of encompasses the vision behind the album.
- Frank Ocean Just Went Independent And Ignited A Music Streaming War: Forbes’ Website is trash but this article is interesting. I personally think the more likely outcome is that labels will become less necessary soon, rather than fewer exclusives, but Frank certainly blew the status quo up.
- Pete Wells Has His Knives Out: A brilliant profile of the New York Times food critic, great long read for a weekend or a bus ride.
- You can’t vlog in North Korea and call it apolitical: A great analysis of FunForLouis’ recent trip to North Korea. I think that he was pretty naive to go about everything the way that he did and not expect a backlash, and I’m especially happy that there is a discussion happening now about the responsibility of YouTube and other online stars to their predominantly young audiences.
- Inside iPhone 7: Why Apple Killed The Headphone Jack: This piece has great access to the people that made this decision. I honestly think that two weeks after the phone comes out everyone will wonder why they thought it was such a big deal. I’ll have more thoughts on the iPhone 7 later in the week, but if you’re mad about headphones, and even if you are just interested in Apple, this is a great read. Buzzfeed is not just a clickbait site, people!
That’s all for this week, folks. We’ll be back with your regularly scheduled programming soon, starting hopefully with some thoughts of mine about the new iPhone, with more to come. See you around.
Follow me on twitter and let’s take this conversation further. What have you been reading, watching, and listening to? Do you have recommendations for us? I’d love to hear from you.