The Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate

I was as anxious as anyone to see if it would appear on Spotify.

Of course, like every girl between the ages of 13-28, I’m talking about Taylor Swift’s 1989, which is the first album of hers I’ve really connected with. It could be the love letter to New York, the ridiculously astute observation regarding boys, love and torture, or the blatant call-out of a fellow female performer re: catty behavior.

To backtrack a bit, I’m a bit strange when it comes to music consumption; while I rarely buy a physical CD, I am constantly downloading full albums, and am obsessive when it comes to building the best work-day Spotify playlists. I don’t pay for Spotify Premium because I don’t mind listening to ads, but I only listen to the full albums I’ve purchased while I’m sleeping because I hate the tinny quality of my iPhone’s sound.

The one constant with my consumption is that the artists are paid. Having worked in the industry and having maintained friendships with acts of all sizes over the years, I know just how important royalties are; however, I also know that artists tend not to be well-compensated by streaming services. Gone are the days when a popular act was guaranteed a platinum record; now, touring and merchandise are vital to the financial health of an act, with streaming (depending upon the platform and the stream volume) providing only fractions of a penny per stream.

Do I think Taylor Swift is hurting financially? Obviously not. But she’s setting an important precedent for artists who may be.

Because just as man cannot live on bread alone, artists can’t support themselves by relying upon streaming. And so I completely agree with and support Taylor’s decision to remove her back catalog from Spotify. Don’t get me wrong – I still love the service; however, if artists encouraging people to purchase at market value helps to boost a sagging industry, then I’ll gladly purchase my favorite artists’ albums.

Would I prefer from a convenience standpoint to have full access to any song I want, whenever I want? Of course. Would I rather my favorites are no longer able to record because of the missed album royalties that come from streaming? Absolutely not.

#unpopularopinion

Love,

Your Gal

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Insert Musical Break Here

Have you ever had one of those days that would be vastly improved by the addition of a 4-6 minute musical break? Of course you have; if there’s one thing that unites us all as a species, it’s a deep and abiding need for our lives to some day, perhaps only for one day, be a musical.

(Of course, if I had Sutton Foster’s dance skills, you’d catch me tapping down the street like a maniac, but that’s beside the point.)

There never seems to be more of a need for a song-and-dance break than September in New England. Poised on the brink of two seasons, never certain whether it’s bathing-suit-hot or #SweaterWeather, we all develop a uniquely Yankee sort of edginess. Woe betide any tourist asking for directions to the USS Constitution or the Aquarium; they’d find a more welcome reception were they standing in the middle of the 405 holding up four lanes of traffic. Of course, New Englanders aren’t particularly known for our warmth, but there’s something about the dividing line between Summer and Autumn that cranks the curmudgeon up to 11.

I’m not proud to say that I’m not immune. While like everyone I try to put my best self into the world every day, I won’t lie and say I haven’t crossed the street to avoid a passel of tourists or used a few choice words when nearly run down by a tour trolley, but at the end of the day that isn’t the person I want to be.

Enter the mental (and, let’s be honest, the occasional actual) musical break.

When I was a teenager, there was nowhere I felt safer, freer or happier than my high school theatre. If you can picture in your mind a prototypical drama geek, you can picture me – I spent half my life on that worn old stage goofing around with my friends and giving our director gray hairs, pausing only for the occasional dramatic Antigone recitation. And while I was flatly useless during dance workshops, there was something joyful in rehearsing every aspect of a musical, and until recently, it was something I’d lost.

Until one night recently I fell down the YouTube rabbit hole. Somehow, half an hour of bunny videos and Conan sketches led me to a playlist of Tony Award performances, and there, right at the top, was the transcendent Patti Lupone singing “Rose’s Turn.”

Is it a joyful number? Not really.

Did it make me remember that time a bunch of eighth graders wandered into our shabby little theatre and found a few of us belting this out like it was the last time we’d ever have a chance to sing?

Absolutely. That joy, that searing feeling in my lungs – it all came flooding back. And there was a sort of peace in thinking about a time when literally nothing mattered as much as my friends and I trying to out-diva one another. Of course, ten years later, I’m much more aware that life isn’t a musical. Not all endings are happy and not all days are full of melodic interludes.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t live like they might be.

Love,
Your Gal

Meet My Friends, Kübler and Ross

Or, the five stages of going-to-a-bachelorette-party-when-you’d-rather-be-at-home-watching-E! grief.

Let’s preface this with a soundtrack.

(As an all-in-good-fun FYI, I promise I’m only slightly ancient and crotchety.)

1. Denial: The subject attempts to shut out the reality or the magnitude of his/her situation and begins to develop a false reality. Or, more simply put: a 25-year-old girl cries in front of her empty-full closet.

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2. Anger: The subject moves on from denial and manifests instead feelings of rage. Examples include subject standing on a street corner outside a restaurant, waiting for the rest of her party in five-inch heels before she can be seated.

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3. Bargaining: The subject’s anger abates, and he/she begins to negotiate with a higher or unknown power to avoid the cause of grief. A technique often employed by young women to stop their friends from hoovering tequila shots. This maneuver is often preceded by the “side-eye.”

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4. Depression: The subject becomes sullen and silent, but begins to feel an emotional attachment once again to persons and things; at this stage, the subject may also circle back to the anger stage, when she realizes, to her anguish, much of her party has scattered like a herd of cats.

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5. Acceptance: The subject is finally able to resolve his or her feelings about the future as well as past grievances; among young women, this is generally accomplished over a plate of shared chili cheese fries at a late-night diner.

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Happy blueberry mojito-ing, kids.

Love,

Your Gal

In Which This Isn’t About Justin Timberlake

I am an old lady.

There, I said it. While I’ve been joking about it since I turned 21, the Internet proved to me last night that I am officially old (or maybe just out of the loop?)

To backtrack, while I try to stay well-informed about news and politics and world events – even though CNN is basically as good as an Ambien – I’m sorely lacking when it comes to the boy band resurgence. Don’t get me wrong, back in the late 90s/early 2000s, I could not only bust a move to N*SYNC, but I also wholeheartedly dedicated myself to learning all their lyrics. 

Didn’t we all?

(And, of course, like many a red-blooded lady, I am both in awe of and tremendously thankful for Justin Timberlake’s transformation from a ramen-noodle-haired lover of knit turtlenecks to a full-blown, dreamy, Ty Power-esque goofball.)

The boy bands of today? Well, I can’t replicate that love. And that’s not to denigrate them; it’s just to say I literally can no longer keep them straight. Whatever part of my gray matter that was once responsible for knowing exactly how many tips Lance Bass had frosted has long since deteriorated.

Case in point? My relationship (or lack thereof) with One Direction. The below Post-It, passed to a coworker, should neatly illustrate my my ignorance:

One Direction

Now, I understand 1D is a phenomenon. I understand they’re something I should know about if I’m to consider myself a pop culture aficionado. But there is something broken in my brain that causes me to point and say “Oh, they’re adorable. Who are they?” every time I see a photo of these lads on the Interwebs.

Of course, all of this is a very roundabout way of saying that, last night, I encountered this photo of Harry Styles at a wedding, and all I could do was clutch my pearls (metaphorically) and gasp, “Where is your tie, young man?!”

Which made me feel old. And out of touch. And surprisingly okay with that.

(Also, Harry – Jack White’s probably pretty upset you stole his look. Just saying.)

Love,

Your Gal