He Is: Remembering Jonghyun in 10 Songs

A few weeks ago I signed up for an online essay class where we learned and wrote in different styles. Our first one was list, and one of the prompts was to write about someone we knew really well. I decided to write about Jonghyun, and to think about that dynamic celebrity creates: we feel like we know these people, but really we don’t.

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A fresh, needed perspective from a living female rock critic

Jessica Hopper’s book, “The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic” goes beyond the simple story of a review or profile.

After years of music criticism, Jessica Hopper assembled her best work to plant a flag in pop culture criticism with her second book, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. Her dry humor and honest reviews make this First Collection an enjoyable read, but Hopper’s refreshing point of view on female musicians and fans really make these essays cultural criticism. She took each artist, body of work, and the overall culture to contextualize it within her own perspective. Continue reading

2017: The whiplash year for K-pop

What does it mean to go from one of the most validating years to its most heartbreaking.

2017 was the year that put Korean pop (K-pop) on the map. And not in a mocking, other-ing way, like how “Gangnam Style” swept pop culture in 2013. No, this year K-pop, specifically boy bands, hit mainstream America and made an impression. As a fan since 2012 (I came late to the game, I know) watching K-pop’s rise was both one of the most amazing things to see… and eventually one of the most heartbreaking. Continue reading