Category Archives: Uncategorized

V for Validation – Villanova Wins!

villanova-championship-getty-ftr-040516jpg_moaqj8ev20p13cmwqztwo6nb

Villanova Wildcats, 2016 NCAA National Champions

by Jeff Yerger

NOTE: I wrote this yesterday, April 5, 2016, hence the time frame here. 

It’s been nearly 24 hours since Villanova’s historic NCAA Championship win over the University of North Carolina, and I’m still giddy with the emotions from last night. My calves hurt from jumping uncontrollably after Kris Jenkins nailed the game-winning three. I think I have a bump in my head from jumping into a TV. My legs ache from walking/jumping/skipping a Lancaster Avenue jam-packed with ecstatic fans like me from Gullifty’s Bar in Bryn Mawr to Villanova’s main campus. My face hurts from smiling like an idiot during the whole celebration up until I went to bed. And I’ve never felt better.

77-74, Villanova wins… is this real life? Did any of this actually happen? Did Jenkins really make that three, or is it still in the air? Was that actually Charles Barkley bouncing up and down like a school girl? To Villanova alumni and/or fans like me across the globe, this has been fairy tale material. Villanova’s not supposed to win these kinds of games. Only Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and UNC are allowed to win championships, right? Not some Catholic school outside of Philadelphia. Four years ago, Villanova was written off. Today, a group of scrappy kids who grew up in the greater Philadelphia area have transcended into college basketball legends. Kris Jenkins has become a folk hero. Seniors Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu blossomed into superstars before our eyes in four years. These are our guys, man. They did it!

NCAA Basketball: Final Four Championship Game-Villanova vs North Carolina

Yeah, I’m still at a loss for words as to how to describe this feeling (although the word “relief” and the phrase “I can now die happy” come to mind). Last night was everything I dreamed of and more, and yet, I’m not sure I could’ve pictured a more perfect moment. It was so damn perfect. This is why we love sports. We live and die by one game, one shot, one play, one moment. Games like last night’s are why we subject ourselves to years of agony and frustration, because the reward can be so damn sweet.

On a personal level, Villanova winning the national championship means the world to me, and it is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Villanova has always been a huge part of my life. Most of my family attended Villanova. My grandmother worked at the law school, while my grandfather was a professor in the library science department. My sister and I literally would not be here if it weren’t for Villanova, as our parents met there during their senior year. I’m so so lucky that they were able to afford to send me there when it was my time for college, and I don’t thank them enough for it.  To me, this win is for them; for us.

As for the rest of us, Villanova becoming national champions is validation with a capital “V” – validation for every “Piccolo Girl” tear, every early March Madness exit, and every player who has set foot in the Pavillion. It is validation for Big 5 basketball, and the great basketball culture the city of Philadelphia has to offer. It is validation for the “Nova Nation” – for every student, parent, professor, staff, alumni, and fan. It is validation for every sleepless night studying. It is validation for every dollar spent on student loans. It is validation for taking a chance and submitting an application to attend Villanova University. Villanova’s win validates the pride we all have for this great school and its community. It’s way more than basketball.

This year’s Villanova Basketball team played with an unmatched amount of heart, courage, and sportsmanship. They always hustled, and they never faltered under pressure, winning many games and countless hearts in the process. Every player on this team played an important role in this championship, from the walk-ons to the video coordinator, because that’s what great teams do. We always knew we had a great coach in Jay Wright, who now has a new ring to add to his spectacular wardrobe. We always knew we had a great team that was capable of great things, and it’s about time we got some validation. We earned it.



Slonk So Hard

9831f5f4-7ee1-4e1a-bf56-b433c1f1cedd

Slonk Donkerson, Mercury Lounge, New York, NY  2.26.16 Photo by Jeff Yerger

I have no idea what the name Slonk Donkerson means. It could be a sandwich, a disease, or the name of an alien from a galaxy far away. Frankly, I don’t care what it means, but it feels like it’s been around forever.

Slonk Donkerson, a Brooklyn-based band of long time friends Dylan Vandenhoeck (bass/lead vocals), Zack O’Brien (formerly drums, now guitar/backup vocals), and Parker W. Silzer IV (guitar/vocals), absolutely rocked the Mercury Lounge in New York City Friday, February 26. They’re everything you could possibly want in a band: poise, attitude, rawness, and slick rock and roll that pays homage to The Replacements, Husker Du, and even the bands those groups stood against like Van Halen, 80’s Genesis, and Rush. Plus, Vandenhoeck is a mullet-clad frontman who plays a fretless, five-string bass…  I mean, come on, how cool is that?

On paper, this concept sounds so insincere and perhaps a little cheesy, but man, Slonk Donkerson is the exact opposite. It’s not just enough to sound like bits and pieces of these bands, you have to evoke the feeling and energy that comes along with the sound. Slonk brought that kind of musical excitement to the Mercury Lounge Friday. It was a kind of excitement that I haven’t felt since I saw The Replacements for the first time at Forrest Hills in 2014. Plus, they’re crowd-pleasers. I have the utmost respect for a band that’s not too proud to play a song or two that the crowd wants the hear. I’m not even sure “Watching Every Channel at Once” and “Build Something / Break Even” (my two immediate favorites) were on the setlist, but when the crowd shouted out for them, they played them.

Their new album, The Lunar Martini Motorbike Club and Their Respective Destinies is…well… weirdly named but wildly fun. Slonk has a unique talent for combining a million different sounds and different ideas into one 3:00 song. While it’s evoking familiar sounds, Slonk Donkerson is so different than anything coming out of Brooklyn. It’s refreshing. I highly recommend seeing this band at one of their many shows in the New York City area (here’s hoping they travel down to Philly where I am now). They’re a great band with a bright future and a killer live show. It’s as Slonk as that!

Go listen to their album on Soundcloud or better yet, buy it on iTunes.

 

Revelations and Deprestons

“If you’ve got a spare half a million, you could knock it down and start rebuilding.” – Courtney Barnett, “Depreston”

At the end of every summer, I seem to have some sort of revelation. As I dread the upcoming barrel of the long, cold months ahead, I think to myself that just because the weather isn’t warm and perfect, it can’t be all that bad. The Fall’s cool, right? I mean, it’s got like football… and stuff. I guess that’s cool. There’s almost a full year until the weather warms up again, and this means, at least to me, that there’s a lot of opportunity ahead; opportunity to do something with your mundane life. What’s my opportunity, you ask? What’s my AMAZING revelation? I’ll tell you what it is: I want to be more creative. I want to make more music, play more music for people to here. Music means a lot to me. I don’t want to lose it and become some poor old slob who watches reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond every afternoon.

As a part of being more creative, I also realize that I need to write on here more. I want to write more. I miss it. It’s been about a year since my life moved from my cozy parents’ house in New Jersey to a more independent way of living in debt down in Philadelphia. Somewhere along the way, I forgot about how much I love to express my thoughts in writing. There’s so much I want to say; so many wise-cracks to make! So much music to share! So much complaining about the Rangers to vent!

So, after a long year of getting my new life together and balanced, I really want to get back into sharing my word diarrhea with you. Doesn’t that sound great? Diarrhea: the gift that keeps on giving!

On that note, time to start rebuilding. Stay tuned…

2014 Songs of the Summer

Do you like summer? Of course you do, because you’re not a crazy person! This year, we New Yorkers endured a hellish, nut-numbing winter because we’re too stupid to move to like Florida or something. BUT WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT DA PURDY SNOW?!!!! Oh I don’t know, maybe work at Disney World then sit outside and drink Corona’s all day in the middle of January. Duh!

Thankfully, it’s June, so it’s high time to get outside, burn your skin off, and jump in that shark-infested ocean for a bit. The summer’s finally here… we did it! Well done, everybody. Of course, it wouldn’t be summer without some sweet tunes to go along with it. You know, the kind of songs you’d play at a BBQ as you try to drown out those annoying neighbor kids who are either playing tag or getting brutally murdered next door. Or maybe, these are the songs you blast in your car on your way down to the shore, until you get stuck in traffic and maybe you should turn it down a little because the guy in the white van next to you looks a little angry.

However you may listen, summer songs are important because they’re going to forever remind you of a particular year’s summer fun. I mean, tell me you don’t smell sunscreen whenever you hear “Steal My Sunshine.” Oh, just me? Anyway, it’s all about good times and good vibes maaaan. Last year, for me, the song of the summer was a tie between “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines” (thanks Pharrell!), and if it were up to me, these would be the songs of the summer EVERY year. But alas, out with the old and in with the new, right?

So, without further ado, below is a playlist of songs released since Labor Day 2013 that just got that summery feel to them, and I think they’ll bode well in the heat. Put your shades on, lather that sunscreen on your ghostly pale body, crack open a cold one, and turn the music up!

Feel free to complain/praise in the comments. TURN DOWN FOR WHAT!

(Writer’s note: I was so tempted to include “Latch” by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith on here, because I really hope it makes it big this summer in the mainstream, but that song came out like 2 years ago, so I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Think of it as an honorable mention, I guess.)

(Also, damn right I made a playlist with both Justin Timberlake and Fucked Up in it! Wanna fight about it?!)

One more thing: the following song is not available on Spotify, but it damn well better make your summer playlist. Why? Because I said so!

That Sunday Barrel’s 2014 Songs of the Summer

 

Jack White’s Gimmicky Lazaretto Ultra LP

Jack White, the palest man on earth and occasional guitar player, announced yesterday that his new album, Lazaretto (6/10 on Third Man), will also be released in an “Ultra LP” format. The Ultra LP will contain all sorts of whozits and whatzits galore, per White’s site:

-180 gram vinyl
-2 vinyl-only hidden tracks hidden beneath the center labels
-1 hidden track plays at 78 RPM, one plays at 45 RPM, making this a 3-speed record
-Side A plays from the outside in
-Dual-groove technology: plays an electric or acoustic intro for “Just One Drink” depending on where needle is dropped. The grooves meet for the body of the song.
-Matte finish on Side B, giving the appearance of an un-played 78 RPM record
-Both sides end with locked grooves
-Vinyl pressed in seldom-used flat-edged format
-Dead wax area on Side A contains a hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record
-Absolutely zero compression used during recording, mixing and mastering
-Different running order from the CD/digital version
-LP utilizes some mixes different from those used on CD and digital version

Wowee!! A 3 speed record?! What a GAME CHANGER! Let’s see your shitty-ass 128 kbps mp3 do that! Sarcasm aside, I’ll admit it that it’s pretty cool White is putting so much thought into this product, which will be available at a reasonable price too. I’m just surprised he left out all the other features of the “Ultra LP” in this press release. Here are a few more features of the upcoming Lazaretto Ultra LP Jack White forgot to mention:

– record can be used as Frisbee

– this vinyl will be more vinyl-y than regular vinyl

– free fedora hat with every purchase!

– if placed on a table, record can be cool decorative place mat

– blew a tire on your bike? Replace it with the Lazaretto LP!

– add tomato sauce and cheese for a delicious vinyl pizza

– use this LP as a cool belt buckle. The ladies will love it!

– Absolutely zero originality used during recording, mixing and mastering

– Dead wax area on Side B contains a hand-etched hologram of Tupac, the first of its kind on a vinyl record

– the end of the album features a never-ending loop of Robin Williams talking

– if played loud enough, you can drown out the sound of your pathetic cries and hopes for a White Stripes reunion

– when played backwards, this album will reveal satanic messages as well as the whereabouts of Meg White

– hidden tracks are actually just Jack White farting whilst talking about vintage guitars

– finally, you can trade this record for the new Fucked Up album Glass Boys, available June 3, which will no doubt be a better investment in the long-term than this gimmicky bullshit

1st Annual “Sunday Best” Part Two: 2013 Album of the Year

Sunday Best Albums of 2013

Sunday Best Albums of 2013

by Jeff Yerger

And now, without further ado, here are your 25 Sunday Best Albums of 2013:

25       The Octopus Project – Fever Forms

Although Fever Forms is technically an electronic album, The Octopus Project prove here that they’re not interested in being a one-trick pony. KEY TRACKS: “Whitby”, “The Falls”

24       Free Energy – Love Sign

It’s not every day a band records a truly solid power-pop rock album that’s this fun. KEY TRACKS: “Dance All Night”, “Hold You Close”

23       Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

Thanks to the return of Songs for the Deaf collaborator Dave Grohl on drums, Josh Homme and company found their edge again. KEY TRACKS: “Smooth Sailing”, “I Appear Missing”

22       Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Although I would’ve liked to hear more of ex-LCD Soundsystem frontman and producer James Murphy’s influence, Reflektor is still a refreshing turn of the chapter for a band looking for new musical avenues. KEY TRACKS: “We Exist”, “Here Comes the Nighttime”

21       Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob

Sister duo Tegan and Sara shamelessly shed their indie-folk skin for a dazzling pop gem of an album. KEY TRACKS: “Goodbye, Goodbye”, “I Was A Fool”

20       The Fratellis – We Need Medicine

Scottish rockers The Fratellis finally reunited after a lengthy hiatus and sound like they’re having fun again. Mon the Fratellis! KEY TRACKS: “Halloween Blues”, “Seven Nights, Seven Days”

19       Cut Copy – Free Your Mind

While we’re all talking about the dance-able albums of 2013 like Disclosure’s Settle or even Arcade Fire’s Reflektor, it’s easy to take Cut Copy for granted because they’ve been making solid records like these their whole career. Free Your Mind is certainly no exception. KEY TRACKS: “Take Me Higher”, “Walking in the Sky”

18       Paul McCartney – New

Macca, 71, returns with his best new release since 2005’s Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, and he doesn’t sound a day over Revolver. KEY TRACKS: “Early Days”, “I Can Bet”

17       Superchunk – I Hate Music

On I Hate Music, aging indie rockers Superchunk mourn the death of a best friend by truly celebrating his life and looking back at the good times, and it’s the best the band has sounded in decades. KEY TRACKS: “The Void”, “Breaking Down”

16       Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law

The Joy Formidable reach for new and louder heights on one of the more solid rock albums of 2013. Sophomore slump? I don’t think so! KEY TRACKS: “The Leopard and the Lung,” “Cholla”

15       Danny Brown – Old

Probably the best true rap album of the year, Old is a quasi-concept album that sees Danny Brown teaming up with the likes of A$AP Rocky, Purity Ring, and Charli XCX as he tries to outrun the demons of his past. KEY TRACKS: “Torture”, “Dubstep”

14       Deafheaven – Sunbather

About two days ago, I had this list all ready to go, but then something screwed this whole thing up. No, not Beyonce. It was Deafheaven and their gorgeous new album Sunbather. Holy shit, what an album! I’m ashamed of myself for not picking up on this album sooner, for it would surely be in my Top 10. Sunbather is a pulverizing black metal album that really isn’t black metal at all. It would be an injustice to deem an album of beautiful post-rock/shoe-gaze sound-scapes, ringing guitars, and melodic interludes as black metal. Look, I’m not fan of black metal, but as a casual listener, if you can get past the shrieking vocals, there are so many beautiful and powerful moments on Sunbather that make this album well worth it. KEY TRACKS: “Dream House”/”Irresistible”, “The Pecan Tree”

13       Mikal Cronin – MCII

On MCII, songwriter Mikal Cronin truly stepped his game up. Along with some help from his friend Ty Segal, Cronin proves that a little songwriting ingenuity, as well as a catchy chorus or two, can go a long way. KEY TRACKS: “Shout It Out”, “Change”

12       Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze

I’m not sure it would be fair to call Kurt Vile’s approach “lazy,” but it’s definitely down to earth. Wakin On A Pretty Daze sees Vile taking his time and letting his phone buzz off the shelf while he finger-picks his guitar to the bone. Listening to this album, you’d think you were stoned too, but you never, as they say, touched the stuff, right? KEY TRACKS: “KV Crimes”, “Never Run Away”

11       My Bloody Valentine – mbv

How do you follow up a legendary, genre-defining album over 20 years after it was released (oh, and the album shouldn’t suck either)? Well, ask My Bloody Valentine, because they just did. M b v is a head-pounding album that uses and expands the band’s groundbreaking sound from 1991’s Loveless while avoiding living in the past. KEY TRACKS: “New You”, “Nothing Is”

10       Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals

After creating a beautiful racket on their debut album Sleigh Bells stumbled a bit with its follow-up, Reign of Terror. But on Bitter Rivals, the duo traded in their 80’s hair metal punch for lush R&B choruses and acoustic guitars, and it’s the best decision they ever made… other than sporting these jerseys.   KEY TRACKS: “Young Legends”, “Love Sick”

9          The Strokes – Comedown Machine

I’m not sure anybody expected The Strokes to release an album this year (or ever again, for that matter). Angles was so disjointed, and apparently the recording process wasn’t any better. So, forgive us if we’re a bit surprised about how solid Comedown Machine really is. For the first time since 2002, it sounds like the band actually had a unified vision, and while they won’t make another Is This It? or Room on Fire ever again, at least we know they’re still capable of being cool. KEY TRACKS: “Tap Out”, “Welcome to Japan”

8          Cults – Static

I feel like this album went a bit under the radar this year. Perhaps with all the big releases this year, Cults were overlooked. It’s unfortunate, because Static is truly a diamond in the rough. KEY TRACKS: “I Can Hardly Make You Mine”, “Keep Your Head Up”

7          Savages – Silence Yourself

Very few debut albums are as captivating as Silence Yourself. The ladies of Savages have created a monster whose bark is as badass as its bite, and this dark, rollicking album demands your undivided attention. You have been warned.  KEY TRACKS: “She Will”, “City’s Full”

6          Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

I originally had Random Access Memories at the top of my list back in the summer. I guess it was because I was enthralled with the sheer ridiculousness of this album; it’s just so much fun, how could anyone hate it? Daft Punk went all out with this one. It’s an expensive album, with expensive hired-gun musicians, and in turn, it’s the best-sounding album of the year. But after a few more months of listening, I realized the album’s ego is its only downfall. Other than that magical segue from “Touch” into “Get Lucky,” the sequencing here feels all wrong (i.e. tracks 2 – 4 go ballad-zany prog epic-ballad), and it’s sometimes hard to get through the mid-part of the album. I hope I’m not coming across as nit-picky here, but even the best of albums have their flaws. Make no mistake though, when this album is on, there’s nothing like it. KEY TRACKS not named “Get Lucky”: “Instant Crush”, “Doing It Right”

5          The National – Trouble Will Find Me

When the National walk into a room, they may not light it up, but on record, they’re as breathtaking as ever. Trouble Will Find Me is the quintessential National album that combines all of their strengths into one emotionally powerful force. I’m not sure how much more you could say about this band, which has grown consistently and humbly throughout the years. Like a fine wine, they seem to get better with age, which is appropriate, because I feel like you need to drink a glass of red wine while listening to Trouble Will Find Me. It’s a captivating album that doesn’t play AT you, it plays WITH you. KEY TRACKS: “I Should Live in Salt”, “Humiliation”

4          Arctic Monkeys – AM

The Arctic Monkeys have sure changed a lot since the days they were supposedly changing the face British guitar rock, and on the sexy AM, they have finally hit their stride.  Frontman Alex Turner’s songwriting is as clever as ever, and in turn, AM is a unique rock album that pleasantly blends the sounds of 60s and 70s rock and roll with hip-hop and R&B. Think Black Sabbath meets TLC, which hopefully doesn’t cause your head to explode. KEY TRACKS: “Do I Wanna Know?”, “Knee Socks”

3          Caitlin Rose – The Stand In

I’m not exactly sure when it started, but within the last, say, 4 years or so, Country Music has dramatically increased in popularity in the US. The genre has become the new Dave Matthews Band, for better or for worse. While I can certainly see its appeal to the average college students and post-college graduates of America (I mean, every song has at least one line about drinking beer in it), about 99% of it is extremely hokey. Well, here’s your 1%. Caitlin Rose has made a down-to-earth, roots-first country album in The Stand-In, although it would be a disservice to call this a true red, white, and blue Country album. Rose’s presence on here is absolutely captivating, as her voice fluctuates with ease from a soft coo to a clear, powerful force. She’ll slap you in the face if you do her wrong, but she’ll also light your cigarette and buy you a beer at the end of the night. She’ll be cruel, she’ll be a clown, but she’ll never be insincere. KEY TRACKS: “Only A Clown”, “When I’m Gone”

2          HAIM – Days Are Gone

Where do I even begin? Days Are Gone is one of the finest pop, rock, hip-hop, whatever-you-want-to-call-it albums of past year – hell, the last decade – and this band only seems to be getting started. It’s almost unfair how talented these ladies are, and I’m not just saying that simply because they play their own instruments. Taylor Swift plays a guitar, but that hardly takes talent. It’s the way the HAIM sisters push their abilities to the limit that makes this band so special. On Days Are Gone, although the sound is polished, nothing sounds over-produced or out of place. The band consistently stays in the pocket and plays with such a confidence, it belies their age. KEY TRACKS: “The Wire”, “If I Could Change Your Mind”

1          Kanye West – Yeezus

Yeezus

In a recent interview, rapper Danny Brown stated that one of his biggest musical influences is Radiohead’s Kid A. “I studied Kid A,” Brown told Pitchfork. Of course, we all know the story the album by now: Brit-rock pioneers follow up critically acclaimed rock album with a dividing, minimalistic electronic album. People hated Kid A upon its initial release, but looking back, it’s become one of those legendary albums that every band strives to make but few actually achieve (it took Trent Reznor 20 years to make his Kid A). Part of the reason Kid A was derided was because, frankly, it made us all look stupid. We thought we wanted another Ok Computer or The Bends, but it was Radiohead who had the last laugh.

On Kid A, Radiohead focused on exploring different landscapes and creating new musical textures with as little guitars as possible. As Danny Brown says, “it’s not so much about the lyrics as it is about the way the beats feel, so what drives this album is the production.” Radiohead rid themselves of their trademark guitar zaps and freakouts, and instead adopted a more cerebral aesthetic that wasn’t so immediate. The vocals, if they weren’t manipulated and distorted to sound like a buzzing fridge or detuned radio, were minimalistic at best, rendering most of Thom Yorke’s lyrics as afterthoughts.

The reason I bring up Danny Brown is because a) I never would’ve expected it, b) it turns out you actually can hear a lot of Kid A’s influence on the first side of Brown’s excellent new album Old, (the production, at times, can be very similar. However, Brown’s lyrics are too captivating to be pushed by the wayside, and therefore Old could never come close to Kid A’s mission by default), and c) Brown wasn’t the only rapper to follow Radiohead’s lead this year.

Kanye West, arguably hip hop’s answer to Radiohead, is having his Kid A moment, and once again he proves he’s in a WAY different class than Danny Brown and his peers. Yeezus, Kanye West’s 6th solo venture, is THE album of 2013. It’s the most beautiful, captivating, haunting, divisive, and scathing record of the year, and there is absolutely nothing else like it.

I wanted to hate this album, I really did. Upon its release in June, I just didn’t know what to make of it. For a minimalistic album inspired by a lamp, there was so much going on. I couldn’t handle it at the time, and in many ways, I still don’t understand it. It’s so abrasive, yet I can’t ignore it.

Like the giant in “The Green Mile,” Kanye West opens his mouth and lets all of his nagging demons run wild on Yeezus. It actually makes for a pretty frightening experience. He doesn’t hold back or hide behind any macho façade. Everything that was tormenting him is now tormenting you, and this album is so physical that it really makes you feel the pressure. The album begins with the electric one-two punch of “On Sight” (Ye’s best opener in his arsenal) and “Black Skinhead,” but then you’re immediately dropped into the depths of hell (leave it to Kanye to make the only song featuring God to sound the most demonic… no, seriously, he included God as a featured guest). It’s like a bad panic attack that leads up to a climax on the pounding lament “Blood on the Leaves.”

In my original review of the album, I gave Kanye a lot of flack for the sub-par lyrics on Yeezus, most of which he apparently wrote as an after thought during production. I still think they’re terrible and at times lazy (“Swaghili 101” coming to a college near you), but what I realize now is that the lyrics were never meant to be the main attraction. Like Radiohead on Kid A, Kanye makes sure the music and the production is the focal point here. Dark, icy synths and acidic beats permeate every space, and every once and a while, Kanye will tease a taste of light in the form of either Justin Vernon, a stunning digi-guitar on “Hold My Liquor”, or a gospel choir, but he won’t let you forget you’re in his dark twisted reality. By “Send It Up,” it all seems hopeless, until Charlie Wilson comes down from the heavens on “Bound 2” and cleanses you of your sins. It’s a beautiful moment on the album that can only be fully appreciated after surviving the 9-track panic attack before it.

Throughout his whole career, Kanye West has acted the underdog, always having to prove himself. He was challenged to make a solo hip-hop record, so he made three of them. He broke his jaw and had his mouth wired shut, so he made “Through the Wire.” A rap artist isn’t supposed to sing on a record, but Kanye West made “808s” anyway. Then people said he’d never recover after “Taylor Swift-gate,” so he made one of the greatest rap albums of all time(!), My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.  Finally, it is Yeezus who takes the wheel, on the first album where Kanye West has turned the tables and dared us.

As the late Lou Reed discussed in his essential review of Yeezus, you know that by naming his album “Yeezus” and defiantly stating, “I AM a God,” Kanye is just daring people to challenge him. He’s deliberately taunting his haters with an album so provocative and so puzzling, and this time, it’s Yeezus who will have the last laugh.

That Sunday Barrel

God, Sundays are the worst, aren’t they?

The week is a long, treacherous road of drudgery in which you spend most of your time commuting with a million other miserable sturgeons and working at the whim of the all mighty Microsoft Office Suite.  All of this, of course, is the sacrifice we are willing to make so we can enjoy God’s sweet sweet gift to the earth we call “The Weekend”.

Ah, yes, the weekend is a glorious thing. Remember that feeling you would get in elementary school, when you opened the door from your classroom to the playground for recess? Well, the weekend is like a 48 hour version of elementary school recess, only the world is our playground and there is alcohol involved.

I say “48 hours” because Sundays don’t count. When was the last time anyone had the same amount of fun on a Sunday as they do on Fridays and Saturdays? Answer: never! Sunday Funday? I think not! Sure, I’ll drink and watch football, but I still gotta go to freaking work the next day, even though I thought I was just finished with the work week. Geez! The payoff is hardly worth it!

Sundays are like that kid in your 5th grade class who you thought was totally cool until he told the teacher that you were secretly playing Tetris on your Game Boy under your desk instead of reading A Wrinkle in Time. Thanks a lot, Buzz Killington.

You know, thank God for football and Breaking Bad, otherwise the world on Sunday would be a horrible place. Actually, even with nonstop football, the world is still an awful, hangover-ridden place. Some people would argue that Mondays are worse, but I say nay! On Mondays, at least you have already killed one day out of the work week. Sundays are the worst because of that nagging dread of the long 5-day week ahead.

So, on Sunday, when you’re staring down the gun barrel of a long week ahead, remember to always wear a clean pair of underwear, and never forget the little things in life – like music, sports, and free beer – that keep you happy. That’s what this blog is meant for, anyway*.

*underwear not included